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Threshold to Tomorrow


COURTESY OF GUEST BLOGGER: Nic East, Jim Thorpe Artist & Co-Owner of Hill Home Forge B&B www.niceastdesign.com

Thinking about what tomorrow will bring is a popular Human pastime. All our dreams, wishes and plans attempt to glean information about our shared future. We imaginatively reach foreword and try desperately to grasp tomorrow’s promise, but often fall far short to err in fantastic and even bizarre ways.

Let’s give it yet another try: while still living in caves, we Humans invented fire, art and fur coats. Later on, some enterprising persons invented the wheel and then the cart. Over succeeding centuries, we trained beasts of burden to pull the carts and watch-dogs to ease our lives and give those animals something to do rather than just being underfoot and begging for food.

From fire and lightning we created glass, which was at first opaque, but as centuries passed became gradually clearer and ever more colorful. This colorful substance eventually benefitted the churches and cathedrals and eventually artists. From clear glass, we invented skylights, windows, telescopes and microscopes. From the wheel we invented gears and the Archimedes Screw to move water uphill. From the cart we eventually created the car, the tank, the bus, amphibian and train. Later from fire, using hammers, we made copper tools, bronze-age implements and eventually learned to forge iron, steel and other, more advanced alloys.

All of these early inventions and discoveries yielded spinoffs in what ultimately became science and technology. Our living space became separate from the caves and gradually stood alone against the elements. This necessitated some sort of central heating, insulation, running water, electricity, interior toilets and ultimately the telephone, computers and Wi-Fi. We always looked up in wonder at night and so we invented rockets, which were not very efficient, (more like throwing rocks out of the stern of a boat to make it go forward) and went to the Moon and eventually took a photographic tour of our local solar system. Still, we want to visit the stars.

Now, after many other inventions from bicycles to motorcycles, from carts to trucks and from single family caves to condos, hotels, motels and time-shares, we call ourselves “civilized”. But we still can’t help looking toward our shared future and wonder what’s next. We have documented it all using our many and varied written and drawn languages.

Well, it seems that we have a long laundry list of things we want to create using our recently acquired technological expertise. Conquering disease is important and immortality is on our list of dream medical desires along with improved physical senses and greater mental capacities. We of course want to be able to re-grow missing or damaged body parts; in fact seeing in the dark and at a wider frequency like infra-red and ultra violet sensitivity would definitely be helpful. As far as technological possibilities are concerned, faster than light travel and communications would also be helpful and empowering inventions. We of course will need to conquer gravity’s effects as soon as we can. This will probably lead to a plethora of fantastic novelty in the form of inventions like sky cars and so on. Recently, we are in the midst of inventing and improving the 3D printing technology. Eventually, we can imagine many uses for its perfected models that will improve our lives and lifestyles.

All of this improvement will of course lead to an unlimited attitude of self-improvement and even greater powers physically, technologically and perhaps even socially and spiritually. Of course, we Humans being what we are, crime will grow apace since every other person seems to be either a cheater or a slacker. What we must do about that is a great conundrum to consider.

In the far future, we may experience a lot of change compared to what we have now. Labor-saving devices such as computers and robots will gradually cause the welfare state to grow and more of us will necessarily become entrepreneurial. The drive toward artificial intelligence will go on through much iteration before individuality, self-awareness and identity might be recreated in electromechanical form. I suspect that the cyborg problem is much greater than we now naively assume. I think most growth expected in the artificial intelligence arena will be found in cyborg augmentation of our Human embodiment. That is because personal identity and volition are proprietary to the Human consciousness. I only hope that Isaac Asimov’s 3 Laws of Robotics will be taken into consideration as cybernetic control mechanisms.

Who knows how far we will travel up this evolutionary ladder? Will we develop Psionically into those far-advanced dream creatures that sci-fi authors imagine? Will telepathy be our de rigueur speech in distant future time? Will we walk through walls and fly without technical help? Will we know positively and in great detail the ins and outs of our ultimates? Will we be just better thugs or will we be like angels after all?

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