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Mailbag: Are safeguards in place to save humans from outside forces?

I have been a reader of the Leader’s “In Theory” column. I find it to be an interesting section yet I’d like to play devil’s (uh, oh!) advocate to its most recent question, “Would the Earth be better off without us?”

First off, regarding “doomsday environmentalism”: The entire discussion has been oversimplified. Whether related or not an issue to be considered are the potential for superbugs, deadly viruses that are resistant to existing antibiotics. Ebola is a recognized example, but I am talking about something that afflicts beyond merely regional means.

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I know this sounds like something from a movie or book, but there have been many cases that fortunately were contained. But what if they are not in some future where conditions are ripe for deadly viruses, where certain deadly microorganisms can flourish?

Next, and this may hearken back to Cold War times, but “weapons of mass destruction” are still a concern now and into the future. Look at what is happening in North Korea and in other unsuspecting areas of the globe. Talk about doomsday.

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And the arsenal is so diverse now, not just nuclear. All it could take is one push of the button and a chain reaction of worldwide human annihilation could occur.

Finally, with technology advancing and robots soon to take over a large part of what was once human-dominated endeavors we have now and into the future the possibility of dire consequences. Of course you’ve heard of artificial intelligence. In the future will “Terminator”-like machines destroy human life? And these superintelligences can evolve subtly, before you know it. Will there be safeguards in place? Hopefully.

Norman Zangl

Burbank

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