ISSUE-150

Governments should focus on solving the immediate problems of today rather than on trying to solve the anticipated problems of the future.


Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.


We live in a world full of challenges and problems today. Our finite resources, however, cannot solve all of them. As a result, how should governments deal with immediate problems of today as well as anticipated problems of the future? Some people might argue that due to their urgency, immediate problems should receive the highest priority at the cost of future issues. In my opinion, while it is true that immediate problems deserve a lot of attention, anticipated problems of the future should also be looked at because efforts to solve future issues can actually benefit our struggles today.


To begin with, no one can deny that our world is plagued by a wide range of pressing issues today, many of which are of great gravity and are directly relevant to the survival of human beings. Failure to address such immediate issues could pose grave threat to humanity. Take the proliferation of nuclear weapons for example. Ever since human beings mastered the destructive power of nuclear energy in World War II, the prospect of a nuclear annihilation has never faded. During the peak of the Cold War, for instance, the Soviet Union and the United States of America were at the brink of a nuclear exchange that would lead to the end of the world as we know it. The gravity of such scenarios made governments committed to containing the spread of nuclear weapons, or otherwise nuclear wars will potentially wipe out millions, if not billions, from the surface of the Earth. Another example is the increasing level of pollution in the air, the water, and the soil. Recent studies have discovered that air pollution has led to significant loss in life expectancy in Northern China. Given the prevalence air pollution in the developing world, governments should take the responsibility to address them for the sake of their people.


Although I do not deny the urgency in addressing the looming issues mentioned above, it remains to be discussed whether governments should focus entirely on them and ignore the anticipated problems of the future. The assumption behind the claim in favor of tackling immediate problems over future ones is that future issues have less priorities because of the fact that they appear faraway. This assumption, in my opinion, is wrong, since we cannot determine the severity of an issue based on how far we are from it. There are future issues that seem very distant but when they emerge, the consequences are devastating. As a result, it is still necessary to address those problems of the future given the potential damage they could incur. For example, the potential danger of strong artificial intelligence (AI) has been a common theme in the Hollywood blockbusters such as Terminators and the Matrix. One characteristics of the AI problem is that once an AI becomes capable of independent thinking, its takeover of the world could be within seconds and leaves no time for human beings to respond.


Finally, I want to point out that the process of solving future problems can actually help us combat immediate ones. This is because many problems, present or future, share similar solutions. Let’s still look at the case of pollution discussed earlier. Admittedly, immediate solutions to air pollution include catalytic converters and stricter regulations, but the long-term solution is the development of new, clean energy free from fossil fuels. The latter is also the product of our attempts to address future issues such as energy crises and global climate change. In other words, efforts to deal with challenges in the future can also help us solve problems we are faced with today.


To sum up, I agree that problems today need immediate attention from the governments, but that does not necessarily mean that we should omit problems of the future, which may be as serious and damaging as current ones. Moreover, immediate and future problems may share the same solution, so working on the problems of the future is also beneficial to addressing issues today.

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