Temporary existence is the norm for most creatures. Over the time with change in enviornment and mutation species evolve into a new specie or split into a new specie. A mammalian species is believed to survive longer than a million years. Homo sapiens, aka human civilization, is 300,000 years old, and the question here is: what will happen to human civilization if it continues to exist for a million years?
H.G. Wells, a science fiction writer, was the first to speculate that humans may eventually become alien-like in their appearance. He wrote about beings with big brains and small bodies in his 1883 essay titled “Man in the Year Million.” He further speculated that it was possible that humanity could one day evolve into several distinct species. The evolutionary theories proposed by Wells have not survived the test of time, but the three alternatives he analyzed remain valid today.
It’s possible that we may die out, diverge into other forms, or evolve. The availability of biotechnology adds another factor, raising the odds that any of them will happen. Some speculate that in the not-too-distant future, technologies like brain emulation and artificial intelligence (AI) may give rise to technological forms of new species. It is believed that humans could evolve into species that even biology cannot define.
Software Intelligence And AI
The future depends on multiple factors, such as technologies, biological limits, and many other things, so it is not possible to accurately predict the future. But still, in this article, we will try to look into the possibilities, and I think the most likely case is vast speciation, which is when a species splits into several others. In this modern world, there is a race among humans to become more superior than others in terms of beauty, intelligence, muscle power, skin texture, etc.
To achieve such advancements, people have started to turn to technology for help. However, there are some who don’t like these ideas. Some individuals may choose to maintain a facade of “normalcy” by rejecting these technologies out of hand, even if they become as affordable and commonplace as mobile phones. In the long run, this will lead to the division of humans into two groups.
The most technologically advanced humans will likely evolve into one or more radically distinct “posthuman” species, while other individuals will insist that they are the real humans and refuse to adopt any technological advancements. We might even go farther with brain emulation technology. Brain emulation is a technique that involves scanning a brain at the molecular level and recreating an analogous neural network in a computer to produce “software intelligence.” This isn’t just a change in species; it’s leaving the animal kingdom for the mineral, or software, kingdom.
One may do this for a variety of reasons, including improving their odds of immortality by making duplicates and backups. Also, it will facilitate their ability to travel by internet or radio in space. Other benefits of software intelligence include its ability to think and adapt at computational speeds that are likely millions of times faster than those of biological brains.
As an example, a digital entity may just need solar power and a few rocks to fabricate its microchips, making it very resource-efficient. As long as new features are programmed into it, it might change in unexpected ways. This could mean that humanity is no longer the only intelligent species on the planet. The field of artificial intelligence is now seeing fast growth.
A sizable minority of experts believe it is possible within this century or sooner, despite profound uncertainties and disagreements as to when or if it becomes conscious, artificial general intelligence (meaning it can understand or learn any intellectual problems like a human, rather than specialize on niche tasks). There will be a day when humans will be replaced by AI, software-based intelligence, or a possible combination of both.
Utopia or Dystopia?
With time, most people’s minds will be converted software. As per researchers, computers will become more energy efficient, and the software mind will not be dependent on wasteful methods of energy like eating and drinking, but rather will work at a reduced rate during less-demanding times of the day. As a result, in the far future, it is expected that artificial brains will be significantly more efficient than human minds in terms of both matter and solar power use. Also, given how rapidly they may adapt, we can anticipate a change in our existing way of thinking.
Living in the slow, antiquated realm of matter puts physical creatures at a significant disadvantage as compared to software beings. Still, they are self-sufficient, unlike the software will disappear if their data center ever goes down. It’s possible that “natural” humans will continue to live in cultures very different from the software-based modern world. A modern-day analogy would be the Amish, whose simple way of life is still enabled and protected by the United States.
We have created human rights and legal safeguards, and it is possible that something similar may continue for normal people; therefore, it is not a guarantee that surrounding cultures have to smash tiny and primitive communities. Do you think this is a promising future? Your morals will determine many things. Possessing meaningful relationships with others and sustaining a tranquil and affluent environment are both possible components of a happy existence.
From this vantage point, there is no need for strange posthumans; all that is required is the maintenance of the infrastructure of the sleepy small community (perhaps protected by unseen automation). People who respect development may yet embrace “the human endeavor,” which traces our common ancestry back to prehistoric times. They may be concerned about the rise of software people and artificial intelligence, but they may also accept the possibility of humans taking on drastically different appearances.
But there are many who would counter that what’s really important is the opportunity to be yourself and pursue your own ambitions. Perhaps they believe we should make a concerted effort to learn more about the posthuman world and all it has to offer. Others may want futures that maximize happiness, intelligence, or any other quality shared by several entities. Some may be wary, claiming that we need to “hedging our bets” by exploring all possibilities.
Here is a forecast for the year 1,000,000. Some humans resemble us, although their population is decreased as compared to now. Much of the surface is wilderness, which has evolved into a rewilding zone since agriculture and towns have become obsolete. Cultural places with wildly varied ecosystems sprout up here and there, lovingly maintained by robots for historical and aesthetic purposes. There are trillions of artificial minds living under silicon canopies in the Sahara. Once, the huge, hot data centers that power these minds almost caused the planet to get too hot.
Now, most of them orbit the sun and are growing into a structure called a Dyson sphere, where each watt of energy powers thought, consciousness, complexity, and other strange things we don’t have words for yet. Lack of respect, tolerance, and legally enforceable covenants with other post-human species is the most likely reason (apart from the apparent and urgent dangers right now) for the extinction of biological humans. Perhaps this is a wake-up call for us to treat our own minority more fairly.
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Source: The Conversation