In Nautilus David Grinspoon interviews science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson about his recent work, 2312 and the disconnect between technological optimism and climate pessimism: “An Astrobiologist Asks a Sci-fi Novelist How to Survive the Anthropocene”.
Human intelligence is adaptive. It’s given us enormous powers in the physical world thus far. With it, we’ve augmented our senses by way of technologies like microscopes, telescopes, and sensors, such that we have seen things many magnitudes smaller and larger than we could see with unaided senses, as well as things outside of our natural sensory ranges.
But our intelligence has also led to unprecedented problems as our planet reaches its carrying capacity. Is intelligence adaptive enough to adjust to the calamities of its own success? This situation is a completely new thing in history—which means that no one can answer the question now.
I’m interested in the way that authors have taken the concept of “Anthropocene” and are running with it. The idea that we may be terraforming asteroids in various ways in the medium term throws a wrench into the classification of a new geological period that involves only Earth covering the last 100 years or so.