Ray Kurzweil an acclaimed author, inventor, computer scientist, futurist, and director of engineering at Google has made many futurist claims, of which an average 86% have come true.
Recently at the 2017 SXSW Ray predicted “By 2029, computers will have human-level intelligence,”
“2029 is the consistent date I have predicted for when an AI will pass a valid Turing test and therefore achieve human levels of intelligence.”
Ray further went on to claim that we will be able to copy human consciousness onto an electronic medium.
As Inverse puts it, “That means no more flesh, blood, or bones — just a scan of your brain on a machine — and [it] will enable humans to take any form, from a box to a bird.” The even bigger implication of this ability is that humans will no longer die. As our brains will no longer be reliant on fragile biology, we could (theoretically) live forever.
While I was digesting this prediction, I dug up another interesting one, Life expectancy is increasing in the developed world.
But Cambridge University geneticist Aubrey de Grey believes it will soon extend dramatically to 1,000 years. He further goes onto say “I think the first person to live to 1,000 might be 60 already.”
“Wow…so if transferring your consciousness to the cloud was not enough, we may even possibly live for thousands of years by stopping all signs of ageing :)”
So lets think about these predictions for a moment….
These predictions have been made by experts & 2030 or 2045 is not very far away. Just a few more years and we could be living forever. Is this possible? I won’t get into the debate of whether this is possible, whether this is ethical etc.. that is best left to the experts to decipher and debate.
Let’s just assume for a moment that this does become a reality. We could live for a 1000 years and then transfer our brains into a hard drive and live on forever. Now if that were to be true, what does it mean for our lives as we know of right now?
We would have a species called as Human Beings and an additional species called Digital Beings or ex-Human Beings.
I will try to open a can of worms and you could spill some more beans in the comment thread below 🙂
Life Insurance Companies:
I had to put these guys up first as when we think of Life, something at the back of my mind says Insurance. Life Insurance companies would be the most impacted as people wont feel the need of an insurance policy. They might end up selling only accidental death policies, just incase if you met with an accident and did not have enough time to transfer the files from your head to a pen drive.
ex-Human Beings would be a lovely addition to the existing AI technology and help bridge the gap further.
Humanoids such as Sophia in the present world are defined as something that has an appearance resembling a human without actually being one. Now back to 2030, humanoids could be powered by an ex-Human Being. So we will need a small update on the Wikipedia definition.
Space travel / habitation:
Since humans would live so long and still be portable into a computer, space travel would become economical and we could end up living and visiting distant planets.
Well this industry could take a big hit because no one is dying for a few thousand years. So if you are in the trade, you must have a Post 2030 Plan B.
Elections & Politics:
This will be interesting. Will we give ex-human beings the right to vote? Well if we don’t do that, could they possibly hack into the elections results and declare a trumpeting winner (If humans can do this, I am sure ex-humans will be interested too)
In an average life span of 70 years, we take up 2-3 travels / holidays a year, this means, you might end up travelling to 50 odd destinations in your life assuming that you also visit the same place twice or thrice (Yeah, some people on Instagram are on holiday forever). This is a completely made up statistic, so don’t bother with its accuracy. Now if you could live for a 1000 years, this would mean that you might end up seeing 400-500 destinations over a life time as a human and another few hundred as a Humanoid.
Wars & Terrorism:
This could be eradicated completely as we could probably fix the broken circuits which give rise to such insanity.
Life at Home:
Marriages will last for eternity. You could be married for hundreds of years and end up producing enough children that could run a country.
Life at Work:
This will be tricky, whom do you hire? Someone with 10 years experience or 100 years experience? A human or a Digital Being? Eventually we will have Being Diversity groups at work and organizations will be trying to maintain balance somehow. We might not need a real life customer service team as all complaints could be managed by Digital Beings with total empathy. Infact Digital Beings will also be customers in some form. Humanoids will need batteries and servicing of body parts. Imagine the fun you will have while catering to an serving a humanoid.
Scary as hell and on the other hand extremely intriguing too. If these predictions do come true, we are going to witness the biggest digital evolution in the history of human beings. Fingers crossed 🙂
Get ready to evolve from Human Beings to Digital Beings
Do share your thoughts and comments on the topic. Will be exciting to know what else you think would change? Lets try and avoid the moral & ethical discussion because that will happen on news channels & parliaments around the world anyways.