April 29 2008 / by futuretalk
Category: Other Year: General Rating: 8 Hot
By Dick Pelletier
Historians believe civilization began 10,000 years ago in Jericho, which makes humanity about 400 generations old (25-years per generation). Average life expectancy in this ancient time was puberty, living just long enough to reproduce.
These resourceful ancestors invented agriculture and created our first morals – empathy, charity and pity. Adopting these ‘do good’ emotions helped protect members of their community which increased the group’s chances for survival; it also provided the basis for our “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” mantra which most humans still practice today.
Humanity has made much progress in 10,000 years. Many people now live into their 80s, 90s and 100s, and we’re getting ready to explore the cosmos and conquer unwanted death. Futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts we will begin merging with our machines by 2050, just two generations from now. That means civilized humans will have lasted only 402 generations, a rather short lifespan for Earth species.
However, scientists argue that the human species is not ending. Replacing body parts with non-biological materials – cochlear ear implants, thought-controlled prosthetics, artificial neurons, etc. – does not take away our humanity. If we swapped every cell in our body for ‘artificial’ materials, we would still be ourselves – our human selves.
From 2010 to 2050, experts believe most research will focus on technologies that enhance or replace our biology. As we enter the age of wearable computers, wireless devices, interactive clothing, and thought-control, we find ourselves increasingly empowered with our technologies. (cont.)
By mid-2030s, computers are expected to surpass human intelligence, which many believe will enable easy and efficient human-machine mind transfers. Some people may choose to increase their intelligence by downloading computer information directly into their brains, while a few brave risk-takers will scan memories, emotions, things that describe their individuality, and transfer this data into robots and became the machine. Both groups will consider themselves ‘human’.
In the years following, enlightened humans and human-machines will adopt features from each other’s bodies until by mid-2050s; everyone will enjoy a similar body type; one that automatically repairs itself when damaged. This achievement brings an end to human sickness and dying.
Eliminating sickness and death frees humanity to focus on deeper thoughts. We can now grasp what it means to be human – to live life in an indestructible body on a fragile planet that needs our help. We turn to technologies that will enable us to achieve Type I Civilization status, which scientists identify as the ability to utilize 100 percent of the sun’s energy that strikes our planet.
This power will help us terraform a better Earth; eliminate global warming, control weather – no more hurricanes, earthquakes, storms; sunshine and rain can be directed to fall where needed.
On the lighter side, our future bodies require no food or sleep, but many miss the pleasures of eating and sleeping, so simulated programs in a Star Trek Holodeck-like entertainment system will let us experience these and other fun scenarios – visits with lost loved ones, trips to exotic galaxies, and romantic encounters. Imaginations can run wild on the ‘Holodeck’. We will create situations so real; we will not realize they are simulations.
Will we achieve this amazing 2050-2100 ‘magical future’? Positive thinkers say we will.