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( Twenty six-minute read) 

Answering this question is not as straightforward as it might appear.

We can ask, what am I? What is this place? And how am I related to it?

We have a record of history, moral behavior, economics, political and social institutions.

Is it to be human is to be one of us?

This begs the question of the class of creatures to which “us” refers.

In deciding that all and only Homo sapiens are humans, one is expressing a preference about where the boundary separating humans from non-humans should be drawn, rather than discovering where such a boundary lays.

We’re probably unique in our ability to investigate the future, imagine outcomes, and display images in our minds.

In fact, one could know everything there is to know biologically about a human, but still not know what is unique to humanity now, what will be unique about humanity in the future, and what is important about humanity.

Why? 

Because the steady growth of computing power and sheer reality-describing data will eventually give scientists an unprecedented understanding of biological systems, including the human body, and the ability to hack it in ways that may ultimately defy death.

All of this will lead to a point at which our tools are so proficient at making themselves that more-human-intelligences emerge, and this change is now so accelerated that we can barely make sense of it. 

Cells might be persuaded to develop new collective goals and assume shapes totally unlike those that normally develop from an embryo.

A new type of creature—one “defined by what it does rather than to what it belongs to developmentally and evolutionarily.

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What will the future mean for us, for our relationships with other people, for our hopes and strivings?

When we look at how ordinary people have used the term “human” and its equivalents across cultures and throughout the span of history, we discover that often (maybe even typically) members of other species are explicitly excluded from the category of the human.

For example, Nazis considered Jews to be non-human creatures.

Generally, in wars, soldiers give nicknames to the enemy to dehumanize them.  

And another example is provided by the seemingly interminable debate about the moral permissibility of abortion, which almost always turns on the question of whether the embryo is a human being.

But if we think of the human as an indexical expression – a term that gets its content from the context in which it is uttered – a very different picture emerges.

When we describe others as human, we are saying that they are members of our own kind or, more precisely, members of our own natural kind. ie natural kinds are to contrast them with artificial kinds.

If  ‘human’ means ‘my own natural kind,’ then referring to a being as human boils down to the assertion that the other is a member of the natural kind that the speaker believes herself to be.

However, when it comes down to it, human beings have nothing special but our highly evolved brains that do something that other species can’t:

We remember, but so do elephants. 

So our inquisitive, reflective, pondering minds are forced to wrestle with some big questions in one way or another.

We have cultures and ways of transmitting information, and I guess we may come to realize that it is just us in the future.

Rest assured humans will need humans to be human and the planet we presently call Earth will remain the only place that this is achievable.   

You may be certain that AI will want to use satellites to look inside other cultures and will eventually create a human geography information system that uses satellite imagery as the baseline and overlays the satellite maps with datasets and other detailed information covering history, culture, education, economy, religion, weather, and political landscapes. 

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Who gave EARTH its name? No one knows.

Earth is the only one in our solar system that does not come from Greco-Roman mythology. All of the other planets were named after Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. 

Also, there is no particular Homo sapiens individual that researchers recognize as the specimen that gave Homo sapiens its name.

Self-awareness is in its infancy with Artificial intelligence, and the identity and authenticity of an individual in this melted world ahead will be daunting as we don’t yet understand who we are. 

Undoubtedly, in the case of humans, we are more creative than any other animals currently alive or pre-human descendants with the same genes, but the problem with evaluating creativity in extinct species is that you can’t talk to them. 

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We don’t know everything about our own species—but we keep learning more as we are rendering a new world with new opportunities and perspectives that will either go in two directions. 

Either we harness technology to human values or technology is turning us into products for exploration.

Presently to live a human life which in essence is determined by an accident of birth is becoming more and more expensive so that ordinary people simply cannot afford to be born.

Moreover, we can scarcely go a day without using inventions and innovations that were once the stuff of science fiction. Cell phones, flat-screen TVs, airbags and antilock brakes, CT scans, digital video players, portable computers, and, of course, the World Wide Web were completely unavailable a few decades ago.

But of course, in a future world where accidents of birth and the fortunes of good genes are even more critical determinants of success than they are now, inequalities that persist will be especially galling.

Because social and positional inequalities already distort existing measures of income and wealth, many seemingly clean-cut economic debates are more intractable than one would imagine. And of course, social anxieties over the unavoidable differences will become even more troubling, the less we can constructively address these issues.

Even if biology could somehow be conquered to the point that genetic good fortune could be parceled out equally to all, the minor differences that remained would loom ever larger.

Whether you view such an eventuality as desirable or irrelevant, more of our intellectual effort should be devoted to this future scenario. Not simply because we are heading there, but in many ways, because parts of that world are already here.

Even today, we routinely exaggerate the extent of material inequality and make foolish comparisons between different time periods and between countries at different levels of development. This does not mean that inequality has disappeared, or that it is unimportant

And as COVID-19 pulls the rug out from under economic growth, money will have so much power that it with AI will control society.

As the need for money grows, so does the greed of it. 

Ever since money was introduced as a value to exchange goods, every action that we take exacts a cost and produces consequences and none will be bigger than climate change.

In the economy of the future where knowledge is the most valuable commodity, a person or a country will have to offer more than just money.  

Money should never be the master of anyone it is a tool to be used to accomplish the things you want in life.

Even if money does not buy happiness, raising as many people as possible to a middling level of prosperity (an important first step to endure day-to-day economic agony of inequality we are still creating a recipe, not just for disaster but exiting this world. 

People are waking up to a story that was already there.

This Recipe for the human stew we are in.

Viruses have been on the planet for millions of years, much longer than Homo sapiens. After a year COVID has infected more than 115 million people and caused over 2.5 million deaths, with over half a million in the US alone.

The world population of 8 billion is doubling every 61 years with 55 percent of us living in urban areas or cities, which is set to rise to 68 percent over the coming decades. Currently, Cities house more than half of the world’s population and are expected to see another 2.5 billion new residents by 2050.

Cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions. China’s co2 emission exceeded those of all developing countries. 14 gigatons, 25% of global emissions. 

Producing enough food to feed the world includes raising large numbers of animals in close quarters, and they represent breeding grounds for viruses and infectious agents that can jump to humans. The spillover from animals to humans is closely linked to environmental change such as Climate change.

60% of all Mammals are livestock.  Unsustainable.

80 % of all birds are Poultry. Unsustainable.  

83% of wild animals are exterminated along with 50% of plants.

Because of selective breeding, future generations of selectively bred plants and animals will all share very similar genes which will reduce variation perfect for future Pandemics. 

Mix all of this with Profit for Profit sake and we got a recipe for the future that will rise quicker than you can say I am all right Jack. 

And I’m not saying we should go back and live like nomads. But when you put it all together — population pressure, urbanization, agricultural practices, deforestation, high mobility . . . and then climate change is going to make all these things worse.

Whatever the next event will be — and we know there’ll be another event — it’s already out there. A wake-up call is an understatement. 

The Dominant role that humanity now plays on Earth – is unsustainable and we must have pandemic memory, even if we want to forget the past year.

What if anything can be done to reverse centuries of mismanagement? 

The future of automation is only possible with the Internet of Things (IoT), the hub of collected data where devices interconnect. To get the most from automation, it’s essential to look beyond convenience toward efficiency.

416.2 terawatt-hours of electricity are used by data centers equaling 1% of world energy.  

There is now a great urgency for the world to convert to green energy but solar panels and wind farm electrical cars are not the solutions unless they all operate on Hydrofusion. Yet commercial electricity generation from fusion still remains a goal rather than a reality and it’s a solid bet that it will not arrive on the grid before the 2030s and it will be expensive. 

We are left with our whole system of living that requires radical structural change away from profit to beneficial sustainability. 

This change requires giving the means to Humans to live their lives with dignity while protecting what is left of our planet.

There are other, more ethical ways to provide social services.

At the moment we have sales taxes, gasoline taxes, poll taxes, food taxes (yes, they tax what you need to survive), sin taxes (cigarettes, alcohol, gambling), “fat taxes” (taxes on unhealthy foods), housing taxes, Social Security taxes, payroll taxes, and income taxes…taxes galore!  All harm the poor more than they do the rich. And of course, we have the income tax, which is a progressive tax, a tax that affects the rich more than the poor.  

What if we had a cutoff point where at a certain income you pay no taxes, and those below that income get money back from the government.  A Universal income. 

This alone would be revolutionary for the poor and working-class! Coupled with the removal of all regressive taxes, it would be even better.

Instead of using hundreds of billions to fund programs like Social Security and free medical care, food banks, those who would require those programs would probably just be able to afford most of what they need anyway!

The demands for all goods would skyrocket as people now have free money to put into the market.

On top of this, all education including University should be made free. 

If we want humans to protect, the ecosystem we have to make it more profitable to protect than destroy. Pay them to protect it. 

To do this see previous posts – A 00.05% World Aid commission.    

   Deforestation in the Central African Republic: scientists agree that destruction of the natural world makes spillovers of new viruses into the human population more likely

 

All human comments are appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.