Beyond 2016: The Future of the Human Race

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I have a big picture brain. So when Apple introduces a new gottahavit gadget, I don’t wonder, “Should I buy one?” I wonder, “How will this alter reality?” And I keep coming up with this answer: Human life as we know it is nearly over. Seriously. Here’s what I predict:

Phase One—Connectability, Portability, Wearability – It all started in the 90’s when computers met their soul mate, the internet. Almost Google-releases-Project-Glass-video-capture-and-details-expands-pre-ordersovernight, people became addicted to being connected. But we couldn’t take ’em with us. Until portable computers (including smartphones) arrived. Still, why carry ’em when you can wear ‘em? But Google Glass and Apple Watch haven’t found the magic. How the wearable bug will bite:

Phase Two—Virtuality Oculus Rift reinvents the VR (virtual reality) game. Cool, but… The real goal is to transform game goggles into wearable computers. Soon we’ll use “in the air” keyboards and move virtual objects about with our hands. We’ll walk to work in the virtual-oculus-rift1930s, dodging Prohibition Era gangsters (or zombies or gladiators) and hang out with AR (augmented reality) rock stars at RL (real life) street corners. But before the end of this decade the growing demand will be to blend virtuality with another development just now hitting puberty…

Phase Three—Implantability – The 2020s-2030s. Why look through clunky wrap-arounds when microprocessors under your skin can send signals directly to your optic or auditory nerves, and to your other senses, as well? (All of the following technology is either in use or in development.) Too invasive? Consider this: You’ll be able listen to how_works_medBeethoven or watch Fast and Furious 27 in your head while savoring virtual Chicken Kiev and vintage vodka—calorie and DUI free! More importantly, there’ll be life-changing fixes for the blind and deaf, along with smartchips that keep hearts, lungs, and other organs going; floating micro-drones will locate and destroy mutated cells before they can replicate. No more heart disease. No more cancer. Longevity will take a quantum leap. And so will the interface between RL and cyberspace. BR (blended reality) will be the new norm.

Phase Four—Enhancability – The 2030s-2070s. Which will come first, the Singularity, the point at which computers acquire sentience (true AI) and surpass their human creators? Or the Cyborg Era, the point at which humans enhance their own frail frames with computer hardware to produce super-human physical and mental capabilities like VESP (virtual ESP–my term), nexusae0_iron_man_mark_vii_hud_design_by_jayse_hansen_1400_thumbthe ability to communicate with one another via transmitted thoughts (early versions of this technology exist now). Or, as some researchers are currently attempting, by transferring human consciousness into computer hard drives? Will we be on the verge of immortality at this point? Or will Larry Page’s (Google CEO) researchers already have “solved death” (one of Google’s current goals)?

Phase Five—Immortality – 2080s? Self-repairing carbon-based life. Why make computer chips out of nonliving substances (aluminum, silicon, plasteel) when you can make them out of living cells that replicate and repair themselves indefinitely? As far back as the 90’s there were experiments in computing using single atoms as gates (the basic bits of computing). AntareanBy this point, humans will have reached a new stage of self-directed evolution and will no longer be homo-sapiens. (Posthumanists and transhumanists believe this stage has already begun.)  They will be something like the advanced aliens we see depicted in science-fiction movies, having gone as far as carbon-based life can go. There will be specialized humans with Hulk-like strength, or wings, or gills for living under water (will this result in new social classes and hierarchies?). Will humans have solved the limitations of movement through space-time (think warp drive)? Or will they have gone as far as matter-based beings can go?

Phase Six—Angel (or Demon)-alityWhy should super-humans even need physical mass? If consciousness can be transferred to computer bits made up of atoms, why can’t it be transferred to light particles (photons)? imagesThe entire concept of matter-based existence will, at some point, seem intolerably primitive. Why be limited by having to eat, sleep, defecate, and physically reproduce (well, OK, some of these things are kind of fun), when consciousness can inhabit light waves, enabling us to move through space-time at the speed of light. If aliens do exist, maybe we can’t see them because they are just such non-material beings.*  Beings like this would, from a human perspective, be infinite, omniscient (not really, but they would seem so to us). They would be…

Angels.

Or demons. (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Unless true goodness—ethics, selflessness, the divine agape love of the Greek New Testament—emerges as the sole motive of angelo-futurus, the future will be not be heaven, it will be hell.

And what about God? Will he shut everything down at some point, a la the tower of Babel? (Genesis 11:6-7)  Or will he intervene in a more-or-less literal rendition of the prophecies of Daniel and John the Divine?  Will there be a war against God? (Revelation 16:16)

Finally, having brought us through the process, one way or another, I pray that the One, whom we will no longer see “through a glass darkly, cross-in-sunset-sky-620x330but face-to-face” (1 Corinthians 13:12), will say, “Well done, good and faithful servants…come and share your master’s joy!” (Matthew 25:23)

Peace.

*C.S. Lewis first proposed this in Out of the Silent Planet (1938).  Non-material doesn’t mean “immaterial,” by the way; such beings would be far more real than we carbon atom-based humans are–our bodies consist almost entirely of empty space.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, For Pastors and Teachers, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Beyond 2016: The Future of the Human Race

  1. Mama say, “it be da debil”…and I’m praying for solar flares…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Some might think you are being the kidster, but I actually think you are closer to being right than what you think. I can’t see phases 5 and 6 coming to pass, but I believe man will certainly try.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I thought sci-fi was conditioning us for a while to spoil the surprise “I told you so”….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jamila Smith says:

    Wow, you’ve given me loads to think about! The concept of immortality scares me… If it did happened in the 2060s, before Angel/Demon stage six, the idea of overpopulation would worry me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Overpopulation is definitely a factor! Some predict that VR will “solve” the problem by causing humans to live Matrix-style lives, i.e. becoming immobile, connected to feed tubes, taking up minimal space. Or that we’ll emigrate to other planets. Or that only an elite class will be allowed immortality. Or?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ufuomaee says:

    The Bible teaches us that before it gets to the point where humans need not make time to eat or sleep or even take a dump; at the point of implantability – when no one can buy or sell without having the mark of the beast implanted in their right hand or forehead – God will intervene! After the persecution of the Christians who preach against taking these chips which everyone will accept as progress for mankind, which are the years of great tribulation, I believe Jesus will return for His elect. But if I am wrong on the timing, I still believe God will intervene.

    A very thoughtful piece. I was especially amazed at the mention of “solving death”!!! What a feat for mankind.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. dawnlizjones says:

    Just say “Selfless” yesterday. Sounds incredibly like your post. Thankfully I saw it on an old-fashioned TV. Sheesh! Bob doesn’t even like watching movies in 3-D!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow ! It seems like you wrote the prophecy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Mount says:

    The world is so confusing now! I can’t keep up with the technology now, let alone these suggestions. It will be interesting to see how the world moves forward. Thanks for these ideas. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nancy Ruegg says:

    My grandmother was a young teenager when the Wright brothers first took flight in 1903. Before her death in 1972, she saw (on TV) Neil Armstrong walk on the moon (1969). I used to think she witnessed incredible progress in science, medicine, technology, etc. But progress continues to escalate, proven by the timetable you’ve laid out here, Mitch. I shake my head in wonder! Some possibilities (probabilities?) sound glorious; others could foster fear–IF it weren’t for the assurance that GOD is in control, not man (Psalm 71:16). I am so thankful for his presence in my life. Whatever may transpire in the future, I can count on him to see me through!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. kenzelsfire says:

    Interesting ideas Mitch. I’m really hoping God intervenes before most of this might go “mainstream.” There is already a ton of “cutting edge” tech that I’m not sure people really understand what or how it can be used…with or without their knowledge or permission.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Roo's Ruse says:

    Reading along, part of my mind took off in the same general direction you took. I adore that! Finding Perelandra in a free book bin (before I became a Jesus Freak) was one of my happiest discoveries.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. theancients says:

    This was a very interesting read; and to me it’s definitely not “out-there”, but rather trending towards what we’ve been told in Scripture.
    -As in the days of Noah, so it will be near the end: extensive genetic manipulation.
    There were Nephilim (fallen angels/ aliens) who came to earth and cohabited with the daughters of men, producing ‘giants’ i.e beings with superhuman abilities. [Genesis 6,]
    Interesting that after these were destroyed by the flood, we’re told about another type, the Rephaim [Genesis 14]… [killed by Joshua, Caleb in Canaan..]
    Deuteronomy 2:23 speaks of the Avvites/Avims whose names mean “ruined ones” or the “perverters”
    Tower of Babel – the people’s language became confused because God knew anything they set their mind/imaginations to, they would accomplish. {obviously their thoughts & actions were less than righteous.

    When Babel fell, “it fell upon Canaan who is the uncle of Nimrod and brother of Cush to continue the legacy of his Hamitic family by continuing with Nephilim experimentation. For this reason, God called Abram out of the land of Babylon into the land of Canaan, so that he could raise an army (nation of Israel), to wipe out the seed of contamination which had overrun the land. We saw that Israel did not completely wipe out this seed of darkness and some of it was left to survive in Gaza, Gath, & Ashdod. [Joshua 11:22]

    There are no idle words in Scripture.
    Most of this world don’t know what’s about to come upon them.

    God Bless & protect His people… and unveil our eyes…grant us wisdom & understanding so we can escape destruction due to a lack of knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Siderite says:

    Ooh, start with technobabble and end up with Bible thumping. Nice twist! everything that can be believed will be believed, huh?
    The discussion is always devolving to the one about the nature of humanity. Will we still be human? Are we still human now? What is to be human? People think that these are questions so complex that we cannot yet answer them, but I say they are fairly simple, only we do not want to accept the answers. Human is to fear everything different from yourself and ultimately try to destroy it. Human is to want to pull everything higher than yourself down if it is easier than pulling yourself up. Human is to be as different from the notion of God as to be antithetic, while still believing we are supreme.
    These futures that you are predicting will not come to life not because it is impossible to get there, but because everyone around you will pull you down before you even think of soaring. And we all fall down. And if I am the pessimist and you get to be right, those people in the future will be so different from us that it is not worth discussing.

    Like

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