Consume more, conserve more: sorry, but we just can’t do both. The Terrifying Mathematics of the Anthropocene. Here are some surprising facts about humans’ effect on planet Earth.
We have made enough concrete to create an exact replica of Earth 2mm thick. We have produced enough plastic to wrap Earth in clingfilm. We are creating “technofossils”, a new term for congealed human-made materials – plastics and concretes – that will be around for tens of millions of years. But it is the scale that humans have altered Earth’s life support system that is the most concerning.
In 2000, Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer proposed that human impact on the atmosphere, the oceans, the land and ice sheets had reached such a scale that it had pushed Earth into a new epoch. The Holocene began 11,700 years ago as we emerged from a deep ice age. Income inequality: Why so many households are not advancing. Incomes from wages and capital were flat or fell for two-thirds of households in 25 advanced economies between 2005 and 2014—an explosive increase from less than 2 percent in the previous decade.
While it’s broadly assumed that children will grow up to be better off than their parents, the reality is that a new generation of young people in advanced economies risks ending up poorer. In this episode of the McKinsey Podcast, McKinsey senior partner Richard Dobbs and McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) partner Anu Madgavkar talk with Peter Gumbel about the increase in the number of households that experienced flat or falling incomes in the past decade—and the implications for future growth and economic advancement.
Podcast transcript Peter Gumbel: Hello, I’m Peter Gumbel, senior editor, based in Paris, at the McKinsey Global Institute. Today I’m delighted to be speaking with Richard Dobbs, a McKinsey senior partner in London, and Anu Madgavkar, an MGI partner based in Mumbai. Unless It Changes, Capitalism Will Starve Humanity By 2050. AI-Powered Ransomware is Coming. Artificial intelligence will open the door to ever-more devastating attacks — but the most effective ones may be the most subtle, Darktrace's Dave Palmer says.
China Photos/Getty Images Imagine you've got a meeting with a client, and shortly before you leave, they send you over a confirmation and a map with directions to where you're planning to meet. It all looks normal — but the entire message was actually written by a piece of smart malware mimicking the client's email mannerisms, with a virus attached to the map. 21st Century Famine: A Long Time in the Making. 10 Doomsday Future Predictions. The Big Four Deep Drivers of Destabilisation. The last but definitely not the least of my horsemen is the post-Cold War geopolitical situation.
The fall of the old Soviet Union and the “czarist/orthodox/nationalist” revival in Putin’s Russia, the meltdown of much of the Middle East and some of Central Asia, immense population increases in Africa, political instability in the U.S. and Europe, and of course, most consequentially, the dramatic rise of China, have created a far more dangerous landscape because there are so many more “hot spots” that could trigger major conflicts, and the stasis of the Soviet-US stalemate has been replaced by a slew of far more dynamically fluid crises.
The most potentially globally consequential of all is of course the U.S. /China rivalry. History is not comforting about what usually transpires when a rising power and a declining one face off. Known among historians as “Thucydides’ Trap,” the classic pattern, from Athens vs. Report Highlights Dangers of Hacked Factory Robots. Earlier this month, computer-security firm Trend Micro, in collaboration with researchers at Polytechnic University of Milan, released a report titled, “Rogue Robots.”
No, they weren’t writing about the threat of runaway artificial intelligence or Terminator-like “killer robots.” Rather, they were exploring how malevolent hackers might compromise various kinds of industrial robots, whose number is expected to reach 2.6 million units worldwide by 2019. Automation Will Have a Greater Impact on Jobs in Smaller Cities. 2℃ of Global Warming Much Worse for Australia Than 1.5℃ Australia is a land of extremes.
We’ve experienced all manner of climate extremes over the past few years, from heatwaves (both on land and over the Great Barrier Reef), to droughts and flooding rains. We can already link some of these recent extreme events to climate change. But for others, the link is less clear. So far we have had about 1℃ of global warming above the average pre-industrial climate. The Cost of Resurrecting Extinct Species Could be Devastating. Advances in genetic engineering have made it possible for scientists to bring back extinct animals, the most promising of which is the woolly mammoth.
American and Russian scientists have been working on the project for years, and we are getting closer to making this dream a reality. However, recent research suggests that resurrecting extinct species will not lead to the conservation benefits that many advocates of this procedure have touted. Advocates, like Vanessa Adams from the University of Queensland, hope that this resurrection will be beneficial not only for extinct species, but also for modern species and our environment. VR Will Change our Lives, but Will it Also Harm Us? It won’t be long, the technologists tell us, before we’ll all be vacationing in virtual reality.
We’ll can the commute and hold meetings in virtual reality offices. We’ll hang out with our friends around virtual reality campfires, or attend virtual reality concerts. Robots Will "Glitch" & Cause Fatalities. Consider the following wartime scenario: Hoping to spare the lives of soldiers, a country deploys an autonomous weapon to wipe out an enemy force.
This robot has demonstrated military capabilities that far exceed even the best soldiers, but when it hits the ground, it gets confused. It can’t distinguish the civilians from the enemy soldiers and begins taking innocent lives. The military generals desperately try to stop the robot, but by the time they succeed, it has already killed dozens. Who is responsible for this atrocity? Is it the commanders who deployed the robot, the designers and manufacturers of the robot, or the robot itself? I Got Hacked So You Don't Have To. From the horrible Hollywood hacks of 2014 to John Podesta's emails, hackers aren't feverishly trying to sneak into your computer.
They're coming up with better ways to convince you to let them in. So Sarah Jeong invited a hacker in to see exactly how it's done. The nude photos first emerged on 4chan. From there they spread to Reddit and Imgur—a hoard of around 500 photos implicating at least a hundred individuals, including celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, McKayla Maroney. Climate Silence: We Are on the Edge of the Abyss, but Ignore It. After 200,000 years of modern humans on a 4.5 billion-year-old Earth, we have arrived at new point in history: the Anthropocene. The change has come upon us with disorienting speed. It is the kind of shift that typically takes two or three or four generations to sink in. Our best scientists tell us insistently that a calamity is unfolding, that the life-support systems of the Earth are being damaged in ways that threaten our survival. Yet in the face of these facts we carry on as usual. Most citizens ignore or downplay the warnings; many of our intellectuals indulge in wishful thinking; and some influential voices declare that nothing at all is happening, that the scientists are deceiving us.
Hacking the Attention Economy. For most non-technical folks, “hacking” evokes the notion of using sophisticated technical skills to break through the security of a corporate or government system for illicit purposes. Of course, most folks who were engaged in cracking security systems weren’t necessarily in it for espionage and cruelty. In the 1990s, I grew up among teenage hackers who wanted to break into the computer systems of major institutions that were part of the security establishment, just to show that they could. The goal here was to feel a sense of power in a world where they felt pretty powerless. The rush was in being able to do something and feel smarter than the so-called powerful.
It was fun and games. Hacking has always been about leveraging skills to push the boundaries of systems. Controlling Data to Subvert Democracy. Ocean Acidification May Cause Cascading Loss Of Biodiversity. The Drivers of Deforestation. Hacking for Share-Market Profit. Infectious Disease the Next Big Security Risk. Smart Cities Are Going to Be a Security Nightmare. Executive Summary Advancements in artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices have made it possible for cities to increase efficiencies across multiple services like public safety, transportation, water management and even healthcare. Hacked 3D printers could commit industrial sabotage.
Current GHG Levels Commit to Warming Over 1.5°C. Current levels of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations already commit the planet to air temperatures over many land regions being eventually warmed by greater than 1.5°C, according to new research published today (27 July 2016) in the journal Scientific Reports. Why the market for fossil fuels is all burnt out.
How Western civilisation could collapse. The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. How Technology's Global Village Increases Personal Conflict. The Ideology of Exponential Growth Devours & Corrupts. This is how Google will collapse. De-Growth Vital to Avoid Dangerous Climate Change. Plunder of Earth's Natural Resources up 200% in 40 Years. Overfishing Puts $42bn Tuna Industry at Risk of Collapse. What the ‘6th Extinction’ Looks Like in the Oceans: Largest Die First. Why the World is Headed the Way of Easter island. Overfishing Causing Catches to Fall 3 Times Faster Than Estimated. White House Report Predicting Robots Taking Low Paid Jobs. Humanity Driving 'Unprecedented' Marine Extinction. Humans Destroy a Tenth of Earth's Wilderness in 25 years.
IEA Reports 3m People Die Annually From Fossil Fuels. The Growing Risk of a War in Space. Could Fossil Fuel's Demise Take Down the Whole Economy? Oil Majors Told to Adapt or Die. Climate To Cost Millennials More Than Student Debt or GFC. Envisioning The Hack That Could Take Down NYC. Vulnerability of UK Rail System Highlighted With Multiple Cyber Attacks. Speed Of Warming 'Unprecedented In 1,000 Years' (NASA) Welcome to the Age of Crappy Oil. Should US Unleash War Robots? What If Robots Go To War? Pentagon Prepares for Climate Emergencies & Oil Wars. Globalisation Ending? World Security Implications. 5 Reasons Why Biodiversity Loss is a Big Deal.