Thursday, 30 September 2010

The evolving gearwheel

The world we live in is filled with technological marvels, a plenty of which we couldn't even conceptualize had we not witnessed them already. This world is a new world, having existed barely for a hundred years, during which the massive scientific development led us to leave behind our old lifestyle and proceed on to the era where the machine tells the man what to do. But this age isn't where the development ends by no means, we will keep on producing more marvels of science and see where they take us as a species. An educated guess would be that we're living in the last century where the man can still be described as an entirely biological being.

Attempting to guess precise things about what the future will bring us is futile and would eventually bring us the same ridicule as the estimates of how humans would, by the 21th. century, eat pills and drive flying cars. Therefore it is best to keep at vague guessing for through it we can tell the general direction of development relatively well. Some would go as far as to say this is all but stating the obvious, a statement which I'm partially inclined to agree with.

So, what can we expect to happen in the future? Machines. Mechanization has been a continuous trend in the history of man. The more we can have something else than a man do, the more time we have to indulge ourselves in whatever we please. The problem we still have to live with, however, is that the machines are incapable of doing everything we'd like them to do. But all this is slowly changing as the time goes by and the advances in machine automation and engineering allow for much greater independency. Life will get easier and the machines will get smarter. What could go wrong?

I'm sure everyone that has digested their Terminator-series can see dozens of different problems with the growing machine involvment in our lives, but personally I wouldn't worry about that. What I'd rather worry about is the affect the increased free time will have on our culture and psyche. Assuming we keep our consumeristic attitudes and keep on minmaxing our efficiency, we might come to a point where we develop an urge to constantly immerse ourselves in some kind of entertainment, just to keep the thought of boredom out of our minds. That's the flaw with us humans, we want to feel good. I fear the dystopian depicment of transhumanism where we've become but bodies linked to a great video feed while being pumped full of euphoric stimulants may be closer to the reality than we might think. I just can't see us getting over our craving for pleasure and entertainment, the things that will lead us to our death as thinking species.