Society & Culture & Entertainment Education

Through The Wormhole: Future Concepts

THROUGH THE WORMHOLE: Futurology SEASON TWO: Can We Live Forever? Well forever really is a long, long, time, but we certainly can improve on the status quo of three-score-and-ten as we have been doing steadily generation by generation, each generation living on average slightly longer than the previous generation thanks to ever improving health services and advancements in medicine, better sanitation practices, pest control measures, food distribution, education advising against harmful health-related practices, etc.
Genetic engineering will further improve longevity as harmful genes are altered, even eradicated.
Biotechnology or bioengineering will do its part.
Lots of people now live longer thanks to artificial hearts or heart valves.
Nanotechnology will soon enable microbots to enter and traverse the highways and byways of the human body attacking cancerous cells and repairing internal damage.
Newer drugs will continue to enter the mainstream.
When all is said and done however, there really is only one piece of you that needs to survive and thrive century after century after century - your mind, which is the real you.
Your mind is your essence that makes you, you.
Your mind is unfortunately housed in a squishy vulnerable organ we call the brain.
What we need is a better receptacle for the mind - one which will last for millennia (or longer) and not be subject to the sorts of afflictions that can impact the brain, like cancer and injury, etc.
Something made of silicon and steel perhaps, like a computer.
When your mind can be downloaded as software into a computer and downloaded again into another backup computer and downloaded again into a new and improved computer, well that's beginning to approach the concept of 'can we live forever'.
SEASON THREE: Can We Resurrect the Dead? According to accepted scientific thinking regarding information theory, information can not be totally lost or totally destroyed, not even if you toss information down a Black Hole.
Information can of course be scrambled and rendered apparently useless - cut up a multivolume encyclopedia into its component letters (all millions of them), even burn the encyclopedia, and scatter the bits and pieces or ashes to the four winds - but in theory Humpty Dumpty can be put back together again.
Jigsaw puzzles are meant to be put together again! Living things are packets of information, a specific arrangement of fundamental particles into various atoms and molecular structures.
If one had a precise blueprint, down to the last electron, of someone living but now dead, one could in theory reconstruct that person quark by electron; atom by atom; molecule by molecule back into that living being.
Of course if the individual weren't long dead, the reconstruction would be somewhat 'easier' since most of the relevant bits and pieces would already be in place.
However, while information is never theoretically lost and any jigsaw puzzle however puzzling can be resurrected, one suspects one would have to be as close to an all-knowing god as one could get before being able to accomplish this.
But could you resurrect a dead body without replacing the missing or decayed parts of the master blueprint? Assuming you're not Dr.
Frankenstein, there's always cloning, except the result isn't really resurrection, especially since the new cloned mind starts off as a blank slate.
A form of resurrection might be akin to downloading the mind into another receptacle (i.
e.
- a computer) at the exact moment of death (not that there is an exact moment of death rather a short time interval in which you slowly fade away).
Finally there's the tried and true method of freezing the head (with or without the rest of the body) and hoping to revive it at a later date when medical science has sufficiently advanced.
Alas, to date, at least with humans, this method isn't all that crash hot, er, cold.
For the here and now, once you are dead, you stay dead.
However, it would be a rash prediction to say that will always be the case.
The incentive to rise again from the dead is a pretty strong one, and if there's a way, humans won't rest until they find it.
Living in the here and now is apparently way more preferable to an afterlife in Heaven, no matter how religious or how great a believer you are! SEASON FOUR: Can We Survive the Death of the Sun? The Sun's demise won't be for billions of years yet, including several billions of years before it renders Planet Earth uninhabitable.
What on earth makes anyone thing mankind will still be around as a viable species to even worry about the death of the Sun scenario? However, if we haven't figured out a way to migrate elsewhere, beyond the solar system, to another more hospitable interstellar star system several billions of years down the track, then perhaps we don't deserve to survive.
SEASON FOUR: Are Robots the Future of Evolution? There are two ways that machines will rule the roost in the near and distant future.
The first is the ever continuing merging of biology with technology.
A common example from the past is the peg-leg or the hook-hand from pirate lore.
A recent and current common example is the use of hearing aids.
Vital organs have been replaced in part or in total with artificial replacements and that trend will continue.
In the near future nanotechnology will feature micro-robots coursing through our body's river and [blood] streams to "exterminate, exterminate, exterminate" all those nasty little biological agents that want to make a meal of us.
The ultimate of course will be the downloading of our [software] minds into hardware bodies.
That has all sorts of ramifications.
Once your mind has been downloaded into a hardware (silicon and steel) body, you can always upgrade to the next and newest model.
I see the spawning of a robotic fashion industry! The 2050 you wouldn't be caught dead inside a 2045 robotic model! The other ramification is that you can 'clone' yourself (or rather your mind) by downloading your mind as many times into as many robotic hardware forms as you wish.
Perhaps one robotic form that's designed for undersea exploration; one designed for mountain climbing; another that's small enough that it can explored the most claustrophobic of cave systems.
If your mind exists simultaneously in many different robotic bodies, then you have more than just a single self-awareness, simultaneously.
That form of 'cloning' means you can reproduce without having to dilute your 'genes' with the genes of another person.
Of course there still would have to be a sperm & egg bank to ensure population growth, if that were deemed by society desirable.
It might not be if everybody can reproduce themselves as many times as they wished.
But assuming real flesh-and-blood humans were conceived in a test-tube and raised by robots with human minds, sooner or later their time would come too to be downloaded into the robotic model(s) of their choice and cheat their biological death.
By now one might be hard pressed to think of the bioengineered and genetically engineered human, with all that tinkering that leads to this downloading of mind into machine, as still being Homo sapiens but perhaps rather as something akin to Homo robotus.
The second way is the purely artificial intelligence scenario.
In less than 200 years, seemingly out of the blue, AI has grown exponentially until we find ourselves on the cusp now of The Singularity (no direct relation to the singularity of quantum gravity) where AI will exceed human IQ and then accelerate away from us at a rapid rate of knots ever widening the gap.
Artificial intelligence however can increase artificial intelligence once artificial intelligence has been programmed with all of the engineering data it needs to do the basic "new and improved" design work.
No doubt AI will morph eventually, probably sooner rather than later, into sentient AI.
The software is artificially programmed; the silicon and steel hardware is artificially constructed to house the software.
Your PC or tablet or smart-phone is an example.
Did I mention exponential growth? Your PC of 2014 has more 'smarts' than the PCs that went with the Apollo astronauts to the Moon and your smart-phone has a 1000 times more 'smarts' or processing power than the monster vacuum tube processors that took up entire floors in buildings at major universities in 1964.
Of course crunch or number-crunching power isn't the same as intelligence.
Computer chess software programs can beat any human on the planet now in chess, but through sheer number crunching ability.
However, recall that 60's sci-fi show Star Trek where the captain and crew talked to their onboard computers.
Can you carry on a conversation WITH your smart-pone today (Note: with your smart-phone, not of necessity with a person on the other end of the phone line)? Yes you can! SEASON FOUR: Will Sex Become Extinct? If by sex one just means the physical act, then "yes", as long as there are sexually functioning humans.
That of course could also mean sex with a robotic 'life' form since an artificially intelligent robot could be constructed to whatever functional appearance was required.
Lovemaking with the male or female of your dreams who wouldn't turn over and go to sleep on you after-the-fact! So that's another distinct possibility not easily dismissed.
A robot could be programmed not only to do what another human might not be willing to do, but be able to do it longer and better.
A robotic partner could also be programmed never to have a headache, or be too pooped to puff! And the other advantage is no little bundles will eventually get delivered by the stork! I suppose there could be all manner of types of sexual liaisons between robots programmed in for the visual enjoyment of the flesh-and-blood human as well.
Sex and the sex industry could possibly be a driving force behind applications that require or are highly desirable of an artificially intelligent robot, but I digress.
If by sex one means will eggs and sperm continue to meet and greet, the answer is probably "yes".
Probably; maybe; perhaps; it depends.
As it has been, so shall it ever be the ever continuing merging of biology with technology.
A common example from the past is the peg-leg or the hook-hand from pirate lore.
A recent and current common example is the use of hearing aids.
Vital organs have been replaced in part or in total with artificial replacements and that trend will continue.
In the near future nanotechnology will feature micro-robots coursing through our body's river and [blood] streams to "exterminate, exterminate, exterminate" all those nasty little biological agents that want to make a meal of us.
The ultimate of course will be the downloading of our [software] minds into hardware bodies.
That has all sorts of ramifications.
Once your mind has been downloaded into a hardware (silicon and steel) body, you can always upgrade to the next and newest model.
I see the spawning of a robotic fashion industry! The 2050 you wouldn't be caught dead inside a 2045 robotic model! The other ramification is that you can 'clone' yourself (or rather your mind) by downloading your mind as many times into as many robotic hardware forms as you wish.
Perhaps one robotic form that's designed for undersea exploration; one designed for mountain climbing; another that's small enough that it can explored the most claustrophobic of cave systems.
If your mind exists simultaneously in many different robotic bodies, then you have more than just a single self-awareness, simultaneously.
That form of 'cloning' means you can reproduce without having to dilute your 'genes' with the genes of another person.
Of course there still would have to be a sperm & egg bank to ensure population growth, if that were deemed by society desirable.
It might not be if everybody can reproduce themselves as many times as they wished.
But assuming real flesh-and-blood humans were conceived in a test-tube and raised by robots with human minds, sooner or later their time would come too to be downloaded into the robotic model(s) of their choice and cheat their biological death.


Leave a reply