15 September 2015

Science and technology can end poverty

The Blog

The following quotes and major points on the constraints preventing scientists and engineers from making poverty history come from the L'Ordre blog, and were published on 12th September 2015. Of particular interest are technologies that could ease industrialization in poorer countries if directly donated to them, such as artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing and synthetic biology.

rather than use humanity’s one redeeming feature – ingenuity – as our deliverance, we have wasted the world’s resources trying to stunt the growth of technology in countries such as Iran, allowing ourselves to be driven by a will to self-destruction and fear. This usurps the natural human yearning to create and evolve, in the spirit of our earliest ancestors
  • Billionaire entrepreneurs profess to help humanity but have done nothing remarkable to actually enrich, strengthen and boost the survival of poor peoples and states in the Southern Hemisphere. These people are more often placed under economic sanctions for their progress, rather than helped by richer countries
  • Most people who claim to favor the world's poor seem more interested in creating more refugee camps and inviting billions of people to live in Europe and North America. This more closely resembles the way Native Americans were treated during genocide rather than the heroic desire to arm the world's oppressed people against the world's rich and heavily armed powers
  • "Where science and technology cross with anti-colonialism, liberation movements and the desire for a mass uprising against injustice and inequality, there is the greatest source of hope for humanity."
  • Synthetic biology can create self-replicating chemical products including fuels and fertilizers to any extent, and such products don't need to be sold or owned by anyone but could just be given away to radically improve life and development in poorer countries
  • "Self-gratifying charity" of NGOs and philanthropists claiming to help the world's poor is hollow. They should be arming the world's poor to resist oppression and fraud with the latest technologies through direct action
  • Everyone takes risks with technology, so we have no right to resist the risk involved in giving out all the world's most potent technology to the world's poorest people
  • Science and technology need to be depoliticized and national security doctrines should not be used to stop the spread of new technologies, which should be applied to help the poor immediately upon being created
  • The full extent of this argument can be found in the Catalyst techno-liberation thesis
The post concluded that synthetic biology (the artificial genetic sequencing and creation of new living things) is the most important stride that could help the world's poor at minimum cost to the donor, due to its self-replicating nature and simplicity. The blog proposed that it will become "the key to ending all the world’s resource shortages, environmental problems and wars".

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