Jan 13, 2008

Lifeboat Foundation SAB member asks “Is saving humanity is worth the cost?”

Posted by in categories: defense, futurism, geopolitics, lifeboat

In his most recent paper “Reducing the Risk of Human Extinction,” SAB member Jason G. Matheny approached the topic of human extinction from what is unfortunately a somewhat unusual angle. Jason examined the cost effectiveness of preventing humanity’s extinction due to a catastrophic asteroid impact.

Even with some rather pessimistic assumptions, his calculations showed a pretty convincing return on investment. For only about US$ 2.50 per life year saved, Matheny predicts that we could mitigate the risk of humanity being killed off by a large asteroid. Maybe it’s just me, but it sounds pretty compelling.

Matheny also made a very good point that we all should ponder when we consider how our charitable giving and taxes gets spent. “We take extraordinary measures to protect some endangered species from extinction. It might be reasonable to take extraordinary measures to protect humanity from the same.”

For more coverage on this important paper please see the October 2007 issue of Risk Analysis and a recent edition of Nature News.


Comments — comments are now closed.

  • robomoon on January 14, 2008 2:34 pm

    There are extraordinary measures to protect some endangered plant&animal species from extinction. So for the equality of species, there must be extraordinary measures to protect some endangered humans from extinction. Please go ahead with suggestions who those humans should be. Those with an Intelligence Quotient of minimum 110, 120 or 130? Disclaimer: No specific genetic rating involved.

  • robomoon on January 18, 2008 3:26 am

    In the 21st Century, the population of humans is the subject of overpopulation. Roughly estimated, a bit more than six billion people. Many species of plants and animals form a useful biodiversity on earth. Some of the great civilizations of humans are dangerous to nature. Thus, they are very harmful to our biodiversity. A low biodiversity makes ecology fairly useless for humans. Thus, it highers the Risk of Human Extinction. Local problem spots can be observed in those geographical areas on earth where a dangerous civilization is. Overpopulation spots are groups of humans who exchange goods and services which are highly harmful to biodiversity. Population density is the number of people per horizontal surface area. A sufficient indicator of overpopulation spots is the harm that a population produces. If harmful action per population density is very high, it can be called a local problem spot. Calculation of population density is exactly the number of people when the geographical area is 1. For e.g., one square kilometer or one square megameter do well for the measurement of a horizontal area. For calculation: Harmful action is HA. Dangerous civilization is DC. Population density is PD. Example: Somewhere in Africa, PD is 4 while HA is 12, so 12÷4=3 as a problem spot. Somewhere in Europe, PD is 18 while HA is 14, so 18÷14=1.3 as a problem spot. Removal of overpopulation spots is an extraordinary measure to protect some endangered humans from extinction.

    How to calculate overpopulation spots with that data? Just support with your knowledge in grammar and math. This is going to be reported in version 0.3 of Vertical Growth.