Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.

Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:

Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view

whats new at ieet

Robert Reich on Basic Income

How the Universe Could Annihilate Itself at the Speed of Light

Le syndrome 1984 ou Gattaca

How we can start winning the war against cancer

What you need to know about CRISPR

Brain Implant Allows Paralyzed Man to Feel Objects With a Prosthetic Limb

ieet books

Philosophical Ethics: Theory and Practice
John G Messerly


almostvoid on 'How the Universe Could Annihilate Itself at the Speed of Light' (Oct 26, 2016)

mjgeddes on 'Can we build AI without losing control over it?' (Oct 25, 2016)

rms on 'Can we build AI without losing control over it?' (Oct 24, 2016)

spud100 on 'For the unexpected innovations, look where you'd rather not' (Oct 22, 2016)

spud100 on 'Have you ever inspired the greatest villain in history? I did, apparently' (Oct 22, 2016)

RJP8915 on 'Brexit for Transhumanists: A Parable for Getting What You Wish For' (Oct 21, 2016)

instamatic on 'What democracy’s future shouldn’t be' (Oct 20, 2016)

Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List


Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month

Blockchain Fintech: Programmable Risk and Securities as a Service
Oct 22, 2016
(4426) Hits
(0) Comments

IEET Fellow Stefan Sorgner to discuss most recent monograph with theologian Prof. Friedrich Graf
Oct 3, 2016
(4237) Hits
(0) Comments

Space Exploration, Alien Life, and the Future of Humanity
Oct 4, 2016
(4082) Hits
(1) Comments

All the Incredible Things We Learned From Our First Trip to a Comet
Oct 6, 2016
(3100) Hits
(0) Comments

IEET > Life > Vision > Contributors > Jonathan Dotse

Print Email permalink (1) Comments (5121) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg

Children of the Sun

Jonathan Dotse
By Jonathan Dotse
Ethical Technology

Posted: Feb 9, 2013

As the dawn of 2013 marks the beginning of another revolution of our planet around the sun, let us draw our attention beyond the sphere of everyday life – beyond individual concerns, national issues, and even global concerns – towards the cosmic scale of affairs. Take this moment to consider the place of humanity in the grand scheme of the universe.

The entire span of life on Earth is but a flicker of light in a sea of eternal darkness whose beginning or end we can barely begin to conceive. We are children of Sol, the main-sequence star which burns at the center of our solar system; having formed from collapsing clouds of interstellar dust more than ten billion years ago. Almost all life on Earth, including ours, is directly or indirectly fueled by the energy our sun has continuously radiated for the past four and a half billion years. Since the emergence of the first organic life forms on Earth nearly four billion years ago, life has relentlessly grown in complexity at an exponential pace – slowly at first, getting faster and faster over time – populating every corner of the Earth with a vast array of diverse species from which humanity has emerged to dominate the planet.

And just as the evolution of life on Earth, human technology has followed a pattern of exponential growth over time. The more technology we develop, the greater capacity we have to produce even more powerful technology, creating a cycle of steadily increasing innovation which will continue to feed back into the technosphere indefinitely. The relentless wave of innovation which is radically transforming life in these times is proof enough that human technology is now driving change much faster than any other force on Earth. This process of exponential technological growth is best modeled by the theory of technological singularity, a term coined by mathematician John von Neumann and popularized by science fiction writer Vernor Vinge.

This theory borrows from the concept of a singularity in physics which describes the theoretical region in space-time beyond the event horizon at the epicenter of a black hole, where the Standard Model of physics appears to break down completely. Similarly, the technological singularity represents a point in our near future when the emergence of smarter-than-human beings will trigger an explosion of intelligence that will render useless our ability to predict any further advances in technology.

The undeniable truth of our times is that the accelerating pace of technological progress is rapidly driving us towards the threshold of the next stage of human evolution. If the singularity model is correct, which is the position of a growing number of futurist thinkers, most notably Ray Kurzweil, we are almost certainly on the verge of crossing the theoretical event horizon into a technological singularity. Over the coming decades, we will witness the seamless integration of human and machine intelligence into something completely different; superior to either in almost every way possible – in ways we cannot even begin to imagine.

By the end of this century, humanity will have  been transformed far in excess of the sum total of changes we have accumulated from the dawn of civilization until now. Over the next few centuries, our descendants will increasingly build on our technological foundation and enhance their biology until they become completely unrecognizable to us – vastly superior in form and intellect.

The fact that they evolved from us may someday seem as incredible to them as our own evolution from apes now seems to many of us. A thousand years from now, human civilization will have achieved heights utterly unimaginable to anyone living today. Ten thousand years from now, Earth will most likely be the epicenter of a Type II civilization whose borders extend well beyond the boundaries of this solar system. A hundred thousand years from now, our descendants will be voyaging across the stars into distant galaxies, extending the influence of the human empire into the farthest reaches of outer space.

An interesting thing to note is that beginning from this generation the personal histories of unprecedented numbers of people will be permanently recorded into the pages of history. Data storage technology increasingly allows us to capture and store incredibly vast quantities of information, including the minutiae of our everyday lives; essentially allowing us to build an extensive record of our lives in these times.

Our photos, videos, emails, private messages, Facebook posts, and tweets may ultimately end up being archived and preserved by future generations of humans for as long as our civilization continues to persist, which may well be several thousands, millions, or even billions of years to come. Life before the digital age by comparison will seem like a black hole in history. We will forever be remembered as the first generation of humans to step into the light of history.

Each and every one of us alive today carries an enormous responsibility to shape the ultimate destiny of humanity. Every  choice we make generates ripples of causality that will impact future generations for eons in time and light-years space. Now is the time for us to lay the foundations from which may rise the greatest empire in the history of the universe. The next time you look up at the stars in the night sky, take a few moments to consider that children of Sol may someday look back down at this planet from the orbit of a distant star.

They will tell stories about the planet of their origin; stories of the first homo sapiens to dominate the plains of Africa; of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome; the Inquisitions, Renaissance, and Enlightenment; the slave trade and world wars; the golden age of London, Paris, and New York. But most of all, they will remember us -- the ones who took the first steps into the light -- and they will carry our memories to the ends of the universe. Keep this in mind as you take your place in history.

Jonathan Dotse is an IT student, blogger, and science fiction writer based in Accra, Ghana. He discusses the future of African science fiction on his blog at
Print Email permalink (1) Comments (5122) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Nice article, Jonathan.

While I certainly agree with the spirit of your essay- that we need to think long-term about the human future and take steps towards it (I think NASA’s Kepler mission to find habitable planets and our slow but steady moves in exploring the solar system are worthy investments in this direction) I am a little leery about us becoming over eager about things that are in all likely hood farther afield in terms of the human future and in the process failing to take our massive current problems- environmental degradation, the decline in agricultural production, inequality, demographic change, and the threat of global pandemics- to name just a few, which threaten what will likely be some time to come an exclusively earth bound existence. 

I am especially skeptical about your statement:

“By the end of this century, humanity will have been transformed far in excess of the sum total of changes we have accumulated from the dawn of civilization until now.”

I see no real empirical evidence for this. The technological difference between 2000 and 2013 is large, but can’t really be considered qualitative. Almost everything, technologically speaking, that was around me in 2000 is basically the same now.
I’ve just added a smarter phone, a tablet, and a car with slightly more gas mileage.

I am excited about most of the technological changes on the horizon, but doubt that the world in which I was born (in the 1970s) will be as different for me should I reach the age of 90 than the world in which my grandmother was born (in 1913) before jet planes, rockets, space flight, television, computers is different from the world she lives in now at 90.

Change is more gradual than many who embrace the Singularity realize and that is a good thing, for it is the only pace which human societies can absorb. 


YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Cyborg Possibilities – The Arms and Legs (Part Three)

Previous entry: The Power of Science Narrative to Teach, Excite, and Inspire Action


RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

East Coast Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @     phone: 860-428-1837

West Coast Contact: Managing Director, Hank Pellissier
425 Moraga Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611
Email: hank @