Most seeds are transient. They can become extinct, branch into new species, or change over time due to random mutations or environmental changes. Typical mammalian species are million years.
Modern people, homo sapiens, has existed for about 300,000 years. What happens after 100,000 years?
Science fiction writer H.G. Wells was the first to realize that humans can evolve into something very alien.
In his 1883 essay, man of a million years, he imagined what has become a cliché now: creatures with big brains and small bodies. Later he speculated that humans too he might split into two or more new species.
Wells’ evolutionary model has not stood the test of time, but his three basic options are still valid. We could go extinct, turn into some species, or mutate.
An additional factor is having biotechnology that can greatly increase the odds of each of them.
Human Enhancement (using drugs, microchips, genetics, or other technologies to make ourselves smarter, stronger, or otherwise better), Brain Emulation (uploading our brains to computers ), or artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to create new species of technological forms unseen in biology.
Software intelligence and AI
It is impossible to perfectly predict the future. It relies on fundamentally random factors: ideas and actions, as well as currently unknown technical and biological limits.
But it’s my job to explore that possibility, and I think the most likely one is vast ‘speciation’, the splitting of a species into several species.
Many of us want to improve the human condition – slowing or eliminating aging, enhancing intelligence and mood, altering our bodies and potentially leading to new species.
But these visions make many people cold.
Even when these technologies become as cheap and commonplace as mobile phones, it is understandable that some people reject them on principle and build a self-image of being a “normal” human being.
In the long run we should expect that generation after generation (or upgrade after upgrade) the most enhanced people will become one or more radically different “Post-human” Species – and a species of holdouts who declare themselves “real humans”.
finished brain emulationis a speculative technique that scans the brain at the cellular level and reconstructs equivalent neural networks in a computer to create “software intelligence” that can go further.
This isn’t just speciation, it’s a move away from the animal kingdom to the mineral or software world.
There are many reasons why you might want to do this, such as increasing your chances of immortality (by making copies and backups) or being able to easily travel through space with the internet or radio.
Software Intelligence has other benefits as well.that is extremely resource efficient – Virtual creatures only need the energy of sunlight and rock materials to make microchips.
It can also think and change on timescales set by calculations. Probably millions of times faster than the biological mind. It can evolve in new ways. All you need is a software update.
However, it is unlikely that humans will continue to be the only intelligent race on Earth.
Today, artificial intelligence is advancing rapidly. Although there is great uncertainty and disagreement about when or if to be conscious, general artificial intelligence (i.e., understanding and learning intellectual problems like humans do, rather than specializing in niche tasks) (meaning that you can I think it’s possible in this century. or sooner.
If it can happen, it probably will. At some point, we could be a planet where humans are largely replaced by software intelligence or AI, or a combination of the two.
Utopia or dystopia?
Ultimately, it seems plausible that most brains will be software. Research suggests that computers will soon be much more energy efficient than they are today.
The software mind also eliminates the need to eat and drink, which are inefficient ways to get energy, and saves power by doing slow parts of the day.
This means that you should be able to get More artificial intelligence per kilogram of matter In the distant future, we will need many more watts of solar power than the human mind. And since they can evolve rapidly, you should expect to see significant changes from your current thinking over time.
A physical existence has a distinct disadvantage compared to a software existence, moving through a world where matter is sluggish and quaint. Still, it’s self-contained, unlike flitting software that evaporates if your data center messes up.
“Natural” humans are very different from software humans and are likely to remain in traditional societies. This is the same for the Amish people today. Their humble lifestyle is still enabled (and protected) by the surrounding United States. Surrounding societies don’t have to crush small, primitive societies. We have established human rights and legal protections, and the same may follow for ordinary humans.
is this a good future? Much depends on your values. A good life can involve building meaningful relationships with other people and living sustainably in a peaceful and prosperous environment. From that perspective, we don’t need weird post-humans. I just need to make sure my quiet little village works (presumably protected by invisible automation).
Some people appreciate the “human project”, the unbroken chain from their Paleolithic ancestors to their future selves, but they are open to progress. They’ll probably see software humans and AI as overkill, but it’s okay for humans to evolve into strange new forms.
Some argue that the key is freedom of self-expression and following life goals. They might think we should explore the post-human world broadly and see what it has to offer.
Others may value the happiness, thoughts, or other qualities held by various entities and hope for a future that maximizes these. You may be unsure, claiming that you need to hedge your bets by doing so.
Here’s a million-year prediction. Some humans are more or less like us, but fewer in number than they are now. has become
Here and there, cultural sites with vastly different ecosystems have emerged, carefully preserved by robots for historical or aesthetic reasons.
Beneath the silicon canopy of the Sahara lies trillions of artificial intelligences. The sprawling, hot data centers that power these minds once threatened to overheat the planet. Most are now orbiting the Sun, forming growing structures. dyson sphere – where each watt of energy is considered consciousnesscomplexity, and other oddities, no word yet.
If biological humans were to become extinct, the most likely reason (apart from the now apparent imminent threat) would be a lack of respect, tolerance, and binding with other post-human species. Maybe that’s why we start treating our own minorities better.