Have you ever wondered what is going to happen within the next twenty to fifty years given the current exponential progress that science is following? Well, according to his relatively new book Radical Evolution, Joel Garreau believes that just about anything and everything science fiction has dreamt of in its most gooey fantasies will not only occur but will literally turn humans into a new species of animal. In this case, truth will be stranger than we can possibly imagine.
The book is divided into three main scenarios ranging from a veritable utopist wonderland to a nightmare that would make even H. R. Giger run screaming home to his mommy; and, of course, there is a postulate of something in between. Now before you start to say that perhaps the man has spent too much time reading the works of Philip K. Dick and is projecting his imagination into reality, I can only say that some of the stuff is already underway. Secret government research labs like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA are currently at work making super-human exoskeletons that accomplish everything Marvelâ€™s X-Men could possibly devise. They hold annual contests for scientists to come up with the most wacky inventions and award prizes to those that actually work. This is just the stuff that is made public, imagine what they will not tell us about.
Drawing from interviews of such imminent inventors as Ray Kurzweil, and Bill Joy founder of Sun Microsystems, Garreau has written an intense book. The over fifty pages of notes and sources in the bibliography are a testament to the fact that the man has done his homework. The writing is readable and just about any literate person can pick it up and dive right in. It even at some parts takes on an adventure-esque quality as he battles bizarre circumstances to gather the interviews from the reclusive geniuses such as the above-mentioned Bill Joy.
Speaking of Mr. Joy (no I did not make this up, the man actually goes by Bill Joy), it is from him that the darker scenarios of the future derive. I donâ€™t want to give too much away but in the section, which focuses on him called â€œThe Hell Scenarioâ€ there is a particularly amusing possibility put forth. Amusing that is if you found the last zombie movie to be too easy on the humans.
We have all heard of nanobots and the benefits that they could bring everything from medicine to window cleaner. Well there is an incredibly terrible possibility that once we turn the first one on it will make another of itself and continue to do so until it takes every last molecule on the planet and turns it into another nanobot. In this case, the end of the world and all life as we know it will simply become a giant ball of microscopic robots. Click . . . poof.
I donâ€™t know about you but I canâ€™t help but smile inwardly at that possibility. Perhaps that is why Garreau has called the four horsemen of this apocalypse the GRIN theories. This acronym stands for Genetics, Robotics, Information and Nanotechnology. It is these fields, which if they continue to advance as they are, and in fact increasingly advance as the bell curve of progress shows, will approach a moment called the â€œsingularityâ€. This singularity is the moment when all bets are off and we had better hold on tight.
Now this book is not just written in order to alarm you as there is a section called â€œThe Heaven Scenarioâ€ as well where hunger, disease, and quite possibly even death itself is eliminated from the human condition. This all is going to happen no matter what we think about it now if things continue the way they are going according to Garreau. It is going to happen within many of our lifetimes some things even within the next two decades. Ask yourself what someone would have said if you told them twenty-five years ago that everyone on the planet will be able to instantly communicate with every one else with a device no larger than a credit card. Can you say, â€œBeam me up Scottieâ€? I knew you could.
WORLD - CULTURE
Copyright © 2010 Charles Harmison
Blue Humans of the Future Evolve into Whatever
Copyright © 2010 Charles Harmison
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