If the demise of our planet is centuries away, why should any of us living today give a lab rat’s ass about these dire predictions? Perhaps the answer lies in the possibility that technology is changing our world much more rapidly than Dr. Hawking anticipates. Anti-aging technologies, amongst many other emerging and converging technologies, may result in some of us who are here today still being around for mankind’s (person-kind’s) post-earth era.
Emerging technologies are changing our lives at the speed of light. Nanotechnology, is fulfilling promises in Medicine, food production and fuel cell development. Soon this technology will be helping us clean our planet’s water and air.
Artificial intelligence will bring us “thinking machines” that can identify our needs and even empathize with us. In so doing they will be able to assist us in solving our most difficult problems.
Robotics, the science of robots, has been with us for decades and is now advancing exponentially. Robots, both tiny and huge, will travel our veins and arteries and our solar system. Doctors are using robotics to perform surgery on patients who are halfway around the world. They use similar technology to work miracles on foetuses.
Genetic engineering is enabling gene therapy that will help us fix genetic disorders and repair genetic mistakes.
The rapid increase in the availability of information that has resulted from the growth of the Internet is making it possible for peer reviews and critiques of dissertations and scientific papers that otherwise would not have been published. This means that good theories will evolve more quickly and poor theories will be more efficiently discarded.
This planet, our current world, is just the nest or birthplace of the Homo Sapien species. We are well on the way to becoming what we will be next. We are directing our own evolution into post-humans.
Our journey to the skies will be funded privately. People like Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group, and Bill & Melinda Gates with their Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are using their vast fortunes to improve human lives globally. Organizations such as SpaceX are encouraging private citizens to get involved in the future of our species.
The improvement of life on earth by philanthropists and scientists is not a separate challenge from the one being discussed herein. It is a fundamental part of the overall objective of helping us survive and thrive.
With apologies to Horace Greeley, go up young man. The future is in the sky.