An Unconventional Example of What Could Be

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“Do you believe intrinsic value is critical to the continued preservation of nature by humans? Does developing technology further push human society away from nature? If so, what are the potential long-term effects of this more extreme separation?”

Upon thinking about how I can apply this topic to my life, I’ve come to the conclusion I can relate this idea of applying intrinsic value to the preservation of nature. Specifically, I want to compare it to some of the key events that spark the conflict and background story to the conflicts that arise in the Halo game series and specifically surface in the fourth game in the series, Halo 4.

In case you’re unfamiliar with Halo, the game’s main character, Master Chief, is a genetically enhanced human in a suit of armor made for combat. His mission is to protect a chip that contains an AI that holds a wealth of human military information. The series starts off with your character finding his way on a giant, metal ring floating in space that has an earth-like terrain and atmosphere on the inside of the ring. Later on in the series you realize that the ring is actually a massive weapon capable of wiping out the galaxy it’s located in. It’s made by another alien species known as the Forerunners.

After several hours of story and game-play, you have come to realize that the Forerunners made these rings to house a certain fungi that infects all biological life and very difficult to eradicate. As it infects biological life, it starts to spread with it’s goal to spread to everything possible. The Forerunners have placed Halo rings all across the universe because at one time during the existence of everything, the Forerunners set off the rings to destroy all biological life.

The Forerunners mirror the situation the human race may eventually have to face, and that’s how they to deal with the extinction or extreme narrowing of biological life. The Forerunners actually have two options to deal with this problem. The first was to create and  perfect technology that would be able to take the consciousness of their species and implant them into robots so they can be immortal and escape the curse of biotic life. The second solution was to create an index of all biotic life in the universe. Afterwards, the Halo rings would then be activated to kill all biotic life in the universe and then seeds would be spread to recreate the evolution process to remake a universe without the fungi that was originally destroying all biological life.

As it pertains to the human race, technology may lead to the ability for humans to leave our existence as beings in nature and become beings that no longer have their place in nature. At some point, a sacrifice will be need to be made in our current existence less we face a cataclysmic event that will require for us in a manner we are unprepared for. The imagination of these video game story lines helped give me insight on how these separate ideas were diverging solutions to help settle their issue with the impending doom.

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2 responses »

  1. Huge fan of the Halo series. Environmental issues resulting from technology and its advancements will be felt long into our future. Global human population will grow to its limit and technology has only allowed that limit to increase. Humanity’s impact on the biosphere is classified as the 6th mass extinction in Earth’s history. Technology will take us far but only for as long as Earth can sustain us. If a breaking point were ever seriously crossed, we would only be able to leave behind our existence, like the “Forerunners” of Halo, for the next time intelligent life evolved in the Universe. We’ve recognized the consequences of our actions but no major steps have been taken at this point to preserve the biosphere to ensure it continues providing for humans. Intrinsic value hopefully will help establish the fact in humanity that the biosphere provides us with what we need to survive and technology won’t always be able to save us. Without appreciating the fact we need the natural environment to survive, we will continue to lead ourselves into trouble, and possibly extinction. Your example was unconventional indeed but it makes a point.

  2. First of all, as much as I’ve been exposed to Halo, I’ve never actually played the game and so I had no idea that the storyline was so intricate. I agree, it seems pertinent to the situation that we as humans are facing now or will be facing in the near future. There are many possible situations in which our earth could experience a mass extinction and a biological weapon seems feasible enough. However their two methods for handling a potential mass extinction are totally unrealistic. While artificial intelligence is certainly an intriguing possibility, I don’t think that a “perfect technology” or perfect artificial intelligence will be available before we reach an environmental or ecological tipping point. The second solution, to create an index for all biotic life, is an admirable goal that is already being attempted by crop scientists around the world. However, even our current seed banks, which are on a much smaller and more refined scale, are expensive and difficult to maintain. An index for all biologic life is simply an impossible task. At the end of the day, technology can be used as a tool for the destruction or the preservation of our environment, but if we hope to use it only for preservation we first must focus our energies on the human dimension. Once the entire world is in agreement on a few basic environmental principles, we can employ policies and technologies for the betterment of the world.

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