reply to post by flyingfish
This will become our next step in our evolution.
Inaccurate. Directed technological evolution will exist alongside traditional biological evolution. The two will augment each other. The process that
causes errors in the transcription of our DNA will not cease once we control it. We'll merely have an advantage of a fundamental understanding of the
code which creates us - and will be able to remove deleterious mutations before development as well as recognize novel new mutations which may be
synthesized for transmission across populations far faster than it can through the traditional system of reproduction.
This is important to anyone who thinks it will be a "Humans vs. Machines" struggle in the future - we are machines. We have an emergent and
self-organized source code and software developed by millions of years of what is essentially trial and error. By understanding our biological
machine, we can take an active hand in it's future development. The term "Human" as most people currently understand it will be inapplicable and
meaningless. "Human" will have to be redefined. By the time a strong AI scenario is in place, we'll already be well on our way to this goal.
Coupled with computerization and augmentation, the human race as we know it now will cease to exist outside of small pockets of cultural or religious
objection to modification. The neo-amish, or neo-luddites... they will never truly fight against the machines, they will be ignored, left alone to
their own communities and development - provided they don't turn violent. Nobody is going to try to suppress them or subjugate them - but they might
feel that way considering that society and the world will keep turning and advancing irregardless of them.
And 1,000 year life spans...or more...will allow all of us who survive the birth pangs to see it all transpire.
I've heard a lot of genomics researchers give the advice to stay healthy for the next 30 years. If you can make it the next 30, you can make it the
next 300. If you can make it to 300, you can make it indefinite. Life and Death will be as long or short as you so choose, barring accidents or
disasters. If we can build a network that can emulate the brain, and build it on a massive scale, the age old dream of space exploration will become
the fulfillment of a dream - not a necessity to overcome the problems of a practically immortal population. When you can sustain entire nations of
people's consciousnesses within a network - free of all resource needs save what is necessary to keep the infrastructure growing - and each of those
consciousnesses can build their own unique habitats and spaces in the virtual world... we'll be creating an entirely new galaxy to explore and
discover within our galaxy.
What is it Motoko said? The net truly is vast and infinite.
To deviate a moment into the realm of alien abductions. I don't believe Whitley Striber's claims of abduction, but I find his tales entertaining. I
have listened to a book on tape of his titled "Transformation" (I think), which was a sequel of sorts to his novel Communion. In it, he mentions
something rather similar to what I'm talking about. He mentioned that "The Greys" have no fear of death as we do. They took him to a room of bodies
on shelves or something and explained that the physical body is just a shell to them which they can enter and leave at will, that does not destroy
their consciousness when it breaks down. Streiber phrased it in all very spiritual and pseudo-religious terms - yet the concept is strikingly similar
to what technology may provide us. A population of minds existing within a network which remotely controls physical bodies for the manipulation of
matter in real-space. Pure science fiction of course, but perhaps not for long. We're already able to successfully emulate portions of the brain as
well as use brain pattern activity to control the movements of robots via BCIs.
One of the interesting things is after first one is perfected, all the rest will be clones of first.
I find that doubtful if only because it's so readily apparent that the reason why life has been so successful on this planet is through it's
diversification. I hate to quote fiction to make a point, but I agree with the assessment of 2501 from GitS.
A copy is merely a copy. There's the possibility a single virus could utterly destroy me. A mere copy doesn't offer variety or individuality. To
exist, to reach equilibrium, life seeks to multiply and vary constantly, at times giving up its life. Cells continue the process of death and
regeneration. Being constantly reborn as they age. And when it comes time to die, all the data it possesses is lost leaving behind only its genes and
its offspring. All defense against catastrophic failure of an inflexible system.
The quote is exemplified not only by the tenacity of life to adapt and thrive we observe in the biosphere in light of catastrophes that mark mass
extinctions we find in the fossil record - but the internet itself is an example of this concept. The internet is the only machine that humanity has
built which hasn't broken down since it was turned on. Why? Even though most of the internet runs on extremely similar hardware and software,
variations in it's software composition (Windows, Apple, Unix, Linux, BSD, Novell, and all the different versions of Server OS's thereof) as well as
the magnitude of various hardware configurations in conjunction with it's distribution and inherent redundancy virtually guarantees that the internet
will continue to stay functional in at some capacity because this redundancy and variation insulates it from the weaknesses of a shared vulnerability
uniform across the network that you'd get with clone machines running the exact same software on the exact same hardware.
Or, to quote the movie again:
It's simple: Overspecialize, and you breed in weakness. It's slow death.