One of the concepts we hear both in Science and Science Fiction is the Sinularity Event, an idea that knowledge/technology will increase faster and faster in the near future (more or less) and the changes it will enable in human existance will shortly thereafter will be so many and so profound as to be beyond present imagination. This puts us well into what is often postulated as transhuman territory...massive genetic hybridizing and tweaking, sentient machines, eusocial cyberbeings (Borg Rogers in the 25 1/5 century) [mental aside: what if the Borg assimilated a super heroe?]
So when those that can are technologically evolving/changing themselves and those they hope to exploit, what happens to the rest of us? When almost everyone that is is practically an ascended being with near immortality and godlike powers sunning their virtualselves in holographic virtual realities stored on a sliver of crystal, or their drones and drudges, what do those ignored, by-passed or wary of such a life do? What kind of society can they make for themselves and where will they be able to do it?
Will they be treated/preserved as quaint nativists (and an emergency gene pool) and kept (with or without their knowing) on managed low tech preserves? Or will they simply be the mice in the walls of a vast and incomprehensible world? Or something else?
Last Edit: Feb 20, 2009 17:53:20 GMT -5 by seraphim
Post by Christian Soldier on Feb 20, 2009 18:23:46 GMT -5
Good question, Seraphim! I wonder what you would even call such a person? I like Nativist, it sounds primitive, but not. Of course, naturist is already taken. What if they were called aborigines considering the "evolved" state of the new man?
In all honesty, I think that, in time, the need to know how to operate technology will be solely for those with the advanced technical skills necessary. Everyone simply tells the computer what to do. After all, with an AI advanced enough, any verbal command can be either worked out or reject due to impossibility.
However, the trends I see in programs like Second Life and World of Warcraft scare me. I know, I've been there and I understand the allure of such programs and, even, enjoy them myself. What happens when, God forbid, the technology of such games is more "real" than reality? Imagine a game where the experiences, the touches, the sights, the sounds, and the smells, are all more real than the real thing?
You can't kill me, I'm already dead!
[br]This is the martyr's cry!
I think that attempts to "evolve" man will turn out badly. Messing with the Master's design means playing god, and that never turns out well. So far with our advanced technology we have managed to effectively triple our life spans as compared to a few centuries ago, but this is not even a tenth as much as pre-flood man had.
You cannot mess with the design without paying the price. For example, the people today who are the most intelligent are also some of the most vulnerable to mental illness.
Just because you make a change that you think is for the better, doesn't necessarily mean that it will be.
There are those who say that no true story ever ends.[br]There are others who say that there is only one true story and we are all a part of it.
I feel like an optimist, reading things speculating about the future. Things are pretty good now, other than this so called economic downturn, and even that hasn't caused much death, destruction, shut down or failure of infrastructure or any other negative effects that I can see and consider "real." It's more about the attitudes of people and the availability of funds, than anything else, but the funds are there if you know how to acquire them. If they aren't where you used to find them, you can look elsewhere, and that's what evolution, and on a smaller scale, adaptation is all about.
Things change, whether it's environmental, social, sexual, economic or political pressures, and those that are suited to the new conditions (Note: not those that are better) survive and reproduce, while those that are not suited to the new conditions either move, adapt or die. In the end, the population has changed, but the old population usually remains, if in smaller numbers or a shrunken or changed range.
So with human kind. Our evolution doesn't look like the mass attainment of nirvana, or ascension as portrayed in the Star Gate series, or absorbtion into some kind of virtual world in which we live, unaware of reality. Sure, some people lose themselves in VR, just as they always have whether it was in storytellers, books, movies, or game systems. And some people will believe they can attain some kind of transcendent lifestyle or near immortality, just as they have throughout time from the pharoes on, if not before.
Yes, technology has improved by leaps and bounds, and continues to improve at an ever increasing rate. We can see that in the technology we use on a daily basis, versus what we used one, five, or 20 years ago (or whatever) But research is still research. Communication is still communication. Commerce is still Commerce. Politics is still politics. Faith is still faith. We do the same things we've always done, and I suspect we always will, though the tools change.
A client approached my boss once, complaining that he'd grown up in the Alaskan Native village, living by subsistance hunting, fishing and gathering. He didn't have a clue how to live in the big city (350,000 people) of Anchorage. My boss re-assured him that we in the city hunt for food just as he does, only we do so by hunting for jobs, and then hunting the isles of the grocery stores. The Alaska Native could teach my boss to hunt Caribou, and my boss could teach him to hunt for jobs.
So let's take that technological development into the future. Some day we may do all our grocery shopping on-line, and have them delivered to us, much as Netflix are today (a development from the whole blockbuster model, I suppose.) But we still have to hunt the web for the right deals, the right brands, whatever it is we want/need. And then someone has to produce, distribute, sell and deliver the products, and others have to process the funds, and so it goes.
The more realistic possibility for the break down of infrastructure as we know it, that I've heard of, is peak oil. This is the theory that, more or less soon, the oil reserves to which we have access will diminish relative to the demand to a catastrophic level. Companies will no longer be able to afford to transport foods and other products to market. This could, theoretically, set us back a hundred years or more in our standard of living, use of technology, etc.
still, as has been illustrated on this board, there are people in the U.S. today who have the skills and lifestyles that everyone else would resort to under those circumstances. Others have what it takes to adapt to those pressures. The information on how to live this way is available. We're human. We're some of the most adaptable creatures out there. We'll figure out a way to survive and thrive, just as we always have from the beginning until today.
But I don't believe the adoption of new technology, or the adaptation to a changing technological infrastructure will result in any drastic, humanity wide evolution. I don't expect our morphology or basic operations to change.
Some struggle through the desert because He said . . .[br][br]". . .If you would be my disciples, you must take up your cross daily and follow me"
They'll all be thrown onto a ship, with a captain who never leaves his bathtub, and sent on a never-ending journey to a non-existent planet. Meanwhile, the highly evolved will all die after catching a virus from a public phone.