Part of the explanation is inflation, together with growing instances of shoddy workmanship in construction.
But the overwhelming cause is climate change. Extreme weather events have grown steadily more frequent and destructive.
The trend is undeniable, and if maintained will soon render large parts of the world uninsurable against wildfires, floods and hurricanes, if not outright uninhabitable.
What we also know is that globally, emissions are still going up, not down, so it is highly likely that these trends will persist, and possibly accelerate.
The threat posed by climate change is, in other words, a good deal more real than that of AI, which ironically could soon be offering solutions by helping to devise the cost effective technologies needed to suck vast quantities of carbon back out of the atmosphere and bury them anew beneath the North Sea and other suitable depositories.
Turn the argument around, then, and AI should be seen not as an existential threat but as part of our salvation.
Interestingly, some of those who warn in apocalyptic terms about AI are the very same corporations that are scrambling to find ways of exploiting it. Somebody stop us, cry the tech giants, or you’ll all be sorry.
Depressingly, the disruptive yearnings of corporate youth have quickly given way to the defensiveness of middle age and established industrial success.
Big tech’s faux warnings should be taken with a pinch of salt, for incumbent players have a vested interest in barriers to entry. Oppressive levels of regulation make for some of the biggest.