From Man to Machine- A brief essay on how humans are transforming into machines.
Many people of the early 21st century fear mankind may create a form of super-computer that ties itself into a nexus, a network that will be enabled to “go global” and stamp out the inefficient human race. While I do agree that humans are inefficient compared to robots- from a physical and mathematical perspective – I highly doubt this is how machines will become the forefront of the future. I do think machines will eventually “take over”, but not the way most people of today believe. Instead, technological change will be so gradual that it will happen before human eyes with little to no notice. One day humans will awaken and discover that we are different than what we once were. Whether that difference is good or bad depends on the person. Regardless, this is what I believe will happen in chronological order:
1) Humans begin to demand portable devices which provide instant communication and enhancement. Communication will include wireless conversations between two or more people (this is already happening at a rapid pace). In addition, portable enhancement devices will include digital devices that take the place of analog objects which may have served the same purpose, i.e. the book is now the Nook or Kindle, the film camera is now the digital camera.
2) As humans begin to live more active lifestyles they will demand fewer and fewer objects. After all, why have a camera, a nook, a phone, an Ipod or a computer when you can have one device that provides all these functions? This will begin as an optional means of mobility and accessibility. Eventually, though, humans will be forced to use these objects due to rapid population growth, smaller living quarters and work areas. Once we have crossed this threshold there is no turning back.
3) Humans will realize that even one object is too many. Is there a way to have all these functions available without consciously, physically toting these objects to various locations? No, there is not, unless a human realizes the enormous necessity of fusing man with machine. If a human grafts an electronic interface into his or her limb(s) then they could have instant access, literally, at their fingertips. This would also minimize the amount of space previously needed to store a person’s electronic devices.
4) Simultaneously, as the third point of enhancements implanted in the body comes to fruition, the need for increased artificial limbs will become more apparent. At first these super-human, artificial limbs will be a great way to show their disabled soldiers that their military appreciates their service. These militaries will also seek to keep service members enlisted, tempting these disabled soldiers to skip early exit from service, instead remaining in service to better serve their country. As technology advances and these artificial limbs become cheaper and more durable, some soldiers and even wealthy citizens will voluntarily choose to give up one or more of their limbs in order to possess almost unlimited strength and endurance. While some soldiers may choose this option over (re)enlistment bonuses, this will also become covertly desired by sports teams much like super-modified race cars are to NASCAR. Contemporary debates such as steroids would become a faint memory when compared to athletes and other enhanced persons unbeknownst to possess an edge over average humans.
5) When both the 4th and 5th events become common place, the human race will begin to question why we don’t completely convert to a mechanical body with a built-in housing for the brain. This will come to fruition, thus allowing a human to live well past 100 years of age. With the combination of nanotechnology that flows through the bloodstream and an almost completely mechanical body, aging could almost be a thing of the past (or the present).
6) The last days of the human race will finally arrive when scientists learn to take a snap shot of the brain at the sub-atomic level, thus, allowing memories to be saved into something similar to a hard drive. Once the memories and skills are captured we could then elect to back up our memories in numerous different data caches which allow us to continue life without unwelcome aging of the brain. With robotic bodies already used to make our lives better, it would be a simple process to install a hard drive into the brain housing that contains information much like a computer. The question that remains is if we will still have a soul. But what is a soul but an emotional attachment we have attached to a person or thing?