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Population explosion

  1. Oct 11, 2003 #1
    there is a definite risk that in the following century human population may increase to above 18 billion (it is 10 billion right now, isn't it?) with maximum increase in the third world and slight decrease in first world. do you think human society can deal with such population demographics. will it be all "fine and rosy" or will there be trouble "big time"? views.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2003 #2

    russ_watters

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    It just went over 6 billion a year or so ago.

    Population gain in the third world (parts of it anyway) will decrease dramatically over the next 10-20 years and we may even see major DECREASES in population in some countries as AIDS takes hold. There are some countries where the demographics have been radically altered already.

    Overall anyway, I think we can probably deal with 10 billion, much beyond that I don't know. Already though many countries (China) are having problems with overcrowding. The US itself though can probably handle a billion people and still be able to export food.
     
  4. Oct 12, 2003 #3
    sorry about the figure (10 billion). scientists think if population control measures go according to plan human population will peak between 10-12 billion and then start to decrease after 2060-70(again correct me if my figures are muddled). question is whether everything is going according to plan. what are the figures saying. any ideas.
     
  5. Oct 13, 2003 #4

    russ_watters

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    Well, not many countries have population control measures. And don't worry about your figures - in a highllly speculative game like this, they are as good as anyone's.
     
  6. Oct 15, 2003 #5

    selfAdjoint

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    There is a natural population control in advanced countries. When women have opportunities aside from childbearing and familay income depends less on numerous children (as farm income does), the population increase levels off. IIRC Italy is experiencing an actual population decline. And statisticians say advancing economics in third world countries is starting to bring the rate of increase down there too. This is not to debunk the "population bomb" but to introduce some of the more modern data and thought on the subject.
     
  7. Oct 15, 2003 #6

    Njorl

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    Population has followed a fairly predictable pattern. Pre-agrarian people have fairly stable populations, primative agrarian people have geometric increases with long doubling times. As agriculture improves, doubling times become very short. When agriculture becomes state-of-the art, so many farmers are displaced, that the culture is forced to become industrial.

    Industrial societies do not have the same incentive for child production that agrarian societies do. A farmer gets a potential low cost laborer, an industrial worker gets another mouth to feed. The culture usually takes more than a generation to change though, and hardships of overpopulation and poverty are very common in developing countries. When a society becomes industrialized, with efficient low-labor agriculture, and a stable economy, the need to depend on children for labor, and old age security decreases, and with it the birth-rate.

    Njorl
     
  8. Oct 22, 2003 #7
    Here's a little tidbit of information I heard on the radio about 2 or 3 months ago. If all the people on Earth stood in formation, they would occupy an area roughly the size of the Jacksonville, Florida city limits.
     
  9. Nov 5, 2003 #8
    thats ALl Wow i thought it would be more
     
  10. Nov 17, 2003 #9

    Phobos

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    Let's say each person has a 3 ft by 2 ft cross section to stand in (6 sq ft). That times 6 billion people is 3.6e10 sq ft...or 1,291 sq miles (a square with each side being 36 miles).
    According to the city's website, Jacksonville is 841 sq. miles. So yeah, I suppose everyone might fit in a tight squeeze (and if some people don't mind standing on river bottoms).

    Of course, humans can't live like that (except perhaps in the Matrix energy fields).

    We need space & resources that take up more space. The total "carrying capacity" of the Earth is a matter of some debate.
     
  11. Dec 18, 2003 #10
    Professor Richard Lynn (http://www.rlynn.co.uk/) has shown that the least intelligent of the world are the ones that are reproducing at above replacement levels, while the cognitive elites are having below replacement levels of offspring. The result: the world is getting dumber each generation, and it's genetic. Not much of a future for our descendents. Of course, Transhumanists believe that technology will cure all problems, much speculation though, but who knows.

    Carlos Hernandez
     
  12. Dec 19, 2003 #11

    FZ+

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    Then as far as evolution is concerned, intelligence isn't worth it, is it?
     
  13. Dec 19, 2003 #12
    Re: Re: population explosion

    Carlos, the statement above is as absurd as ass-uming that all Transhumans are intelligent.
     
  14. Dec 19, 2003 #13

    selfAdjoint

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    All transhumanists are intelligent? I don't find that in Carlos's statement. he said the transhumanists look for a technological fix to the declining intelligence problem (assuming there is such a problem: personally I think Lynn is too slender a reed to put so much weight on). That is, the TH crowd expect genetic engineering to solve all our IQ and other problems.
     
  15. Dec 20, 2003 #14
    Consider this: we know that poor people around the world are having more children than rich people. And we know that poverty is negatively correlated to IQ. So, put 2 and 2 together. . .

    Transhumanists speculate that nanobots can enter a low IQ person's brain and actually atom by atom reconstruct that brain to one that has a high IQ.

    Carlos Hernandez
     
  16. Dec 20, 2003 #15
    "Transhuman" is sometimes taken to mean the same as "transhumanist", but it's more often taken to mean a "transitional human" or a human with non-drastic technological upgrades. (A human changed by technology to the point of no longer being human would be a "posthuman".)

    I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that to the extent that intelligence becomes technologically modifiable, people will choose to make themselves (or their children) more rather than less intelligent.

    Most transhumanists don't think technology will solve all our problems; transhumanists tend to think technology can solve many of our problems if used well, but can create many new problems if used badly (mass destruction among them). I think there's a good chance that with technologies such as molecular nanotech (Bill Joy calls it "knowledge-enabled mass destruction", I think), and with the acceleration of change and issues of "information overflow", the future may just become too complicated for us humans, who were designed to hunt, tell stories, live in 100-200 person tribes, and so on. In that case we would need to make sure that whoever or whatever reached posthuman abilities (especially posthuman intelligence) first will be a responsible, humane entity, so that it can guide us through the complications. This is itself partly a technological problem, and it's not realistically solvable by trying to stop technological progress.

    Transhumanism is about much more than genetic engineering. Cybernetics, nanotechnology and AI may turn out both much more useful and much more dangerous, though they don't seem to have as much of a "yuck factor". They may make overpopulation a non-problem, at least relatively speaking.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2003
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