Technology will make humanity obsolete
The dream of eternal life and everlasting happiness has been a thing for fictional villains and larger-than-life billionaires. But also dead serious scientists and society as a whole. Maybe not always literally, but always in theory and those real life situations where death is coming too soon.
That is all about to be reality. Just like the spaceships to Mars and the self driving cars. But how will it really be, now that we’re suddenly approaching it with such rapid speed that it is probably too late to stop.
Man has probably never been closer to creating the technological Magic Carpet that can carry us forward in life as the dominant creature of planet earth. But the dream has a significant flipside. We are already well underway to modify humanity to be lazy, unimaginative and dependent on machines. In the pursuit of progress and growth we are leaving behind the ingredients that makes us human. In other words; Humans will lose humanity.
Not all humans, there will always be someone who is the guiding and driving force. The ruling class. But the majority and thus humanity itself is facing an upgrade that has not been tested in a laboratory before being rolled out.
Author and world historian Yuval Noah Harari has just released the brick heavy book Homo Deus about the future of mankind. In there he looks at all the things we have going on for us right now and through a well crafted line of reasoning he offers his view on how the world will evolve as different technologies will mature and people take them in.
In search of mastering everything and everyone, humanity itself will vanish simply by being made redundant.
This does sound a little far out, so here are a few simple examples before we end up in the Matrix. According to Harari there will be three types of beings in the future — purely organic beings, a combination of man and machine and pure machines.
All of them are already among us in more or less sophisticated versions.
On the combination of man and machine, he uses examples like the so-called bionic legs that allow veterans to have their mobility back. As soon as these technological legs fulfill the needs they can of course also be used to upgrade healthy people. A simple combination of man and machine can quickly turn into athletic wonders or warlike terminators. If we can have perfect powerful legs there is no reason we will not go for it.
Likewise, it will be great to discover the cure for loss of memory with senior people. And when it’s in place, then perhaps we can use the same treatments decidedly to increase the memory in younger people and thus upgrade them to exceed the norm. Great, except we have no idea where it will take us.
In short, one can say that there are no clear lines separating recovery from upgrade. We almost always start to develop medicine to save people from falling short of the norm. However, the same tools can also be used to surpass the norm. And that is scary, writes Harari.
The pure organic human being is already well on its way out of world history. To be replaced by a more technologically adapted variant that are either utilizing or being utilized by machines.
In the past, we explained most of the world with our faith in God and religions. Faith decided hunger, diseases and war. There was simply nothing else to do than to stay on the path. And then when we still were hit by something awful we were sure it was a punishment for something we could not effect.
Fast forward in time where we science discovered that most atrocities were not supernatural punishments, but quite natural consequences of various explainable phenomena.
And make a tiny swipe up till present day, where we put our lives in the hands of large technology companies as they collect our data turning us all into products sold by auction houses without our knowledge. Like when we let the built-in navigation and way finder in our mobile phones take over our human sense of direction for even the shortest trips someone else is now in control of where we end.
The boundary between man and machine is blurry and we now put all our faith in the superhuman technology to bring us safely and uncritically forward in existence.
As humans works to streamline everything around us and eliminate any friction in life, we also remove all the distortions, challenges and complexity that is the fuel for humanity.
We are in the process of upgrading us to indifference.
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