The Future of the Human Race–2021 Edition

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Life as we know it is nearly over. Seriously. Not because of the in-progress worldwide pandemic or political upheaval, but because of what’s been happening in labs and human culture for the last several decades. I first published this prognosis in 2014, and then revised it in 2016, omitting a highly speculative timeline. A few of the dynamics have changed, but for the most part this is still how I see “life as we know it” ending. Here’s how the future could play out:

Phase One—Wearability – It all started 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 it with us–until portable computers and smartphones arrived. But wearables haven’t caught on the way portables have. So far. Wearables like Google Glass and Apple Watch are now quietly being reinvented for more essential uses like augmenting sight and hearing, and even memory loss. At some point they will become “necessary” the way portables now are.

Phase Two—Virtuality – Sorry, Oculus, but the real news isn’t in VR (virtual reality), it’s in AR (augmented reality), the transformation of those game-goggles into wearable computers. Soon we’ll use in-the-air keyboards and move virtual objects around with our hands; we’ll look at products in supermarkets and immediately know how fresh they are and what people think of them. And, sure, it would be cool if we could dodge a few zombies or gladiators while squeezing tomatoes. But, again, the real change will come when AR becomes “necessary.”

Phase Three—Implantability – Wait. Why look through clunky goggles when microprocessors under your skin can send signals directly to your optic, auditory and other nerves? (All of the following technology is either in use or in development.) Why not listen to how_works_medBeethoven or watch Fast and Furious 27 in your head while savoring Chicken Kiev and vintage vodka—calorie free? But more importantly, there’ll be life-changing fixes for the blind and deaf, along with smartchips that keep our hearts, lungs, and other organs going; floating nano-drones will locate and destroy mutated cells before they can replicate. No more heart disease. No more cancer. Longevity will take a quantum leap. Forget AR, BR (blended reality) will become the new norm!

Phase Four—Enhancability – Which will come first, the Singularity, the point at which computers surpass their creators (and eliminate them)? Or the Cyborg Era, the point atnexusae0_iron_man_mark_vii_hud_design_by_jayse_hansen_1400_thumb
which chip-enhanced humans acquire super-human physical and mental capabilities like VESP (virtual ESP–my term), the ability to communicate with one another via transmitted thoughts (early versions of this technology exist now). Will researchers (as some are now attempting) sustain life by transferring human consciousness into computers? Or will Google already have “solved death” (one of their current goals)?

Phase Five—Immortality – Why make computer chips out of nonliving substances when you can make them out of living cells that replicate and repair themselves? Antarean
As far back as the 90’s there were experiments in computing using atoms. By this point humans will have reached a new stage of self-directed evolution; they will no longer be homo-sapiens. (Many “posthumanists” and “transhumanists” believe this stage has already begun.) There will be humans with Hulk-like strength, or wings, or gills for living under water (will this result in new social structures?). Will we have solved the limitations of movement through space-time (think warp drive)? But wait…

Phase Six—Angel (or Demon)-ality — If consciousness can be transferred to computer bits made up of atoms, why can’t it be transferred to light particles (photons)? imagesMatter-based existence will, at some point, seem intolerably primitive. Why eat, sleep, defecate, and physically reproduce (well, OK, some of these things are fun) when consciousness can inhabit light waves, enabling us to move through space-time at the speed of light. If aliens exist, maybe we can’t see them because they are just such non-material beings.* Such creatures would, from a human perspective, seem infinite, omniscient. They would seem like angels.

Or demons (2 Corinthians 11:14). Because 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 not be heaven, it will be hell.

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 literal rendition of the prophecies of Daniel and St. John the Divine? Will there be a war against God? (Revelation 16:16)

cross-in-sunset-sky-620x330Having brought us through the process, one way or another, I pray that the One whom we no longer see “through a glass darkly, but 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)

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

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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23 Responses to The Future of the Human Race–2021 Edition

  1. Sue Cass says:

    That’s just darn right scary! Sounds like a horror movie and I hope it never comes true – other than welcome My good and faithful servant.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Well said, Mitch! This is all leading to the mark of the beast spoken of in Revelation 13. Jesus is coming soon! God bless!

    Liked by 4 people

    • mitchteemley says:

      Maybe, Ryan. But I don’t think anyone, if they love God with all of their heart and soul, needs to worry about accidentally losing their salvation by employing some useful technological development that turns out to be the mark of the beast. Those who trust God will know when the time comes.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Amen. We cannot lose our salvation, plus we will be Raptured before the mark of the beast is implemented during the Tribulation. We are just seeing the build up to the mark in our time. I still don’t want any technology embedded in my body. Just weird and gross anyway. 🙂 Blessings!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My only response is prayer.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Praying! The Lord Jesus told Pontius Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world. Hallelujah for that!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Relax... says:

    Well, imagine my surprise to suddenly be thinking about Dolly the sheep today, lol! I came across a great article in Scientific America which, also surprisingly, showed me again how God writes straight with crooked pencils. It turns out that she was cloned from adult cells — a happy accident, because they’d thought only fetal cells could be cloned. This is just about the timeline when we discovered we don’t need to use aborted fetuses’ cells for anything: adult stem cells work even better.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. China Dream says:

    I enjoy reading our posts.. always food for thought.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. tidalscribe says:

    Well that’s taken our minds off banal every day life in lockdown and world politics. A great deal to contemplate!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. TEP336 says:

    I get the sense that He will eventually shut things down, but it’s going to get far worse down here before we get to that point. How long it takes to get to that point is up to Him.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. numrhood says:

    2 corinthians 13 love is patient
    genesis 13 jesus is the same
    1 corinthians 11 have faith
    matthew 50:48 let everything that has breath
    praise the lord
    joseph’s death

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Love that trilogy of Lewis’s. Are we still human? This seems to be in question with all that has been going on. Are we still living in the real world?

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Gary Fultz says:

    I’m kinda digging in my heels going down that rabbit hole. but then everyone thought Jules Verne was out there…underwater machines…huh

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Jane Tawel says:

    Some of the most paradigm shifting theology and insights can be found in Lewis’ Space Trilogy. I would recommend that with “Out of the Silent Planet” one also include “Perelandra” and “That Hideous Strength” — by reading all three one gets the warnings but also the hope.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Ann Coleman says:

    Yes, this post is about the real issues humanity are going to face in the coming years, and it amazes me how we just sort of ignore the whole thing. The potential for good is there, but there is also enormous potential for abuse. I think it will change how people perceive God, but it won’t change God…and thank goodness for that. All we can do is trust and hope!

    Liked by 4 people

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