Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.
Today’s tech emperors insist they’re making the world a better place.
Why, then, are they so worried that our planet is on the verge of explosion? Or, perhaps, implosion.
On Thursday, Elon Musk was taken to musing about the world’s population. On Twitter, he replied to a 2016 New Scientist article titled: The world in 2076: The population bomb has imploded.
“The world’s population is accelerating towards collapse, but few seem to notice or care,” he tweeted.
Currently, as the article states, the population is still growing. There will be another billion or more humans — barring a fit of pique leading to nuclear war, that is — by 2050. In some countries, though, the fertility rate is dipping below the level at which a population can actually grow.
“After hitting the demographic doldrums, no country yet has seen its fertility recover. Many demographers expect a global crash to be under way by 2076,” says the article’s author, Fred Pearce.
Pearce specifically mentions Japan, where the fertility rate — based on the population of women aged 15 to 44 — is 1.4 children per woman. The generally accepted replacement rate for developed societies is two children per woman.
Japan already has the second-lowest birth rate in the world, at 7.31 per 1,000 people. Monaco tops the list at 6.94 per 1,000. But Germany stands at number 4 with 8.3. Singapore is fifth at 8.5, with South Korea right behind at 8.55.
The US hovers around the 12 mark. In 2016, the US fertility rate reached its lowest ever level.
The New Scientist article offers that as populations age, they become less dynamic, less prone to innovation and more prone to recession. It also suggests that the old are less likely to start wars. Is that really true of, say, the US?
Still, there is another side.
If there were fewer people, there would be less of a strain on the ecosystem. Plants and wildlife might be able to breathe more easily. We might slowly return to some long-gone, idyllic former state that likely wasn’t as idyllic as it’s now sold to us.
All these timelines, though, are vexing. There might well be a population implosion bomb by 2076. But Stephen Hawkingthat we’re destroying the Earth to such a degree that we’ll have to leave within 100 years.
Perhaps it’s better if we accept the facts and let the population decelerate, so that we’ll have fewer people to ship out of here. Wouldn’t that be the caring thing to do?