The modern average user, spoiled by technology, sees innovations only as new toys or something to make work a bit easier. However, from a historical perspective, science and technology not only improve life, but directly shape human society, its functioning and development. This transformation process is too far gone to be stopped. What's more, it has accelerated significantly over the past 500 years, showing exponential growth. This means that in the near future science will be in a position to determine the form of not only society, but consciousness. Humankind will cross the biological barrier, the only boundary limiting its true potential. _x000B_But first a bit of history...
Millions of years of evolution gave us an excellent computing machine to successfully adapt and survive in Earth's natural habitat — and it's our brain. It became so powerful that it enabled primates to throw off the shackles of the green kingdom and literally build their own world, which is destined to be ruled by a being of a fundamentally new order. Its name is human._x000B_Humankind realized that it possesses an exceptional gift — the gift of creativity. And without further ado, it began to apply it wherever possible. Humanity's growing numbers necessitated a more effective means of communication: enter language. The group had to unite around common goals: enter myths and legends. There was a need to preserve and transfer accumulated knowledge: enter writing.
Of course, there was no doing without material wealth either. Whenever a need presented itself, the brain readily produced something new, if only to increase the chances of survival or make life easier in some way. One thing led to another: houses, cities, empires, religions, economics, art, science, dreams...
As humankind prospered, so too it spread. The more humanity expanded, the weaker grew the connection to its original living conditions and the rest of the ecosystem, the stronger the belief in its own uniqueness, and the more terrible the consequences.
Homo sapiens reached for the stars, but failed to notice what was underfoot. There was no way it could notice. The brain can maintain social connections and create technology, but is simply incapable of fully embracing the world inhabited by humankind. Put bluntly, evolution did not prepare it for such an environment. As a result, it was cursed with having the organism of a primate, but the ambitions of God.
This imbalance must be redressed before this organism of ours places itself and the entire biosphere in grave danger.
There is only one solution: take a step back. How? If one discards genocide as an option, it remains for us to grow to full awareness of the consequences of our actions. But since evolution (both biological and social) operates at its own leisurely pace, this entails straining the little grey cells and inventing something new.
Task: Urgently expand the capabilities of the human brain by combining all brains into a single global network for a more integral view of the world and improved decision-making so as to preserve and let prosper the phenomenon of earthly life.
1. Build a machine that performs complex calculations better and more accurately than a human.
2. Combine such machines into a network for rapid information exchange and retrieval.
3. Provide free and fast access to this network from anywhere in the world.
4. Create an NCI (neuro-computer interface) to increase the bandwidth between the human brain and the computer network.
5. Connect all people to the new-generation network, thus creating a new type of being: a single global collective mind.
6. Clean up after ourselves and henceforth bear responsibility for our own actions. Take care of our home planet and the life on it.
Humanity already has computers and the internet, which means the first two points can be checked off. The rest are in progress. Interestingly, the plan was implementing itself, the initial motives and goals being purely commercial or military. But at some point egoistical humanity realized that it was time to focus on the main thing: itself.
While some brains dived headfirst (quite literally) into genetics in the hope of constructing physiologically perfect organisms and even conquering death, others began to think how to hack their very own selves. After all, without real mental development, people's capabilities will always be limited.
But this limit is set to be totally erased, and very soon at that. We no longer require fingers and sensory organs to connect to the network as our biological processors are now close buddies with computer servers that expand our memory. What that's actually like is impossible to even imagine. All that can be done is wait a few more decades and feel through our own experience how the boundaries of the mind are expanding, and behold with our own eyes how society is being transformed...
Petabytes of information are now available at the speed of thought: there is no longer any need to memorize and retain knowledge in the head; the learning process has been reduced to mere information filtering. Choosing a profession is not the life-defining decision it was once, rather a matter of mood, because a person can now become an expert in anything they want in no time at all. Most importantly, communication between people now operates at a completely new level, having become far more precise and efficient. People began to understand each other much better, because thoughts can be conveyed in full and with minimal distortion. Now the individual has not one point of view, but 10 billion all at once; humanity became integrated, we are now a single organism. On the agenda is how to preserve Earth's biosphere, improve the quality of life of its species by eradicating social inequality, extend life and create new forms of it, and, of course, colonize other planets.
Sounds like science fiction? Imagine if we went back in time and showed Galileo a photo of people on the Moon, or Faraday an iPhone. Astonished, they would conclude that we were separated not by a century or three, but several millennia. The same with us. It's difficult to predict how long it will take to reach the goal, because we can't see the whole path, but at the current pace, far from being pie in the sky, the collective mind is already knocking at the door.