Om krisen eller kriget kommer (If the crisis or the war comes) is the name of a brochure the swedish government recently sent to 4.8 million households in Sweden. The brochure aims to help people living in Sweden to be better prepared for serious accidents, extreme weather, IT attacks and military conflicts. It raises questions such as:
What would you do if:
…the heating disappears?
…it gets difficult to cook and store food?
…food and other items disappear from the stores?
…there is no water in the toilet or faucet?
…bank/credit cards and cash machines don’t work?
…mobiles and internet don’t work?
…public transport and other transports don’t run?
…it’s difficult to get hold of medicine or other medical equipment?
I don’t know about you but I would be in Very Serious Trouble, pretty fast, if one or more of the above would occur. The heating, that’s probably the easiest to fix because I have a fireplace in my living room and there is plenty of wood in the neighbourhood (it’d last a while anyway). But the rest? I’m definitely ill-prepared to say the least. How about you?
Of course I have pondered the above questions in my life, both when talking to friends/family and in my previous business life. But never has a brochure like this been sent to me by my government. I can’t help but feel that this is a serious sign of the changing times we are living in.
There are many great minds in our time who are warning us about serious issues that have the potential to create total chaos in our societies and on earth. But it seems to me that we are quite bad at listening. The astrophysicist, author and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted:
Today, the greatest threat of extinction we face is not asteroids or climate change or disease or famine. It’s society’s refusal to heed the warnings of scientists.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) is one of the things we are being warned about by scientists such as among others the late Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk. Yes, AI has great and magical potential but it can also quite easily mean, as the R.E.M. song goes: the end of the world as we know it. Earlier this year a documentary about AI was released called Do You Trust This Computer? In this documentary the screenwriter, television producer and author Jonathan Nolan says about AI:
We’ve opened Pandora’s box. We’ve unleashed forces that we can’t control, we can’t stop. We’re in the midst of essentially creating a new life form on earth.
Elon Musk adds to this:
The least scary future I can think of is one where we have at least democratized AI. Because if one company or small group of people manages to develop god-like digital superintelligence, they can take over the world.
I don’t know if you recognize this but sometimes all of this has a tendency to become too much and instead I just close off myself instead. I feel like: What can I do? I’m just one person, which difference can I make in the bigger scope of things? So I end up in some passive space inside me. But then I remember: if all of us would live our lives like that, nothing would ever change.
For me it feels important to be aware and updated about what’s going on in the world. To be able to distinguish between real news and fake news. And then to live my life according to what feels right to me, which happens to be all about awareness and being of service to other people.
I will soon take some actions suggested by the brochure from the swedish government and buy/fix myself some stuff that will make life just a little bit easier if the crisis or war would occur. And then I just hope that the only thing that will happen with these things over time is that they will gather a lot of dust!
If you are interested, you can watch the (incredibly interesting) documentary Do You Trust This Computer? about Artificial Intelligence.
If you are interested and understand swedish, you can download the brochure Om krisen eller kriget kommer
Photo: Franki Chamaki – unsplash.com