Don’t read this if you have a closed mind.
As If we need more problems in the world here is one that is going to blow the minds of our children’s children.
It’s the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.
If you were to build a human from scratch, from the bottom up, at some point you cross the threshold into humanity — if you believe in evolution, at some point we ceased being a great ape and became human.
Likewise, if you slowly remove parts from a human, you cross the threshold into inhumanity. Again, though, we run into the same problem: How do we codify, classify, and ratify what actually makes us human?
Does adding empathy make us human? Does removing the desire to procreate make us inhuman? If I physically alter my brain to behave in a different, non-standard way, am I still human? If I have all my limbs removed and my head spliced onto a robot, am I still human?
As technology advances, so do our visions of the future.
Artificial wombs? Not so far-fetched. We already have the ability to keep donor hearts pumping externally with nutrient-rich oxygenated blood before transplants are performed. We are already putting animal brain cells into robots as a control system.
The only thing creeper than a baby robot named Diego-San is a cyborg fetus with no name. It’s an interesting concept that before long we might be incubating our unborn children in tanks, but we might want to think about what that means for population control.
We can’t find a single reason to make a human-gazelle hybrid, but fusing animals and humans (however frightening the concept may be) could be good for something.
It’s only a matter of time before we start digging up skeletons of robots past. With all of these robot dogs walking around and being taught new tricks, how long will it take for robots to adopt other more efficient animal designs?
Whether or not you’re a Transhumanist, future society and all of the potential it brings does seem exciting.
Now all we need is a box that keeps our brain working long enough for a cyborg transplant. Sounds routine enough.
Humans are extending current biological limitations, and in the next few decades what it means to be human might change considerably.
At first glance these questions might sound inflammatory and hyperbolic, or perhaps surreal and sci-fi, but don’t be fooled: In the next decade, given the continued acceleration of computer technology and bio medicine, we will be forced to confront these questions and attempt to find some answer.
Through genetic engineering, nano tech, cloning, and other emerging technologies, eternal life may soon be possible.
So what will happen when we finally craft a computer with greater-than-human intelligence? (the technological singularity).
If every human on Earth suddenly stopped dying, overpopulation would trigger a very rapid and very dramatic socioeconomic disaster. Unless we stopped giving birth to babies, of course, but that merely rips open another can of worms: Without birth and death, would society and humanity continue to grow and evolve, or would it stagnate, suffocated by the accumulated ego of intellectuals and demagogues who just will not die?
Likewise, if only the rich have access to intelligence and strength-boosting drugs and technologies, what would happen to society? Should everyone have the right to boost their intellect? Would society still operate smoothly if everyone had an IQ of 300 and five doctorate degrees?
Humans have always used technology, but never has society been so intrinsically linked and underpinned by it as is to days Society.
As we have seen in just the last few years, with the advent of the smart phone and ubiquitous high-speed mobile networks, just a handful of new technologies now have the power to completely change how we interact with the world and people around us.
In just the last 100 years, we’ve doubled our life span again, created bionic eyes and powered exoskeletons, begun to understand how the human brain actually works, and started to make serious headway with boosting intellectual and physical prowess. Trans cranial direct current stimulation is being used to boost cranial capacity, and as we’ve seen in recent years, sportspeople have definitely shown the efficacy of physical doping.
If you were born 500 years ago, odds are that you wouldn’t experience a single societal-shifting technology in your lifetime — today, a 40-year-old will have lived through the creation of the PC, the internet, the smart phone, and brain implants, to name just a few life-changing technologies.
Just think about how many industries and jobs have been obliterated or subsumed by the arrival of the digital computer, and it’s easy to see why we’re wary of transhumanist technologies that will change the very fabric of human civilization.
That all changes with the children of today, however.
To them, anything that isn’t computerized, digital, and touch-enabled seems unnatural. To them, the smart phone is already an extension of the brain; to them, mind uploading, bionic implants and augmentations, and powered exoskeletons will just be par for the course. To them, transhumanism will just seem like natural evolution — and anyone who doesn’t follow suit, just like those fuddy-duddies who still don’t have a smart phone, will seem thoroughly inhuman.
For the children of tomorrow, living through a series of disruptive technologies that completely change their lives will be the norm.