We have rich, creative, and colorful imaginations that reside in the virtual worlds of our minds. The human brain can imagine and verbalize limitless combinations of physical impossibilities: sustainable outposts on Mars, self-perpetuating energy machines, and an economy based on physical consumption growing continually for centuries.
from The Great Simplification (2022)
Nate is a well-known speaker on the big picture issues facing human society and currently teaches a systems synthesis Honors seminar at the University of Minnesota ‘Reality 101 – A Survey of the Human Predicament’ Nate is on the Boards of Post Carbon Institute, Bottleneck Foundation, IIER and Institute for the Study of Energy and the Future. Previously, he was lead editor of The Oil Drum, one of the most popular and respected websites for analysis and discussion of global energy supplies and the future implications of the upcoming energy transition.
Nate’s presentations address the opportunities and constraints we face after the coming peak of global economic growth. On the supply side, Nate focuses on the interrelationship between debt-based financial markets and natural resources, particularly energy with and the unique (and so far unplanned for) risks from the coming ‘Great Simplification’. On the demand side, Nate addresses the evolutionarily-derived underpinnings to status, addiction, and our aversion to acting about the future and offers suggestions on how individuals and society might better adapt to the coming decades. Ultimately, Nate’s talks attempt to provide a framework for people who would like to participate in shaping the future.
Nate has appeared on PBS, BBC, ABC and NPR, and has lectured around the world. He holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a PhD in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. Previously Nate was President of Sanctuary Asset Management and a Vice President at the investment firms Salomon Brothers and Lehman Brothers.
May 17, 2023
Daniel Schmachtenberger and Nate Hagens discuss a surprisingly overlooked risk to our global systems and planetary stability: artificial intelligence. Through a systems perspective, Daniel and Nate piece together the biophysical history that has led humans to this point, heading towards (and beyond) numerous planetary boundaries, and facing geopolitical risks all with existential consequences. How does artificial intelligence not only add to these risks, but accelerate the entire dynamic of the metacrisis? What is the role of intelligence versus wisdom on our current global pathway, and can we change course? Does artificial intelligence have a role to play in creating a more stable system, or will it be the tipping point that drives our current one out of control?
May 19, 2022
A modern take on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man and Peter Russell’s The Global Brain, Nate Hagens describes the “Great Simplification:” an inevitable economic and cultural transition beginning in the not-too-distant future.