We are slowly but surely entering an age of technological singularity, in which artificial intelligence and biological enhancement are combined in order to construct the next stages of human evolution. The year 2050 seems to be the point when technological advancements will allow us to merge our biological bodies with computers.
According to futurologist Dr Ian Pearson, part of the implications of Transhumanism will make way for drastic improvements regarding our human bodies, including the possibility of becoming immortal. He argues that anyone under the age of 40 today will have a chance of uploading his/her personality online and storing it for future generations. This scenario could facilitate the shift from Homo Sapiens to Homo Optimus, a technologically enhanced being who no longer depends on its natural environment.
The next evolutionary link of Homo Optimus features improvements such as electronic gold skin and microscopic implants between skin cells, which are meant to provide a direct link with electronic devices. One can already notice how present-day technology strives to become seamless and fluidly interactive. Once we achieve the ability to transcend our bodies by connecting so closely to our technology it’s hard to imagine what sort of limits will be imposed to our species. Dr Pearson believes that all these changes won’t only be applied to human beings, but they could also make way for evolutionary shifts within other species as well. He imagines being able to enhance our pets for example, to the point where we could create infinite hybrid renditions and even communicate with them through the use of a common language.
“We will certainly technologically advance some of our pets and even wildlife too and we might create entirely new species such as real Furbies” Dr Pearson believes.
In such a description of the near future it seems that technological progress occurs at a faster pace than our ethical considerations. The predictions made by Dr Ian Pearson and other scientists/academics might be a close reality, but are we even ready for the social, economical and political implications which might arise from them?