Friday, January 15, 2016

Les Humains: Past, Present, Future

I have a few things figured out regarding humans.  I couldn't think of a better time to share them than now.  As one doctor said quoting another, "Inviting me to engage in futurism is inviting me to be a fool."  I don't mind being a fool.  Let's take some shots.

Past: Humans were pure animal, really, before a few thousand years ago.  It was about the bottom rung of Maslow's Hierarchy (a pyramid I fully subscribe to, while leaving openings at each level of it for human changes/adaptations).  Food, water, shelter, sex.  People used bravery, strength, trickery and intelligence to make their mating selections, to acquire and maintain food and water supplies, and to have a shelter from the weather.  Evolution did what it did, as Darwin said, and forced adaptation.  If you didn't or couldn't adapt, you died off and produced no offspring.  If you could hold on long enough in a given lifetime, you generally did continue to contribute to the gene pool.  In cosmic time, humans have been here for a very brief period, so a relatively small amount of harsh, future-shaping adaptations have strained the human line.  We haven't been tested like many other species have.

Present: At the beginning of the 21st century, we are about to make a sharp turn.  Right now, scientists are actively researching and working on electronic implants, chemicals, and training methods that will meld computer speed and memory capacity with the human mind.  Before the end of the century, these enhancements to humans will be commonplace.  Humans will desire to have them be introduced by genes, so that these extra strengths will pass on automatically and I suspect we will work toward that.  But gene therapy, or pimping your genes, will be limited.  Added to that will be electronic forms of memory, connected to the largest networks.  You could have no knowledge of a state and yet in the time it takes to make the thought, you will have "downloaded" the state's road maps into your frontal cortex.  You will literally be Think-Googling (perhaps they'll call it Thoogling).

Designer children will be allowed, no mate required.  Sex robots will be made remarkably human and will be the most popular robot available, worldwide, followed closely by personal robots (the type that will help the sick move around, clean house, fetch necessities, go shopping, and walk the dog.... eventually, those robots will also be sex-enhanced... people will put more thought into designing their robots than designing their kids).

Wars will be fought with robots, first controlled by humans, and then by AI.  Humans will be sufficiently smart in design and control as to not let robots "take over."  Those types of Hollywood themes are popular because people fear the unknown and are always looking for something to put in their "fear hole," (my term).  Computers will continue to drive cars, but will show up also in courtrooms and sports venues to make accurate calls/verdicts, according to the rules/laws.  Computer code will be open to inspection at all time, preventing any chance of human error, bribery, or bias.  If we want mathematical precision in the application of our laws and rules, we will need computers to do it.  Finally, fairness will be achieved to a point satisfactory to the people of a community.  This will be one of the best things to happen this century.

With hardware brain add-ons and enhancements, we elders will feel a bit like outdated version of humans for having to go through years of college and many more years of living to gain an experienced education when people will be downloading their educations on demand, or designing high-IQ babies.  That will sting a little for those not wealthy enough to buy the enhancements.  Almost all surgical and repair operations will be done without human hands, as well as food service, repair services, and delivery services.  Large social programs will be needed to help people find new careers as the machines are used for any programmable tasks (which is about all of them).

Future:  Space will be colonized by man and machine.  Humans will spread out.  Homes will be made on asteroids, moons, and planets.  Warped space travel (to reduce time needed for journeys) will be perfected to allow travel to different solar systems, and eventually galaxies.  Humans will fundamentally branch off from one another here as their new environments begin to shape them, and any biological enhancements at a genetic level may turn out to be deadly or necessary, depending on the situation.  The power will be in numbers... many humans and machines sent in many different directions.  Planets like Mars will be terraformed and other duplicates of Earth will be made, either naturally or artificially.

It will be hundreds, perhaps thousands of years before we figure out practical inter-dimensional travel or useful time travel.  Using weak black holes, time travel will become relatively routine once it starts.  It is possible then that if somebody travels to or through your "current moment," it is not the first time you have been through that moment, and it may not be the last.  This may have some connection to deja-vu, as the chances that this is the first time we've come through the year 2016 are remarkably slim.  But even if it is, you will relive 2016 many, many times as time travelers re-activate the moments that they choose to arrive in.  This may also be a cause of or at least discovery of parallel realities since time and space can stretch and shrink; there may be a million of "you" living on different time/space/dimensional lines.  If so, that will eventually be proven.

New diseases will be encountered in new places as we colonize.  Whole colonies will be wiped out before some are resolved.  It is in human nature to explore, and so we will take those risks, and we will never stop searching, even if we don't know exactly what we're searching for or why.  Traditional religion will die, replaced with solid philosophy and critical thinking and a belief not in a big daddy in the sky but in human ingenuity and adaptation as its own force.  We will discover other intelligent life and at least initially, that will go well as life has a tendency, when intelligence is involved, to root for itself.  A super-intelligent but desperate life form my bring new problems.  Humans will learn that thinking outside of the box is no longer an optional exercise to do once in a while in a board room but must be practiced and used daily.  Love will not lose any of the passion it is capable of having, but due to supplemental forms of artificial love available, it will be experienced less per capita than it is now (gene manipulation, robots, and drugs will be found to be less challenging to accomplish a similar feeling to raging love, and this may be one of the worst things that could happen to humans).

Humans will make it a remarkably long time as we spread out, but in truth, the new divisions will differ so much from one another after millions of years of change that we will have new species that just used to be human.  Add to that the complications of gene manipulation and robotic enhancement, and you'll see some interesting characters out there.  Overall, unless answered after death, the question of "Why are we alive?" will probably never be answered.  The prevailing motto will be, "Just keep going in order to keep going."