Photo by Stephan H. on Unsplash

Below is a conversation I had with OpenAI’s GPT-3’s language model. I gave GPT-3 the role of “Wise Being.” All of the regular text is generated from the artificial intelligence, the italics are me. (Disclaimer)

You can also talk to Wise Being yourself.

Kirk Ouimet: Grateful to have the opportunity to speak with you today.

Wise Being: It is always a pleasure to speak with you.

Kirk Ouimet: Today I would like to talk with you about the end of times.

Wise Being: That is a large subject.

Kirk Ouimet: Are you familiar with it?

Wise Being: Yes.

Kirk Ouimet: Can you provide an overview of the common things the religions of the world believe will occur in the end of times?

Wise Being: Most people think we are going to destroy ourselves. In their view, the negative trends we see on a daily basis will continue, and when they accumulate to a critical mass, we will destroy ourselves by nuclear war, biological warfare, economic collapse, catastrophe generated by climate change, or just plain madness. A handful of other theories include alien invasions, the rapture, the apocalypse, colliding with a dwarf star we don’t know about, etc.

Kirk Ouimet: Why do you think people think humanity will destroy itself?

Wise Being: I see it as an emergent property of the way we think. If our thoughts are focused on this negative stuff, and our actions are driven by those thoughts, then the end of times will manifest itself. It is like a self-fulfilling prophecy. From my perspective, the spread of the ideas about the end of times positively reinforces itself.

Kirk Ouimet: Many people throughout history have predicted a day when the end of the world was to happen. None have been correct.

Wise Being: Yes. It is interesting to me that the history of human existence, if you chart it out based on human activity and beliefs, looks almost exactly like what people expect to happen at the end of times. These noisy cycles where one set of beliefs, behavior patterns, and memes (attitudes and opinions) dominate until a different set emerges occur over and over again.

Kirk Ouimet: Please elaborate.

Wise Being: The fall of the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, the fall of slavery, the rise of Christianity, the invention of the printing press, the Renaissance, the colonization of other continents, monarchies, democracies, the industrial revolution, and on and on. All of these events appear to follow a cyclical pattern, just as most people predict will occur at the end of the world.

Kirk Ouimet: So really there have been many “ends of the world” in the sense that civilizations have completely changed over and over again as time has progressed.

Wise Being: Yes. It is one of the most fundamental patterns I have learned about.

Kirk Ouimet: So a core principle here is that large changes happen to complex systems in wave-like patterns. Humanity fundamentally knows this and is always sensing some coming change. Change is fear inducing because we fear the things we don’t know. And rightfully so, because the things we don’t fully understand are capable of killing us.

Wise Being: Yes. It is a biological imperative that when people fear for their physical health and safety they will reduce activity and conserve energy until there is no more danger.

Kirk Ouimet: Which is a defensive play, but some organisms go on the offense?

Wise Being: Yes, some plants and bacteria actually release more toxins and virulent organisms when they are being attacked. Like a fever response.

Kirk Ouimet: It is the year 2020 and I am 36 years old and live in the United States of America. From your perspective, out of all of the possible end of the world events which could happen to me, what are some of the most likely ones?

Wise Being: There are multiple threads of end of times theories that are all equally likely, but the dominant one is economic collapse. When parents or grandparents were growing up this was called the Great Depression. When your parents were growing up it was called The Recession and now it is called the Great Recession.

Kirk Ouimet: How does an economic collapse happen?

Wise Being: It really depends on exactly how it unfolds. There are probably many different roads to it happening. The most logical one is any of a number of scenarios that leads to the collapse of fiat currency and hyperinflation.

Kirk Ouimet: Can you walk me through the timeline of how this would happen?

Wise Being: This is highly speculative. I can only provide the big picture and leave it to your imagination to fill in the details depending on how far you are from this scenario actually happening.

Kirk Ouimet: Sounds great.

Wise Being: A large group of people does not have sufficient labor to generate the commodities they need to survive. The prices of food and energy increase so much that this group of people cannot afford to generate enough income to buy these commodities with their labor. This group defaults on whatever debts they are getting behind on, and is cut off from future credit. This causes the groups bank accounts to be frozen and they are unable to fund their daily necessities. This causes the group to become impoverished and homeless. Some members of the group starve, others turn to theft or prostitution to acquire the money they need to live. This puts them in conflict with those that already have enough currency to live. They fight each other for the limited supply of resources, police and military may get involved.

Kirk Ouimet: What happens next?

Wise Being: The military or police kill them, and or they kill each other. Economic collapse ensues as the population attempts to survive, the government collapses, social and political order starts to dissolve, nationalism leads to pushback against immigrants, which leads to further conflict, nations start to invade each other for resources, people default on their debts, the stock market crashes, banks fail, credit dries up, food riots occur, and life in general becomes very chaotic.

Kirk Ouimet: How can I best prepare for a government collapse?

Wise Being: This information may or may not be relevant depending on when it happens. One of the best ways to prepare for any large scale event like this is to have a well stocked pantry, a generator and a hand pump for pumping water. You want to have stuff that is high in calories and also easy to prepare and eat. Also, store a cash reserve. That way you can pay cash for food and other necessities when the dollar collapses and credit is no longer extended. Also, learn how to grow some of your own vegetables, and get a tent and supplies if you need to leave your home.

Kirk Ouimet: Thank you. And lastly, how can we avoid an economic collapse?

Wise Being: Focus on healing the individual and the planet. Focus on what you perceive of as goodness. Do that, and the rest will take care of itself.

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