Daniel Schmachtenberger – Existential Risk and Phase Shifting to a New World System

Daniel Schmachtenberger joins us to discuss existential risk, exponential curves and why a phase shift to a new world system is inevitable.

Access the transcript for this episode here.

00:00 – Introduction

01:52 – How well prepared are we for Existential Risk?

03:48 – Existential Risk and Global Power scaling up

08:17 – Interconnectivity, fragility and cascading failures

13:13 – Advanced tech arms races and inadequate response capacity 16:24 – How do we get successful emergent coordination?

20:58 – Competing ideologies

23:23 – Innovation moving from the state to markets and the degradation of regulation

28:18 – Technological jump

32:15 – Erosion of democracy by tech feudalism

36:31 – Human cognitive limits

39:24 – AI: AlphaGo and Stockfish

41:57 – Changes of magnitude becoming changes in kind

46:43 – Critique as a means to improve systems design

48:46 – Investing in cognitive complexity

52:16 – Criteria for successful civilisation

54:35 – Are the solutions already here?

59:18 – Apologist maxims

1:02:57 – What can we learn from nature’s symmetries and symbiosis

1:11:25 – What can you do as an individual?

1:22:07 – How to live a meaningful life

1:27:39 – Closing remarks

Daniel Schmachtenberger is a social philosopher and founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue. The through line of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal.

Towards these ends, he has a particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilisation and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organisation theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science.

Motivated by the belief that advancing collective intelligence and capacity is foundational to the integrity of any civilisation, and necessary to address the unique risks we currently face given the intersection of globalisation and exponential technology, he has spoken publicly on many of these topics, hoping to popularise and deepen important conversations and engage more people in working towards their solutions. Many of these can be found on Daniel’s website: https://civilizationemerging.com/media/

In this conversation, we explore why it is now imperative to figure out a whole new world system given the catastrophic risk landscape that we confront. Daniel argues that in the face of exponential curves proliferating across systems – human, technological and geophysical – we need to develop a novel set of solutions for how we coordinate at scale. The task ahead of us is nothing less than to foster a global social, technological and educational zeitgeist, one which can prevent existential risk in a way commensurate to our deepest values for participatory and empowered governance.

For more information about The Consilience Project at https://consilienceproject.org/