Guess what? The future is going to be different to today. Quite how different is matter of some debate, and some big voices have recently been chipping in – and their thoughts make sobering reading.
Seth Shostak (pictured), senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Inteligence (SETI) – who was presumably hired because his name sounds like a hostile race in Star Trek – has written a far-thinking blog post speculating on how this could be humanity’s last century. Apparently, a combination of the colonisation of space and growing adjustments to our own bodies will result in beings radically different to how human beings are now constituted. That may sound a pretty pessimistic prediction, but to us it sounds pretty damned intriguing to be honest.
He writes: ‘A thousand years from now, the inhabitants of a martian colony may not be so similar to those still living on Earth. Re-engineering our children will transform our species even faster. We can eventually produce offspring that are as different from us as dogs are from gray wolves. The haphazard, bottom-up alterations to our species occasioned by Darwinian evolution will yield to the directed improvements of future engineers… Perhaps we can promulgate our culture and ourselves by putting chips in our brains or simply uploading our brains to the machines. But you can be sure that the result will not be Homo sapiens as we've known him for 50 thousand years.'
He continues: 'These are changes that don't just shape our future. They knead it into something inconceivably different. And sure, you may quibble about whether everything I've described is going to take place this century, but do you really think it won't happen in the coming thousand years?'
If you don’t think the idea of your grandchildren being cybernetic organisms flying around the solar system is cool, we’re just not sure if we can be friends any more.
That said, a few naysayers are out there – like some guy named Stephen Hawking, whose scientific qualifications we’re investigating as we speak. He recently told Radio Times that we need to skedaddle to the stars, as we’re likely to obliterate ourselves if we stick around on this planet alone.
‘We face a number of threats: nuclear war, global warming and genetically engineered viruses. Although the chance of a disaster on planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, becoming a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years.’
So, in conclusion: two very intelligent men think the future is going to be different to today. Will it better? Will it be worse? What are we, rocket scientists?
[Via: Tech Times]