Future of Being Human: Transcend or (Re)naturalize
When I look at the evolution of humanity, and especially our technology, it is becoming increasingly obvious that we're departing from what used to be considered the natural and healthy way of being human. Faced with that realisation it seems that we're quickly approaching the moment of truth - either we choose to go all in towards technological transhumanism, or we go back to nature. The space between those two choices is becoming diminishingly slim.
I've always been a technology enthusiast, and as a DevOps engineer quite passionate about what I do I'm also very deeply entrenched in the digital world. I sit in front of a computer for a better part of my life, and when I finally take a break and go away for a while I sometimes wonder at how much we've isolated ourselves from nature, and most importantly, a more natural and healthier way of being.
Animals are just oblivious to what we're going through. They don't overthink the way they are and where they're going. They are pretty much "one with nature", living as nature intended. But humans? It seems that we're almost hell bent on rising above our roots and leaving it all behind.
We invent artificial intelligences, simulate natural landscapes in virtual worlds, and seek to escape the protective atmosphere and gravity of our planet into the cold and dark voids of space and towards lifeless planets like Mars.
It's like we don't really like being human anymore considering the fact that what we're pining for isn't really suitable for what nature made us be. You can't breath digital air, and you can't breath in space either. We can barely even keep our physical fitness by glueing ourselves to a screen or floating up in space.
Something's gotta give. If we continue going in this direction it seems inevitable that we'll need to adjust our own nature in order to survive, let alone thrive in a place we're rushing towards.
If we don't do that, I think we're gonna be in for a rude awakening, if we aren't already beginning to feel it.
If we don't stop technological evolution we better accept it and go all in with it, because there's no such thing as stopping it a little, or even slowing down. The momentum is so enormous, and the underlying psychologies and innate curiosity so powerful, that nothing short of a planet wide refusal to go any further will really prevent the current trajectory. It's only a matter of time.
So if we want to reconsider and change course, it really is an all or nothing proposition. Either give it up, stagnate or scale down completely, and learn to live with nature, in real natural landscapes, hanging out with our animal friends, a little bit like indians or the amish, or look towards human augmentation and transhumanism.
Long story short - I think becoming transhuman is inevitable and even necessary if the "natural" path isn't the choice we're gonna make. I also think this process of transformation is already well underway. Everything from vaccines to smartphones that are glued to our hands for so much of the day are basically augmentations of being human whereas we basically compensate for what we're missing after we left the raw natural environments.
Some say that natural living already vaccinates us from many diseases we synthesize vaccines from. Well, of course, they're just as right as the fact that those who leave the planet need to live in an oxygenated box in order to survive.
And there's nothing bad about becoming transhuman, replacing elements of previous life sustaining environments with invented supplicants. It's just something to be aware of, the fact that we've already been doing just that for a while, and that if we continue to do this we need to do it right.
Becoming transhuman isn't necessarily becoming enemies of nature either; that would be a false dichotomy. We're simply becoming something different, like a different specie, with the powers that can be used for both preservation of where we came from, or their systematic destruction and transformation. We may still need them in various ways, besides the fact that we're still at least emotionally or morally fond of them.
There's the right way of being transhuman, and dare I say even the natural way. The real problem is in trying to be something in between. That's where the friction is hurting us, where we're feeling unhealthy and disconnected. If we want to be healthy as what we are we need to cut back on tech. If we don't want to cut back on tech, then we need to keep up with it and transform into new versions of ourselves whom wont find the new technological environments into which we're embedding ourselves "unhealthy", but just the opposite.
Cue in continued medical breakthroughs, like better vaccines, medical nanobots, growing our own organs, genomics, AI doctors, Neuralink and so on.
It's a big topic, but the gist is there. And sans some kind of an apocalyptic event that brings us way back, I think the choice is already pretty clear.