Friday, August 23, 2019

What risks scare or terrify us?

Since I am also a believer that natural is not necessarily better, this article was nothing new. However, the point about how different people rate different risks made me wonder, what do I regard as risky?

The first was obvious, the highest perceived risk for Nuclear Power by most people, has very low risk for me. I would be happy to live next to a nuclear power plant as I expect that the quality of life around it will not deteriorate. The likelihood of an accident is negligible. Furthermore, and this is just a hope, that should there be an accident, it would be fast and furious :)

Then there is the risk of driving or even walking down the road. I do both but always wishing for a safer option. I would love to see auto-driven vehicles take over. I would love to see only electric carts within towns and no private vehicles. This is a hope that it will happen one day, though not likely in my lifetime.

Now the risk which terrifies me. Manipulating the human brain using technology. The only personal experiences of the damage people can do to each other are related to property disputes between brothers and sisters. The passion, viciousness and self-destructiveness defies logic. Hence, it makes it easy to extrapolate to events like riots and even genocide.

I can easily imagine bots learning to create and spreading ever more effective messages which will be spread using messengers like Whatsapp. The utility of messengers is so great that they will be around like cars and roads. I don't see how the messages can be stopped except, of course, by an even worse solution like 1984.

Postscript: Saw this about the spectacle of Chidambarm's arrest just after writing about my fears