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IEET > Life > Access > Health > Vision > Futurism > Technoprogressivism > Contributors > Dick Pelletier

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Humanity becomes technology


Dick Pelletier
Dick Pelletier
Ethical Technology

Posted: Jan 5, 2013

Humanity’s merge with its technology, which began shortly after the taming of fire, is still happening today. Many predict that the fine-tuning of our DNA-based biology through stem cell and genetic research will spark a powerful nanotech revolution that promises to redesign and rebuild our bodies and the environment, pushing the limits of today’s understanding of life and the world we live in.

Nanotech will change our physical world much the same way that computers have transformed our information world. Physical things such as cars and houses could follow the same path of computers, when Moore’s Law correctly predicted value-to-cost would increase by 50% every 18 months.

Existing products that are now expensive, such as photovoltaic solar cells, will become so cheap in the decades ahead, that it may one day be possible to surface roads with solar-collecting materials that would also gather energy to power cars, ending much of the world’s dependency on fossil fuels.

In addition, imagine machines that create clothing, medicine, food and most essentials, with only your voice needed to command the action. Today, such devices are not available, but by early 2030s, experts predict, a home nanofactory will provide most of your family’s needs at little or no cost.

Now bring on the most amazing impending revolution – human-level robots – with intelligence derived from us, but with redesigned bodies that exceed human capabilities. These powerful android creatures expected by 2030, will enable us to tap into their super-computer minds to increase our own intelligence. Constructed with molecular nanotech processes, they will be affordable for every family.

Finally, by mid-century, many people will complete the technology merge by replacing more of their biology with nanomaterials, creating a powerful body that can automatically repair itself when damaged. No more concerns over sickness, accidents, or unwanted death.

Evolution created humanity; humanity created technology, humanity will soon become technology. This is simply our next evolutionary step. Where this trip will take us may be beyond present day knowledge, but whatever the future holds, many people alive today can expect to experience all of its wonders.

Of course, not everyone may hold such a glowing vision of how life may unfold, but for one who has seen so many amazing changes over the past eighty two years, I think it difficult to imagine a negative outcome as we trek through what promises to be an incredible future.


Dick Pelletier is a weekly columnist who writes about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He's also appeared on various TV shows, and he blogs at Immortaltech.
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COMMENTS


Augmenting or replacing our flesh with artificial nanomaterials will not automagically eliminate concerns over sickness, accidents, or unwanted death. The circumstances for these will change, along with opening up whole new vistas for our fellow cybermonkeys to try to take our electrofood.





@SHaGGGz,

I see a more positive future unfolding. Do I view events with more optimism? Yes I do.





I appreciate the first sentence which clearly shows humanities relationship to technology as long and continuous. Still, I don’t think it goes far enough. Saying that “Humanity Becomes Technology” implies it has not happened yet, which seems to conflict with the first sentence. “Humanity Becoming Technology” could be better, but sets up an artificial dichotomy between humanity and technology, which I think is false. There is no humanity if there is no technology (of course I’m agreeing with you that fire is a technology, and I would argue so is language), and there is no human-centred technology if there is no humanity. (There is non-human technology, as in non-human animals using tools optimized for specific tasks.) It has been argued that our very biological evolution has already been shaped by our technology.

For example: We are bipedal, but in order to be bipedal we need to have narrow pelvises, if we have narrow pelvises we have to deliver infants that are not developed enough to survive on their own (can’t even hold onto their mothers like infant monkeys). We can only survive as a species if our infants survive, so we must carry and protect them. How can we do that? Invent the sling to hold our infants without interfering with gathering and moving. Thus our evolution is already strictly tied to our technology. We would not have made it this far without our technology, nor would we be the biological creatures we are today.

I don’t think the division between us and technology is tenable, we are hopelessly integrated into our technology, and perhaps we have been so for as long as we have aware of ourselves as human (or longer). I don’t think any of these discussions can really move forward without taking the unity of technology and humanity as a starting point.





@B.,

Very well said.





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