Technosphere and society: the problem of interaction

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At present, we can state the fact that the natural integral evolutionary development of our planet along its spatio-temporal trajectory intersected with the trajectory of aggregate human activity. This activity, organized by the psychological readiness of people to use their activity in the “fight against nature” for the purpose of “economic and military” benefits, has acquired a global and total character. The global nature of such activities lies in the fact that the technogenic concept of transforming nature is embodied in human actions, the scale of which is commensurate with the scale of certain geological processes or exceeds it. The intensified mobilization of matter and energy in production processes becomes the dominant feature of the creative tension of people and an explanation of their purpose. The process of mastering and generating electro-magnetic powers is carried out at a high speed, with the help of which there is a sharp expansion of the space in which technology dominates, which becomes the main focus of the creative mind. The totality of this activity lies in the fact that the results of technogenic expansion are addressed to every breathing creature of the planet. Of all the possible alternatives for organizing life on the planet, man has chosen the path of transforming nature in such norms and at such speeds that would ensure his good. At the same time, state and international incentives for the development and maintenance of the life of peoples, secured by decision-making in the field of material and spiritual life of people, are widely announced through the media, due to which the corresponding orientation of the mass consciousness takes place. So, under the influence of the goals set, the overwhelming majority of decisions in the field of ways of interaction between society and nature are implemented in the field of technical progress [2].

Technosphere and society

Modern forms and methods of transforming the natural state of the planet by using the energy contained in it are based on the psychological mood of people. The specification of the development of technical progress is also conditioned by planetary possibilities, in the sense that the planet “allows” the removal of matter and energy from their natural circulation. The rate of development of the technosphere not only disrupts geobiocenotic systems, but also with increasing activity is being introduced into the field of human capabilities. Man with ever greater psychological readiness strives to increase the power of the technosphere. Thus, we can say that the central product of anthropogenic activity, accelerated by scientific and technological progress, is the technosphere, which develops according to the laws of maximization of information and energy intensity for an elementary act of technological progress. It is this fact that underlies the increase in the rate of formation of the technosphere and the intensity of its impact on all human environments. The general anthropogenic activity, based on the strategy of local goals, is currently aimed at the destruction of the biosphere and the geological environment, as well as at the modification of the geocosmos. Many private technical problems are solved on the scale of general planetary processes (launching rockets, etc.). The environment for an increasing number of energy-intensive experiments are the gaseous and plasma shells of the Earth. All these global acts of influence are produced, as a rule, by goals that have nothing to do with saving life.

The scale of humanity’s inclusion in the rapidly flowing global technical processes is now unprecedented, which forces people to be extremely attentive to the possible consequences of this for civilization. Moreover, the very process of the development of a technogenic civilization is a process with a short memory. The lack of forecasts for the global transformation of the planet adequate to the possible consequences is also reinforced by the establishment of a priority for development with a minimum time from conception to implementation. This artificial selection of technical implementations on the basis of low time consumption profiles the quality and growth rate of the technosphere. The selection mechanism based on the principle of “speed” comes into conflict with the main human habitats. The advance demonstrated by the modern technogenic civilization at the colossal rate of growth of the technosphere brings human life out of organic unity with the environment, including the biosphere. And this, ultimately, leaves a person alone with himself without “biospheric solidarity” in the face of a huge variety of technical means. Hence, it is clear that the experience of the modern technogenic civilization is unique in terms of the strength and at the same time the impotence of man. The modern technogenic civilization is a system that does not allow an acceptable real forecast, since the process of growth of the technosphere has no predecessor, and the entire memory of the technosphere is operational. Any biological species of life is a process with a large memory. The same is typical for geological processes. The lack of a sufficiently complete model of the scenario that determines not only the initial, but also its final state, does not give a sufficiently clear idea of ​​the possible outcome of the development of civilization.

Historical examples of past civilizations testify to the focal nature of human impact on the environment. Now the situation is fundamentally different. The consumption of matter and energy in the past centers of civilization did not have a planetary and even more cosmic scale. The transition to the technosphere led the focal civilizations to a kind of unification. An increasing number of countries are involved in the development of the technosphere, in global technogenic processes. The cohesion of global anthropogenic processes and the growing power of their pressure on the planet and geocosmos are the most important characteristics of modern civilization. The emergence of an alternative to this method of interaction of civilization with the environment is hindered precisely by the fact that in the nature of technogenic civilization there is no other possibility besides the one that it implements. This model is typically focal in nature, but in terms of its scale it has grown into a planetary one. Therefore, the process of preserving civilization is rather a process of its transformation.

Fighting with technology in itself, of course, is pointless. Technology has acquired a character striking the human environment due to the fact that the culture of modern civilization allows this to be done. Therefore, the transformation of civilization is, first of all, the transformation of its culture. To understand the possible apocalyptic outcome of the development of a technogenic civilization, it is necessary to know the striking impact of the technosphere on all aspects of the environment.

Technosphere and society

Particularly rapid transformation of the Earth’s near-planetary space began in the second half of the twentieth century. It was only in the 70s that the study of geophysical reactions to strong electromagnetic and explosive technical influences began, therefore, to date, there are no acceptable prognostic models of possible outflows of matter and energy into the ionosphere, magnetosphere and interplanetary space of the solar system. Space transformations are usually divided into transformations of near-earth space and interplanetary space. The transformation of near-earth space is carried out by such technically feasible processes as electromagnetic effects (radio wave heating, beams of energetic particles), effects of explosions (nuclear, industrial, directed explosions for sounding the ionosphere with acoustic waves), aerodynamic and energy effects of rockets and satellites (launch, drop), material emissions into the ionosphere (chemically active and passive substances). Considering the entire set of technical means of influencing the ionosphere (and even the middle magnetosphere), it is difficult to establish the degree of effectiveness of this or that means on the natural state and equilibrium of the ionosphere. Each of these methods of technical impact on the thin electromagnetic parts of the geophysical image of the Earth in its own way brings destruction, imbalance in the natural flows of matter and energy of the outer shells of the planet.

Substances thrown into the ionosphere contain long-lived stable compounds that “encourage” chemical reactions, as a result of which new compounds appear that are not characteristic of certain altitudes. Ionospheric reactions to injected substances lead to additional generation of electric current. Such electric reactions, which are artificial processes, violate the natural regime of the ionosphere [6]. The most intense and complex impacts on the thin upper shells of the planet are exerted by rocket-and-satellite processes. Many launches have global and irreversible changes in the chemistry and electroprocesses of near-earth space. Thousands of tons of metal elements of missiles for various purposes are dispersed in dense layers of the atmosphere, tons of refractory metals are sprayed during the operation of the main engines. If we take into account the total amount of missile launches already made, then it can be argued that the amount of matter injected into the ionosphere is sufficient to effect a material and energy shift in the general state of natural processes in the ionosphere. There are no sufficiently weighty objections to the assumption that a noticeable increase in the geomagnetic storm regime on the planet is associated with man-made human activities, especially with the development of rocket technology. The simultaneous presence of thousands of artificial satellites in the Earth’s orbits leads to a new mechanical state of near-earth space.

Electromagnetic transformations of near-earth space are made up of communications radiation and radiation of violation of the integrity and balance of the electromagnetic modes of the ionosphere. Thousands of artificial satellites are active in the radio range and are point sources of radio emissions in a fairly wide range of ranges. This artificial factor contributes to the violation of electromagnetic equilibrium. All radio stations emitting in the ultra-short range (television, radars, etc.) “pollute” the space. Burning the ionosphere, the gases of which are ionized by solar radiation, the introduction of new elements into the ionosphere, make the planet an open system in the electromagnetic sense. This reduces the planet’s protective capabilities from solar electromagnetic effects.

Recently, more and more people are beginning to talk about the technogenic impact on the geocosmic environment. The geocosmos includes the atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere, magnetosheath, and solar wind interacting with the magnetosphere. Geocosmos is a subtle mechanism of contacts between the Earth and the space environment. This mechanism is very complex and variable. Its functions, sometimes seemingly incomparable, include: shielding from energetic solar and cosmic rays; to be a source of energetic particles for the near-surface regions of the planet; filtration and powerful amplification of the interplanetary magnetic field; scattering and absorption of radio waves, warming up the upper atmosphere, the implementation of ion-sphere disturbances, auroras, pulsations and other processes. The natural course of processes in the geocosmos with technogenic interference has received a powerful impetus to change the general mass transfer and energy of its state. The increasing number of artificial processes complicates the study of the natural state of the geocosmos. As the technical capabilities of entering the geocosmos increased, the number of military-applied tasks also increased. The thesis about the use of the geospace environment for the basing of new weapons systems and the conduct of military operations in it resulted in a “star wars” scenario. Within its framework, in particular, the following effects on living organisms were envisaged: by laser beams – direct exposure; chemical exposure, accompanied by the formation of new chemical compounds with highly toxic properties; electrical impulse impact; radiation exposure (hard X-ray radiation). The realization of such a scenario can be fatal for humanity. Considering that many experiments in the geocosmos are associated with a strict secrecy regime, then the difficulty (and in some cases the impossibility) of a timely scientific assessment of the possible consequences will become clear.

The above were just some examples of man-made impacts on the geospace environment. In fact, the front of impacts on it is much wider and deeper. In the list of damaging factors given by Yu.A. Izrael [3] contains characteristics of a number of possible geophysical consequences. In particular, the first place among the damaging factors is given to just the little-studied reactions of the geocosmos to force effects in the plasmasphere. This concerns changes in the electrical properties of the atmosphere, ionosphere and magnetosphere. These changes can serve as a trigger for disrupting electromagnetic processes at the boundary of the Earth’s core and mantle. A possible weakening of the planet’s magnetic shield can lead to a massive breakthrough of solar plasma into the ionosphere and atmosphere. The presence of the planet’s magnetic frame can serve as a system through which energy will be pumped from an artificially highly excited ionosphere into the depths of the Earth. Therefore, any nuclear explosions (including underground ones) should be considered as a blow to the electromagnetic organization of the planet, as a kind of challenge to the natural organization of solar-terrestrial interconnections. At present, humanity turns out to be completely unaware of possible back reactions from the stabilization mechanisms of the geocosmos system and systems of larger subdivisions of the solar system, as well as about the possible “languages” of these reactions [2].

Transformations of the geological environment through technogenic processes are subdivided into technophysical, technochemical and energy. Technophysical transformations are associated with the main processes of human activity aimed at detecting, mastering and releasing energy of terrestrial and cosmic origin. The use of energy from fossil fuels in the twentieth century. in its pace is essentially “explosive”, and this “explosion” has a number of features. First, the release of energy in the combustion of fossil fuels requires the expenditure of oxygen (ozone) in quantities that are quite tangible on a planetary scale. Secondly, a catastrophic decrease in the amount of fossil fuels in the earth’s crust. Third, the combustion of fossil fuels as an artificial long-term chemical reaction on a planetary scale causes a number of other planetary transformations of matter in industrial and natural modes. Fourthly, an increase in the reaction stimulation of chemical combustion processes is carried out not only in the direction of increasing the artificial variety of chemical compounds provided by man, but also in the direction of artificially increasing the diversity of compounds not foreseen by man.

The totality of planetary geological transformations produced by technically “enslaved” energy becomes dominant in the general geological flows of matter and energy. An artificial energy flow in the composition of planetary natural processes is summed up with the general content of the driving geological forces of the planet. Mass withdrawals and subsequent discharges of processed matter in technogenic qualities and proportions, shifted relative to geochemical cycles, which have long been balanced within the evolutionary phase of the Earth’s state on the trajectory of its time, are increasing [1]. The complete set of energy transformations inherent in technical systems of production impact on surface planetary processes is accompanied by a violation of geoenergetic equilibrium (“warming up” of the Earth in the radio range).

To identify general trends of anthropogenic impact on the natural environment, it is sufficient to trace the techno-material (mobilization of matter in the litho- and biosphere by technoprocesses) and technoenergetic (technoenergetic expenditure of planetary reserves of energy sources) parameters. These two parameters are strongly interrelated and interdependent. For example, global industrial energy sinks are accompanied by the global mobilization of matter, its processing and movement. In general, it can be considered that the main sign of the manifestation of man-made tendencies of a civilization of a man-made type is an increase in the intensity of movement of the planet’s matter per unit of time. Speaking about technogenic flows of matter, it should be noted that technophilic elements are mobilized both from their mobile forms of existence in the biosphere (water, air, living matter) and from the immobile (bound) states of elements in the lithosphere (ore and non-metallic minerals) … Undergoing industrial processing, mobile and immobile substances of the planet are mixed in technogenic systems and, after a certain period (10-15 years), return to the natural environment. Thus, the processed substance is returned to the biosphere geochemical cycle by subsequent processes of dispersion and concentration. The map of the material transformation of the terrestrial habitat would be incomplete if it was not supplemented with a characteristic of a less obvious, but hardly less significant factor of influence on nature – energy pressure on the environment. The fact is that the systems of excess energy release into the natural environment (and there are a great many of them) may turn out to be newly formed centers of anomalous phenomena of a meteorological and geophysical nature.

The main feature of technoprocesses is a strict and rigid connection between space and time of their course. The time spent on the development of a mineral deposit fully coincides with the spatial transformation of this deposit. It is important to take into account that the rate of man-made processes in the transformation of geological bodies exceeds the natural rate of formation, existence and destruction of the latter by a factor of millions. In other words, minerals disappear, losing their geological future, with the speed of an explosion (on the planetary time axis). At the same time, it is important that the growth in the rate of withdrawal of mineral resources exceeds the rate of population growth (at least in certain periods), but this, however, does not lead to a corresponding increase in the wealth of people. Historically, humanity occupies a very small interval of time on the planet. What can humanity expect if it falls out of the generalized space-time coordinates of the planet’s evolution in the solar system? How will the life support and development of mankind be carried out? Without answering these questions, the development of civilization will remain very vague. It should be borne in mind that nowhere in nature, except for humanity itself, there is no feeding channel for production processes. And it was humanity that turned out to be included in the function of redistribution of energy and matter from nature to the technosphere. The technosphere, deprived of the support of humanity, is not capable of self-development, but is only capable of self-destruction, since it is not included in the natural cycles of the planet. The technosphere, encouraged to develop by man, destroys natural evolutionary processes as it grows.

Thus, the advance of the growth of means of technical influence on the geological environment over the means of its protection on an ever-increasing scale leads to the replacement of the natural conditions of human life with artificial ones, which can have very sad consequences for him. Therefore, it is necessary to control the rate of growth of technoprocesses and their disruption of natural processes.

The carrier of life on the planet, the material and energy supply of which is carried out in strict accordance with its evolutionary rhythm and the rhythm of the cosmic environment, is the biosphere. The substance involved in the life processes of the planet is supplied from the litho-, hydro- and atmosphere, therefore the material carriers of life forms are closely embedded in the general structural elements of the planet. The driving forces of life, that is, the total energy of the life process, are mainly of an exogenous nature, since the energy supplied to “life support” from the Sun is almost three orders of magnitude greater than the energy of an endogenous nature. The functioning of the biosphere, therefore, is provided by two uninterrupted streams of energy: a “downward stream” from the Sun and an “upward stream” from the planetary interior. Consequently, the stability and development of life in the biosphere container depends on the organic nature and naturalness of exo- and endoenergy flows. Therefore, the erection of barriers on the path of “energy supply” will inevitably affect the quality and quantity of life forms and processes. This truth is, in general, simple. But it requires correlating with it every step in the development of the technosphere.

The work of the biosphere takes place in strict and precise (on a geological scale) coordination of cosmic and planetary influences. This consistency and quality of growth of the organism of the biosphere has recently come across energy and mass flows caused by technical terrestrial processes. Ultimately, the defeat of the biosphere in a collision with the technical set of means of its “transformation” will disrupt the natural “energy dialogue” of exogenous and endogenous planetary flows. In other words, the energy of the Sun, accumulated and transformed by biospheric processes, is introduced during geological time into the interior of the planet, thus feeding the geological processes themselves. At the same time, it is the biosphere with all its vital complexes that “listens” and reacts to the cosmic environment through mediating electromagnetic fields, introducing its “corrections” into the evolutionary trajectory of the planet. Therefore, the introduction of “electromagnetic information” of extra-space origin “pollutes” strategic information, increasing the likelihood of the appearance of biospheric correction of signals of technical origin and skipping corrections of cosmic influences.

It is known that the bulk of bio-matter is concentrated in the simplest organisms (up to 95%). Their almost fantastic stability testifies in favor of sufficiently high chances of preserving life, but by no means human, which is “squeezed” by a narrow range of its capabilities. At the present stage of the development of the Earth’s biosphere, the awareness of life as such is concentrated precisely on a person. Man dominates the biosphere, the scale of his activity is commensurate with the powerful geological processes of entire epochs, since it is man who, by his activity, influences the most subtle mechanisms for controlling the balance of the planet. It is natural to think that by intervening in such control mechanisms, a person should be filled not with the pathos of his power, but with a deep understanding of these processes and the greatest sense of responsibility. At present, the biospheric value of the ozone layer is generally recognized. Studies of stratospheric ozone indicate an increase in its total planetary loss in Antarctica and the Arctic, which “removes” the protection of life forms from the harmful effects of solar ultraviolet radiation. It is believed that a particularly dangerous form of exposure to ultraviolet radiation is exposure to the structure of DNA, as this can lead to dangerous mutagenic consequences.

The strategy for planning the further organization of life on the planet involves the profiling of people in the field of increasing technical employment. The natural result of this profiling is a production-transformed habitat: repeated passage of the hydro- and atmosphere through industrial processes and the replacement of the geochemical cycle with a technochemical one. The consumption of technically transformed matter (food, water and air) by people and the organization of life under conditions of a constant increase in the electromagnetic background and an increase in the unevenness of the heat energy flow supplying processes of a technogenic nature is complemented by the fact that an increasing number of animal and plant forms need material and energy stimulation. This stimulation also affects the organization of human life. The lack of ethical corrections to the methods of “conquering” nature by man, the lack of scientific substantiation of the boundaries of “ever-increasing human needs”, the absence of qualitatively new assessments in the field of a reasonable balance between “human benefit” and the progressive stability of the development of the biosphere as a form of cooperation between life forms and its material substrate (matter of the planet). The lack of determination of people to revise the first postulate of consumption “more is better”, the lack of consideration of a serious alternative “man is the conqueror of nature” and “man is a slave of nature” the search for forms of co-evolution of the technosphere and biosphere – these are the conditions in which technological progress is carried out with unlimited acceleration and within which a serious and honest consideration of the program for the survival of civilization should be organized.

It is important to take into account one more circumstance: in the conditions of a constant increase in the scale of the technosphere, anthropogenic activity becomes an essential factor in organic evolution. In this regard, the task arises of developing a concept that would take into account the qualitative uniqueness of the coming period in the development of the organic world. According to the concept of classical Darwinism, the direction of evolution is determined by the process of interaction of external and internal factors. It is customary to include climate changes caused by space reasons and changes in the gas composition of the atmosphere, as well as geological transformations of the Earth’s surface, the vital activity of organisms, among external factors. Human activity has now been added to these factors.

A feature of human activity is that it causes degrading consequences, expressed, among other things, in the destruction of entire species of plants and animals and in the violation of the integrity of biogeocenoses. Biogeocenoses, being functional elements of the biosphere, ensure the integrity of the latter. They are the environment for the course of evolutionary processes and, in connection with the evolution of their constituent species, they themselves change evolutionarily, being in constant dynamic equilibrium [5]. Based on this, in recent years, opinions have been increasingly expressed that anthropogenic changes in the environment, upsetting this dynamic equilibrium and causing destabilization of biogeocenoses, in the evolutionary perspective, are likely to pose a greater threat to the integrity of the biosphere in comparison with the destruction of individual plant species and animals. Evolution is possible only if the integrity of the biosphere is preserved. Without preserving the functional integrity of the biosphere and its ability to self-regulate throughout the entire process of biological evolution, the progress of the living is impossible. This implies one of the paradigms of modern thought: “… to whatever heights human thought rises, we cannot get away from our biological-logical essence. This means that unlimited socio-technical progress is possible only as a particular moment of the general progress of life on Earth ”[4].

The laws of evolution are still insufficiently studied in order to make final conclusions regarding the consequences of the elimination of certain species of animals and plants. Considerations are expressed that the number of species of organisms on Earth is excessive and that species that are harmful and of little use to humans are subject to destruction. The bottom line, however, is that the place and role of any species in the biosphere is determined not by the interests of man, but by historically complex relationships in biogeocenoses, intervention into which without the necessary knowledge of its consequences can be fraught with irreparable consequences. Such cautious opinions are met with objections based on the fact that living organisms can adapt to anthropogenic influences through microevolutionary transformations. The offer is encouraging, but who knows the possibilities of these transformations and the consequences for humans. The general characteristics of the modern evolutionary situation should be reconciled with the fact that at the present time organic evolution does not exist in its original form on Earth – evolutionary changes are determined not so much by the immanent needs of the development of species as by the needs of humans.

There is also an opinion that when analyzing the role of an anthropogenic factor in the process of evolution, one should distinguish between evolution under the influence of spontaneous human activity and evolution, controlled by man consciously. In the conditions of the dominance of the first form of evolution, which is characteristic of the present time, the importance of timely forecasts of the results of evolutionary processes increases. The hope for the possibility of obtaining such forecasts often leads to the conclusion that the only way to resolve the contradictions between human activity and the laws of development of organic nature is to control the evolution of the entire biosphere. However, given the current state of knowledge about the laws of the evolutionary process, real results of evolutionary control take place only in a rather limited area of ​​selection and cultivation of certain types of microorganisms, plants and animals. So a more sober assessment of the current environmental situation is reduced to the recognition that now a person has much greater capabilities to carry out transformation processes than to predict their not only distant, but even close consequences. Therefore, the most important task remains to preserve the integrity of the biosphere and its ability to self-regulation. The fact that the direction of further evolution depends on the current state of the biosphere, which is largely determined by the nature of man’s technogenic activity, causes an increase in the requirement for knowledge about the biosphere at all levels of its organization.

REFERENCES

1. Vernadsky V.I. Biogeochemical essays. – M.-L .: Thought, 1946.
2. Dmitriev A.N., Kochergin A.N. Survival odds. – M .: publishing house of Moscow State University, 1992.
3. Izrael Yu.A. Ecology and control of the state of the natural environment. – M .: Planet, 1979.
4. Kamshilov M.M. Evolution of the biosphere. – M .: Nauka, 1974.
5. Timofeev-Resovsky N.V. Populations, biogeocenoses and biosphere of the Earth / Mathematical modeling in biology. – M .: Nauka, 1982.

Author Information

Albert Nikolayevich Kochergin, born in 1930, graduated from the Ivanovo Pedagogical Institute (1959), postgraduate studies at Novosibirsk University (1963), Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor of the Department of Philosophy of the Institute of Computer Science and Technology, Moscow State University. M.V. Lomonosov, Academician of the Russian Humanitarian Academy, the Russian Ecological Academy, the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics, the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems, the International Academy of Informatization at the UN, the author of more than 500 scientific papers, the field of scientific interests is philosophy and methodology of science.

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