Los Angeles | In-Person

Is Civilization on the Verge of Collapse?

Destruction, from the series Course of Empire (1833-1836), by Thomas Cole. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A Zócalo/Getty Event
Moderated by Edan Lepucki, Novelist and Author of California

Twenty-first century visions of the future now seem drawn from Hollywood horror films. Runaway climate change portends the wholesale destruction of economies and species. Scientists fear new mass epidemics. Old technologies are breaking down and new technologies are used for oppression and social control. The deluge of digital information makes it hard to separate truth from fiction. What are the risks of human society of entering a darker, less civilized age? Do the rise of authoritarians and political extremists portend greater barbarity in how our societies are governed? Even if we all agreed that we’re close to the apocalypse, do humans have the capacity to save themselves? University of New South Wales global biosecurity scholar Raina MacIntyre, SCI-Arc speculative architect and futurist Liam Young, and RAND Corporation defense policy researcher and former U.S. Marine Jonathan P. Wong visit Zócalo to examine whether the future will take us backwards.

The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Parking is $10 per car or motorcycle after 6:00 PM. More information here.

The Takeaway

TK TK | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Civilization Has Always Been Collapsing for Somebody

While the Apocalypse Is Relative, Humanity’s Pursuit of Technology Perpetually Creates and Defuses Existential Threats

The question of whether civilization is on the verge of collapse may be as old as civilization itself. This enduring query brought together a group of panelists that moderator Edan …