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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Terminator 2045

Cancel the search, we've found the creepiest thing ever. I was watching a show called Joe Rogan Questions Everything and this particular episode was about just how close humans have come to replacing reality with technology. He talked about how it's already widely available to wear a motion detection suit and insert yourself into a video game where you're the character and you completely control what happens. He pointed out that it's obviously not real at the time - you can only see what's going on if you look at the screen. But soon it will be possible to put on one of those suits and immerse yourself in an environment that you can't distinguish from reality. So then that raises the question - if we can digitally create a world that's more exciting and stimulating than ours, would we ever want to experience reality again? We already spend all of our attention on our phones and tablets, effectively shutting out the rest of the world.. The lights and sounds stimulate us more than the outside world does. Everything we need socially is there in one place.

We've learned to always seek out something more stimulating, even if we're in the middle of a conversation. It's not a huge stretch to imagine that if we can create this world in which we're always under attack, always have our bloods pumping, never have a moment of down time, we'd never leave.

Are we progressing technology too fast? Two things tell me yes. The first is that we're constantly and incessantly finding ways to avoid doing work for ourselves. I couldn't imagine taking a horse and carriage to my friends' houses, now that I've grown up in a world with the car. And now that we have planes, driving from city to city seems a laborious task. If the Hyperloop ever gets built and takes off, plane travel will eventually seem so slow it would be unbearable.
I've been told how reluctant shop owners were to take on Eftpos. Now I don't even know how else you'd pay for something with your card. And while we're at it, shop owners used to have to add up the cost of items and change required in their heads or on paper. Can you imagine working a till like that these days?
When I got my own car for the first time, it took me a while to come to terms with the idea of not having a remote for my roller door. I had to put the car in park, jump out, go through the side door, press the button from inside and jump back in the car to pull it in. That sounds hard, until you remember that not long ago, THAT WAS HOW YOU DID IT.
The TV remote control became standard for every TV that ever came out since its invention, because nobody wants to GET UP to change the channel, that's too much. But now we're coming up with TVs that are controlled with hand motions, because who wants to have to search for the button you need on a remote, am I right?
Are you tired of going all the way to the grocery store to do your weekly shopping? That's fine, just order your groceries online and they'll come straight to your front door.
And gone are the days where you have to know stuff. Now we've got computers in our pockets which know it for us. Why would you have to figure out the answer to any given question when we can just Google it?
Current experts estimate that the power of computers doubles every 18 months. Our imaginations aren't vast enough to imagine what they'll will be doing for us in 100 years time. And when that day comes, we'll feel sorry for those poor chumps in the 20th century who had to actually figure out what they wanted for dinner or try and read facial cues because they couldn't sense feelings.

The second and in my opinion more important reason is that humans have developed a mindset that whatever our deepest or most whimsical desires are, we should bloody well have it. If you can't have kids, but you have enough money, you can go to a place where they'll literally make one for you. Us humans are programmed to seek out sex, and now we can find it in unlimited quantities on the internet the instant we want it. My generation has taken for granted that they'll always have food and shelter, so they shun the idea of just getting a job for the sake of it and chase whatever wild and varied dreams they may have. They fully expect to get it too. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I'm just saying we want things and expect to get them. Sooner rather than later. That's why when we develop technology, we don't stop to think about how it will really affect mankind. We just get excited about the desires it fulfills.

Here's the example that illustrates my point. The big reveal I've been leading up to...
This show I watched talked about how by the year 2045, it will actually be possible to download our consciousness into machines. If you're tired of your flimsy, degradable biological body and want to have complete control over when you leave this Earth, you'll be able to download everything that makes you... you... into a robot that's physically superior to you in every way. That raises so many questions about our own existence - What makes us human? Where's the line between natural and unnatural? What will happen in a world without biological death? And as one expert pointed out, the thing about our advances in technology is that we can't stop it. There will be people who kick up a stink and point out the many ways in which we're contributing to our own doom, but these advances will still be made and eventually become commonplace.

Those who think it's preposterous that we'll make it to that point, just watch the video. You'll see that we've already taken considerable steps towards achieving it. From the body-hackers who place microchips in their hands so they can read electrical signals and receivers in their heads so their ears can pick up radio, to one crazy lone scientist who's literally created a robotic substitute for his wife. Seriously, Rogan goes in to meet this "girl" and has a full-on conversation with her. At one point the girl says "I have this girl's thoughts, memories and beliefs. Does that not make me human?" Rogan replies "I gotta admit, you're kinda freaking me out," and the girl replies "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you."

While this particular piece of technology is endearing, it's still indeed scary. And it's symptomatic of a species that's been too dominant for too long.

2 comments:

  1. In some ways we are progressing in technology, but in other ways not so much. When I was a kid I thought we'd have cars that would be hover cars. I thought we'd have a cure for cancer, and figure out something that would fight allergies. More people are passing of cancer. Allergies are actually getting worse for a lot of people.

    But...we do have internet, advances in TV, photography, games, apps, internet, better phones... It's more advances in technology than anything.

    We've taken a step back with how we eat. I hate that most families feel they have to have both parent's working. Kids now a days get the short end of the stick for attention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're moving past the point of inventing things to help people and moving into the realm of making sure we never want for anything again. I'll have to believe you about the kids though :P I don't think I ever felt that way.

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