HUMANITY & SPACE ROBOTS
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
20 June 2019
I love thinking about the notion of saving humanity – as if we’re anywhere close to extinction, even though we seem to destroy everything around us and are, collectively, incredibly invasive. I recently read an article in Forbes by Jayshree Pandya: Can Space Robots Save Humanity? And while Jayshree certainly has a good point about space robots being able to find our next habitable frontier, they can’t save humanity. I think he should have titled it Will Space Robots Be Able to Find the Next Place for Humans to Inhabit and Destroy?
If humanity is to be saved, finding a new frontier to destroy isn’t the answer. It seems to me only the wealthiest humans would be able to move to the new habitat (think about transportation and R&D). Over time that new habitat would end up the same as Earth – over-populated and over-polluted. In order to save humanity, we’ve got to figure out what went awry the first time and come up with some solutions for proper advancement.
I’ve written about mistakes before. We all make them. And as I tell my daughter on a semi-regular basis, “It’s perfectly okay to make mistakes, as long as we learn a lesson.” For example, while leaning her chair back a tad too far, she fell backwards and bumped her head. I must’ve told her a dozen times not to do it, but there is no lesson like bumping your noggin. It’s not likely she’ll make that mistake again. If we took the logic of Jayshree’s article, she’d find a new chair and continue to lean back.
Lesson learned? I think not.
If you want to save humanity, you must first learn some hard lessons and save yourself. If you can learn to appreciate who you are, you’ll be able to appreciate other humans. Saving humanity cannot be done in a silo.
As Desmond Tutu was quoted as saying, “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” And if anyone knew about saving humanity, it was Mr. Tutu. He was a master at making the most traumatized and oppressed people work together for a common good. And I’m sure his logic had nothing to do with finding a new frontier.
Will Space Robots Save Humanity? No. Why? Because they’ll never be able to save us from ourselves.