Philosophers occasionally have breakthroughs — really! You probably don’t believe me. But they do — for example late in the 1800s some philosophy professors started trying to turn philosophy into mathematical statements, came up with logic, and that’s why computers exist (look up Frege and Bertrand Russell and Whitehead’s Principia.) Or shortly afterward, some philosophers thought all this jibber-jabber about “what’s in the mind” should be tested with experiments, and they helped form the first Psychology departments.
One of the recent philosophy breakthroughs, IMHO, has been analyzing the possibilities of artificial intelligence (check out Nick Bostrom).
Another one I came across recently was “ethics across generations”, which has been around a long time but has a trendy new name that might get some traction: longtermism (it sounds like a stock-picking philosophy.)
What should you care about, really big picture, if you care about the future of humanity?
An interesting point of view from my friend who works for a space company. They are making a space station (kind of like SpaceX replacing the launch rockets) as the current one is coming down in the next 5 years.
Apparently, space people fall into camps relating to this question; it’s the reason they work on space. Here are some of the camps:
– we need to be interplanetary for humanity to survive, b/c Earth may fail (asteroid, climate change) – e.g. this is Elon with SpaceX
– we need to develop space tools so we can move our dangerous activities (energy production, materials synthesis, pollution, work away from our home (Earth = sanctuary)
– we need space to learn faster the solutions for ourselves (science in microgravity could reveal big breakthroughs that help us live or fix planetary issues) or we can get resources there (energy, minerals) or perspective (e.g. the “whole earth” campaign of Stuart Brand)
– these same space people are also often Earth people – e.g. Elon with Tesla
– and human longevity people – e.g. Elon with Neuralink (where a brain-computer interface is the way to create a non-biological path forward)
To me the interesting insight is: if you care about humanity, you need to care about Earth, and if you care about Earth then you might find yourself also caring about space. But it starts with humans, not just science fiction.