Upon some additional furrowed-brow rumination over this well-written and thought-provoking read about "Why we can’t rely on technology for a better future" (I did some other ranting as responses within the post), some additional insight:
The reality is, old rich dudes don't want to die (and at some point they've realized their days are numbered, despite the best efforts of whatever Calico is liable to come up with in our lifetimes) -- and they certainly don't want to leave a terrible legacy of apocalyptic doom behind them and be made liable for it in the unforgiving (yet malleable, via power) annals of history. They want to leave behind a glittering, unassailably awesome planet full of unbelievable wonders, and they see emerging technologies as their pyramids -- as opportunities to be remembered, and to in some small way escape the infinite darkness of death by living on in the minds of the human beings left behind in the world of the Still Living.
They want to be glorified, not vilified -- and they've essentially leveraged humanity up to an unprecedented hilt in their blindingly single-minded pursuit of this fundamental delusion all human beings must grapple with by our very nature as self-aware animals. From the moment we are born and the heart starts beating, the clock starts ticking. Life is an incredibly long dance wherein we learn to distract ourselves from death -- but we can't quite manage it. We create ever-more sophisticated layers of complexity and pedantry in a bid to Keep Our Cool and project the illusion that Everything Is Fine, we've managed to reach the End of Risk, and are obviously not somewhere deep inside still twisted up in the most elusive parts of our psyches about the inevitable end we all must face.
Civilizations through the ages have contended with this basic reality of human existence. The major difference we face in our modern era is having reached a certain plateau threshold in our ability to manipulate the physical world that we may literally threaten its continued existence in our quest to transcend its cruel temporal nature. We have aggressively accelerated the application of global resources towards the pursuit of this "problem" -- under the guise of human improvement -- that paradoxically represents the deep-seated desire we all have to cheat death and life forever in a perfect utopia of our own creation. The immense asymmetry of wealth accumulation, combined with the consequentially unbridled narcissism on the part of those who have managed to accumulate it, is a bizarrely modern Molotov cocktail that could well be leading us straight into the maw of a Black Swan apocalyptic disaster that, perhaps -- through a darkly Orwellian lens, is Working As Intended after all (whether intentional or inadvertent, it's one crudely reductionist way to avoid the scorn of history): the most astronomical genocide the planet has ever known.
Left alone in their new, much quieter paradise, the world's remaining elites could raise a glass to the coldly-delivered dose of Darwinian justice. Only The (definitional) Best shall be left behind to pass on their genes and begin again with a fresh start; a tabula rasa.
You can almost picture it.