::  Posts  ::  RSS  ::  ◂◂RSS  ::  Contact

How Many People Will There Be?

October 24th, 2011
giving, future  [html]
There are about 7 billion people alive right now [1], which is quite a lot. How many people [2] are there likely to be in the future? At the low end, something really bad could happen, and everyone could die. Or maybe there would be a collapse from which people would never recover. At the high end, we could colonize the galaxy. [3]

Just as I don't think it makes sense to value the happiness of people far away less than that of people close by, I can't see why I should value the happiness of future people less. If there might be a very large number of people in the future, it's possible that the most good I could be doing would be in making sure we don't wipe ourselves out before expanding off the earth.


[1] I need to update my internal stat from 6.5 billion.

[2] In don't strictly mean 'humans' here. A person who's mind had been uploaded to a computer and running there would count. As would, I think, and fully artificial intellegence.

[3] Or at the even higher end: tiny self replicating machines of human origin could colonize the universe.

Comment via: google plus, facebook

Recent posts on blogs I like:

Live the questions now

Here’s some advice that my Godmother, Lynne Caldwell, gave me a few years ago. I found it again the other day and it struck me that at least I understand its wisdom now. She really did get my problem. It feels like he’s speaking directly to me. It’s from …

via Holly Elmore January 23, 2020

International Links: a Revision

In 2011, I wrote a post arguing that international links underperform. I gave examples, using many links nearly all of which have rotted in the 8.5 years since, showing that the ridership on various air and rail city pairs was lower if they were in two di…

via Pedestrian Observations January 22, 2020

Algorithms interviews: theory vs. practice

When I ask people at trendy big tech companies why algorithms quizzes are mandatory, the most common answer I get is something like "we have so much scale, we can't afford to have someone accidentally write an O(n^2) algorithm and bring the site d…

via Posts on Dan Luu January 5, 2020

more     (via openring)

More Posts:


  ::  Posts  ::  RSS  ::  ◂◂RSS  ::  Contact