The human experience in a post-human future

Credits: Alex Knight

An interesting idea that I have been mulling over recently is this concept of how we create tools to modify our world and those tools then shape our experiences. This is a feedback loop of how we have interacted with the physical world. In the last century, that rate at which this happens has shifted dramatically from being linear to progressing exponentially.

A very important thing to note about this is that humans have always been at the centre of this changes. We have always been the cause of change in our world and the effects have usually been predominantly on our experience of our physical world. However, with recent leaps in the advancement of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics, we are realising that there is a foreseeable future in which humans no longer control things.

There are those who propose a future world guided by the invisible hand of artificial super-intelligence that don’t need human input in decision making or learning. While this may seem far-fetched, recent breakthroughs show that this could happen sooner rather than later. This then begs the question: In a future world where almost everything is automated and control by artificial intelligence, what would be the role of humans and what would our experience be like?

I believe we are gradually entering into a post-human age: not an age without humans but an age where the role of humans in the world would be radically different and even what it means to be human would change. There are three future possibilities that exist. One, that humanity will be freed up from most of the things we do now and our function in the future will be different from what it is today. Secondly, that we would upgrade ourselves and break free from the limitations of natural evolution and third will be in how we measure value and our experience of life.

I am cautiously optimistic about the future of AI and believe the warnings of its potential risks should not be ignore. Nevertheless, the limitless possibilities that exist in the future are mind-blowing and we cannot even begin to imagine some of them today. Humanity as it is today is definitely going to become obsolete very soon and that is one of the things that makes sceptics fear. The passage of time has upgraded us from within our genes to what we are today, and rather than fear the inevitable change, we need to quickly begin to think of upgrading ourselves.