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Long-term trajectories of human civilization
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2019 (English)In: Foresight, ISSN 1463-6689, E-ISSN 1465-9832, Vol. 21, no 1, p. 53-83Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: This paper aims to formalize long-term trajectories of human civilization as a scientific and ethical field of study. The long-term trajectory of human civilization can be defined as the path that human civilization takes during the entire future time period in which human civilization could continue to exist.

Design/methodology/approach: This paper focuses on four types of trajectories: status quo trajectories, in which human civilization persists in a state broadly similar to its current state into the distant future; catastrophe trajectories, in which one or more events cause significant harm to human civilization; technological transformation trajectories, in which radical technological breakthroughs put human civilization on a fundamentally different course; and astronomical trajectories, in which human civilization expands beyond its home planet and into the accessible portions of the cosmos.

Findings: Status quo trajectories appear unlikely to persist into the distant future, especially in light of long-term astronomical processes. Several catastrophe, technological transformation and astronomical trajectories appear possible.

Originality/value: Some current actions may be able to affect the long-term trajectory. Whether these actions should be pursued depends on a mix of empirical and ethical factors. For some ethical frameworks, these actions may be especially important to pursue.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2019. Vol. 21, no 1, p. 53-83
Keywords [en]
Human civilization, Long-term trajectories
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-157756DOI: 10.1108/FS-04-2018-0037ISI: 000460758100004Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85061347237OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-157756DiVA, id: diva2:1306434
Available from: 2019-04-23 Created: 2019-04-23 Last updated: 2019-04-23Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • Other style
More styles
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  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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