- Overview -
Horizons Project emerged from the observation that as the first species
aware of extinction and long-term development challenges, and capable
of proactively addressing such threats and challenges, we do not do
so with the rigor and foresight we are capable of.
from a reactive posture have we responded with organizations such as
the United Nations to address global warfare, human rights, environmental
concerns, and sustainable development. Despite our awareness of the
possibility for extinction and catastrophic setbacks to civilization, proactive global policy implementation regarding our long-term
survival and development is severely lacking.
Long-term implies roughly 25 years and beyond.
are extinction and global catastrophic threats as well as critical
long-term issues that could dramatically affect the long-term development
can be further characterized as those that directly affect a large
proportion of the human population or that require a large amount
of resources and/or international cooperation.
and catastrophic threats might be:
impact event (present efforts are not good enough)
- space-based warfare
runaway (e.g. genetic engineering, Artificial Life, AI)
"surprises" (e.g. prions)
events (e.g. AIDS crisis in Africa)
trauma" (e.g. massive systemic technology breakdown)
unknown threats (e.g. threats from space)
long-term challenges might be:
an arms race in space
future in space
governance more? less? better? how?
- search for extraterrestrial
engineering, "directed speciation"
of religion, agnosticism, atheism
the role of technology, especially the internet, in democracy and
do we have this shortcoming?
will and capacity to rigorously address long-term challenges is very
limited and generally ineffective due to lack of time and commitment. Understandably,
near-term issues dominate, making it difficult for policy makers to
focus on the long-term.
Nation-State paradigm allows nations to pursue self interest despite
broader global long-range implications.
and socio-economic structures are generally short-term oriented.
psychology and behavior is generally short-term oriented.
long-term issues is very difficult and can have uncertain payoff.
Conduct a feasibility study assessing how best to address long-term
are certainly some efforts that attempt to address longer-range challenges,
but those efforts often do not sufficiently connect to effective implementation,
do not extend several decades or more into the future, are not well-funded
and are not sufficiently systemic. Better international mechanisms for
directly addressing long-range challenges could correct these shortcomings
by raising awareness, providing funding, and leveraging rigor and decision-making
to help insure longer-term commitments.
International mechanisms addressing long-range issues will involve many
challenges and stakeholders with many different perspectives, and because
it is unclear what the optimal approaches are, we believe it is important
to first conduct an in-depth feasibility
the need and shortcomings
the factors and options to address those needs and shortcomings
and prioritize recommendations and strategies
a means of guidance for going forward