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So the point of this thread comes at a time in my life when I'm beginning to wonder where my life is going, what career I'm going to pursue, and why it matters that I get to where I want to be in the end. I find that people around me, even my closest friends, are so caught up with their daily lives that none of them really stop to think what their lives really mean and why they are doing what they're doing. They party, they drink, they go to school, they go to work, and hardly ever stop to question the entirety of it. Society tells us to go to school in order to get a good job, then to find a wife/husband and settle down, and finally to raise the next generation so we can live better lives. But for what?

Let me ask you. How often do you use a computer? Probably everyday. How often do you pedal your bike to work? Probably never; your grandpa probably did though. How many times have you waken up in the morning and wished that a robot-look-a-like of you could do your work for you? I would guess, most likely everyday. Rest assured though, unless the human race gets wiped out by an apocalypse first, machine intelligence, by way of technology, is going to outpace the capabilities of our human brain, and eventually replace it entirely. We’re so excited to see a new creation? Why? Is it so that we can become more lazy and thus become detached from our physical world? Possibly. Already, we see the existence of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives. An example would be, of course, GPS. That little lady telling us, turn-by-turn, where to go and exactly how to get there is just a sign of whats to come. Recently Google has even started prototyping cars that will drive themselves, using Google Maps as a foundation. You don't have to tell the car to stop at a stop sign, since it already knows where all the stop signs in your city are. You don't even need to tell it to merge onto a highway, since it gauges the distance between other cars, and seamlessly blends into the traffic. Very convenient, no?

Going back to the industrial revolution, we had the assembly line which reduced the labor down so that previously required skilled labor became efficiently micro-managed unskilled labor that anyone could do. The assembly line, having evolved for decades, has in more recent times, been almost completely taken over by machinery which can do the same mundane tasks that humans can, but with a lot more efficiency and with an almost non-existent margin of error. It's really quite amusing how people are complaining about how there are no jobs now, in the wake of the global recession. But really, they've seen nothing yet. Imagine our world in 50 years, when instead of another person taking your job, a machine is taking your job. No, even worse, not only does that one machine take yours, but it takes your entire family's jobs with it. Then what? Are you going to complain to the giant corporations that it's inhuman to displace human labor in the name of efficiency? Honestly they wouldn't be able to care less. Efficient is efficient. There's no way around it in the society we make for ourselves today. Have a worker that's producing slower than his coworkers? Easy, fire him, and hire a faster worker.

Everything that we see in movies today, regarding the future, is inevitable. If we can dream it, then we will eventually achieve it. So when the day comes that all manual labor is, instead, taken over by robots and machines, what will you do? Once machines are at a point where they infiltrate every part of our daily lives, what will be the use of getting out of bed in the morning? Need to take out the trash? The trash-robot already did it at 5:00AM. Need to do your laundry? No problem, already finished and folded before you even woke up. What will be the use of even thinking? For example, need to find a cure to cancer? No problem, a supercomputer is already exponentially closer to solving it than any team of humans can. Since they're so efficient and quicker at everything, we essentially become a less important version of our creations, like an outdated model of a car or laptop. So tell me, what do we exist for if we will eventually have no real skill that will be relevant? It seems like what the human race is striving for is a desire to readily give up our responsibilities to machines so that we can live in an "easier" world. This easier world eventually leaves us with only one thing left to do, and that is to play. All play, and no work. So you can imagine how that's going to turn out. We will have an ever-growing population, eating up our resources exponentially, without contributing anything back. Eventually this world is going to hit a limit, run out of resources, and thus exhaust itself. So isn't it selfish to think that we deserve to live as humans on this planet? Our legacy is going to be the machines that we created, while humans will eventually become useless masses of cells and matter. Depressing to think about, but it's inevitable. Machines will be self-sustainable and will become a race of mechanical beings, without the guidance of anyone but themselves, much like what we are today.

For the religious people (I'm not an atheist btw), you might say that the ultimate purpose of humans is to do good, and go to heaven. But in the future, machines will be able to do infinitely many more good deeds than a human can. They will be faster at it, do it without question, and expect nothing in return. So, then what is the purpose of a human doing a good deed when a machine has already finished doing it before you even thought of doing it? Also, by the time the entire world is without poverty, without hunger, and our entire world is in a technological utopia, what "good" will there be to do? There will be no "world problems" in the future that exist today.

Perhaps in another century, instead of becoming an inferior race to the machines we created, we will integrate our bodies with machines, much like cyborgs. In the future, machines will be able to give us ability enhancements like better eyesight, spine replacements, and hearts that don’t suffer attacks. Is there also a possibility that we will become so mechanized that we lose the function to react to emotion, and have computer chips guiding our thoughts in a 100% logical manner? Maybe natural human breeding and sexual intercourse will be considered "inefficient" and thus none will occur. If so, humans will no longer be humans, and the human race will cease to exist.

After posing so many questions and coming to all these seemingly distant conclusions about our future, I'm still left wondering, what is the ultimate fate of human beings? Maybe our existence is just to live and die, nothing more. We are like every other animal on this planet. Our fate is timed, and maybe we just have no real purpose. But our intelligence makes us think that we are destined for something greater than just life itself, a higher purpose, and thus there are people like me that question why we exist.

I realized that by the end of this article, I completely sound like a nutjob, no doubt about it. Sometimes I scare myself thinking about these things, but I think these possibilities are very real, and are very likely to occur in our lifetimes or our children's. So, I'd like to hear your thoughts on why you think we exist, and what you think will happen in another century or so.
 

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That was quite a bit of reading, but at least it was written well. Had it not been, I wouldn't have even bothered. lol Let me also say that I was thinking about this the entire time I read that:
Haha, but anyway. They already made a movie about this hypothesis called The Matrix. Besides, the human race is going to end up killing itself sooner or later regardless. Might as well just live our lives to the best of our ability while we can. Thinking about the future in this way is just depressing. What are we going to do? Ban computers? Ban technology altogether at some point? Will be have to retire replicants? lol
 

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That was quite a bit of reading, but at least it was written well. Had it not been, I wouldn't have even bothered. lol Let me also say that I was thinking about this the entire time I read that: YouTube - Neal Stephenson on Artificial Intelligence (1997)
Haha, but anyway. They already made a movie about this hypothesis called The Matrix. Besides, the human race is going to end up killing itself sooner or later regardless. Might as well just live our lives to the best of our ability while we can. Thinking about the future in this way is just depressing. What are we going to do? Ban computers? Ban technology altogether at some point? Will be have to retire replicants? lol
haha nice video clip..

"The solution is to find someone you love, and have sex with them.."

Great advice. I think I'm going to go do that now.

But yeah, regarding what you said, I think even if we did have a purpose or none at all, the most we can do is to just live our lives the best that we can. No population of people would ever, in their right mind, revert back to the stone age just so they can avoid the inevitable technological singularity. I still remember my first Game Boy with the purple buttons and the green LCD screen. As cool as it was back then, I seriously can't imagine giving up my Playstation 3 altogether and having only a Game Boy now. Once we get used to technology advancing so rapidly, we become addicted, and it's just so hard to stop. It's kind of like how children won't have the slightest bit of what 'ice cream' is until they try it for the first time. After that, they want ice cream for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.

However, I think that there's a slight conundrum. If everyone thought like that, then nobody would care enough to prevent us from destroying ourselves, until it's much too late. Even though we definitely have the ability as an entire planet to prevent a machine take-over, the inability for everyone to cooperate is where the problem lies. One day, I bet we'll look back and be like "oh shit". :crying:
 

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Dude - I get anxiety over that all the time! I wonder what will happen to people if we have a massive power failure. I was fortunate enough to grow up on a farm so I learned how to build a fire, find shelter and hunt. I worry about nuclear war, pandemics and massive destruction so knowing rugged survival skills gives some relief for myself but not for others. I get worried that we become so dependent on our technology that we cannot do for ourselves.
 

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Humans are self-destructive, no doubt about it!
I had to laugh over the GPS driven cars...probably end up with many more intersection accidents, because someone forgot to enter the stop sign on the system or there was a glich! Or better yet, the car went over a bridge because there was no road to turn left on! A human, or group of humans, may have forgotten to report a change on their computer. Wow, what could happen with that! A technology revolt so to speak!
Computers and technology is only as good as the people who create it and maintain it. We are of this earth and universe no matter how much humans think they are above. Intelligence? I honestly believe we are not more intelligent than other animals...heck we are an animal!
Ok, then one might say, humans create a robot, or what have you, to operate the computer etc. This is somewhat already in practice to a certain level. Use of the computer programmed to make machinery work...well some being had to enter that information for the chain reaction! There is one thing missing with the robot controlling the other technological equipment...they lack human qualities...feelings, thoughts, emotions, etc., etc., etc.
What do we as humans do with that?
I do see the points in that technology has caused many problems. To me replacing humans in the work world, is more of a matter of greed and power...two of the main forces of evil in this world.
I just can't help but believe that technology will crash before it overtakes humans completely. :wink:
Revolt against the machine...
brings to mind the Terminator movies...the newer ones mostly!
 
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So the point of this thread comes at a time in my life when I'm beginning to wonder where my life is going, what career I'm going to pursue, and why it matters that I get to where I want to be in the end. I find that people around me, even my closest friends, are so caught up with their daily lives that none of them really stop to think what their lives really mean and why they are doing what they're doing. They party, they drink, they go to school, they go to work, and hardly ever stop to question the entirety of it. Society tells us to go to school in order to get a good job, then to find a wife/husband and settle down, and finally to raise the next generation so we can live better lives. But for what?
The beginning of this sounds like an existential crisis. Nothing wrong with that. I've had a few myself. There is danger in both asking too many questions about the nature of existence and asking not enough. Balance is needed. Society may tell us what to do, but only those without their own thoughts actually translate what society TELLS us to do into how we should THINK and ACT.

Let me ask you. How often do you use a computer? Probably everyday. How often do you pedal your bike to work? Probably never; your grandpa probably did though. How many times have you waken up in the morning and wished that a robot-look-a-like of you could do your work for you? I would guess, most likely everyday. Rest assured though, unless the human race gets wiped out by an apocalypse first, machine intelligence, by way of technology, is going to outpace the capabilities of our human brain, and eventually replace it entirely. We’re so excited to see a new creation? Why? Is it so that we can become more lazy and thus become detached from our physical world? Possibly. Already, we see the existence of artificial intelligence in our everyday lives. An example would be, of course, GPS. That little lady telling us, turn-by-turn, where to go and exactly how to get there is just a sign of whats to come. Recently Google has even started prototyping cars that will drive themselves, using Google Maps as a foundation. You don't have to tell the car to stop at a stop sign, since it already knows where all the stop signs in your city are. You don't even need to tell it to merge onto a highway, since it gauges the distance between other cars, and seamlessly blends into the traffic. Very convenient, no?
See my vision of trans-humanism is slightly more upbeat. If used responsibly robotics could free up humanity from doing the jobs that prevent us from truly expressing who we are. Think of how many people who do jobs that don't reflect their natural talents, hopes, or desires. If used responsibly, higher level machines could free us from a dull existence, end the monetary system, and allow us to expand human consciousness. What most fail to comprehend is the fact that humans ARE NOT lazy intrinsically. We are made that way by our the multiple facets of our lives. If you're a 9-5 construction worker, chances are you're going to come home after a hard day of work, crack open a beer, and just vegetate for the rest of the day/night. However, what if a machine replaced that? What if that tired, drained man could instead spend more time with his family, create a work of art, or read a book? However, it all comes down to humanity: What we decide to do with our future generations, how we raise them, and how we teach them to use technology. If we teach them to respect healthy amounts of work and growth (both individually and within the society as a whole) then there won't be a problem. However, if we continue to worship the individual, the celebrity, and high priced material objects then we are doomed. Because that's what the age of trans-humanism will do, it will make all of those things (celebrity, individual power, and material objects) obsolete.

Going back to the industrial revolution, we had the assembly line which reduced the labor down so that previously required skilled labor became efficiently micro-managed unskilled labor that anyone could do. The assembly line, having evolved for decades, has in more recent times, been almost completely taken over by machinery which can do the same mundane tasks that humans can, but with a lot more efficiency and with an almost non-existent margin of error. It's really quite amusing how people are complaining about how there are no jobs now, in the wake of the global recession. But really, they've seen nothing yet. Imagine our world in 50 years, when instead of another person taking your job, a machine is taking your job. No, even worse, not only does that one machine take yours, but it takes your entire family's jobs with it. Then what? Are you going to complain to the giant corporations that it's inhuman to displace human labor in the name of efficiency? Honestly they wouldn't be able to care less. Efficient is efficient. There's no way around it in the society we make for ourselves today. Have a worker that's producing slower than his coworkers? Easy, fire him, and hire a faster worker.
What I see happening is the majority of human jobs being out-phased with machines, but this will cause an economic revolution in which (I believe) humanity will decide to put said machinery to use for the good of all. I say this because if everyone is replaced by a machine in the workforce, who does that leave? Hardly any human. Therefore, with all of us being on the same economic level (because we are poor now because we cannot work) we will revolt against the old system (Capitalism) and replace it with a system that benefits not the individual but the whole. Higher level robotics has the capability to do what no social system has ever done before: level the playing field for ALL human beings. If everyone has access to the basic resources of life because we have chosen to have robotics make money obsolete and resources both plentiful and accessible for ALL man, then everyone has an equal opportunity. However, it all comes down to man (as it always has). Do we choose to maintain the old system with the growing capabilities of technology or do we put those growing capabilities to use for ALL man-kind? Technology isn't to be feared. Man is.

Everything that we see in movies today, regarding the future, is inevitable. If we can dream it, then we will eventually achieve it. So when the day comes that all manual labor is, instead, taken over by robots and machines, what will you do? Once machines are at a point where they infiltrate every part of our daily lives, what will be the use of getting out of bed in the morning? Need to take out the trash? The trash-robot already did it at 5:00AM. Need to do your laundry? No problem, already finished and folded before you even woke up. What will be the use of even thinking? For example, need to find a cure to cancer? No problem, a supercomputer is already exponentially closer to solving it than any team of humans can. Since they're so efficient and quicker at everything, we essentially become a less important version of our creations, like an outdated model of a car or laptop. So tell me, what do we exist for if we will eventually have no real skill that will be relevant? It seems like what the human race is striving for is a desire to readily give up our responsibilities to machines so that we can live in an "easier" world. This easier world eventually leaves us with only one thing left to do, and that is to play. All play, and no work. So you can imagine how that's going to turn out. We will have an ever-growing population, eating up our resources exponentially, without contributing anything back. Eventually this world is going to hit a limit, run out of resources, and thus exhaust itself. So isn't it selfish to think that we deserve to live as humans on this planet? Our legacy is going to be the machines that we created, while humans will eventually become useless masses of cells and matter. Depressing to think about, but it's inevitable. Machines will be self-sustainable and will become a race of mechanical beings, without the guidance of anyone but themselves, much like what we are today.
Good points. However, who told the machine to find the cure for cancer? We did. Humans did. What would be the point of getting up in the morning? As always WE HUMANS would have to define that. We define that now. However, in the age of the machine we would have MANY MORE reasons to get up each day, we would just have more freedom to define that on a personal level. Eventually, we might just have to work to keep ourselves busy. Maybe a machine could do whatever we are doing much better, but we all live in a life, currently, in which another human can do whatever we do to a greater degree.

When it comes to the issue of power and resources, there are many resources (wind, water, geothermal to name a few) that are limitless. With machines we could improve the reach and effectiveness of these safe sources of energy so that everyone could have a share.

If machines come to self-awareness, then humanity has the capability to teach it. Machines will still need us for guidance to understand the nuances of life. Maybe they will eventually understand these subtleties and not need us, but by then, hopefully, we've taught them correctly. However, the media has made many people fear machines (The Matrix, Terminator, etc.). While I am a Sci-Fi enthusiast and love those movies, I disagree with them. Machines could be our friends and allies, just the same way they could be our enemies. Who knows? One day biological beings and technology could be so integrated that there is no difference. Again, HUMANS will choose. Do we create monsters or friends?

For the religious people (I'm not an atheist btw), you might say that the ultimate purpose of humans is to do good, and go to heaven. But in the future, machines will be able to do infinitely many more good deeds than a human can. They will be faster at it, do it without question, and expect nothing in return. So, then what is the purpose of a human doing a good deed when a machine has already finished doing it before you even thought of doing it? Also, by the time the entire world is without poverty, without hunger, and our entire world is in a technological utopia, what "good" will there be to do? There will be no "world problems" in the future that exist today.
The human "good" will be self-expression. Just as it always has. Perhaps one day machines will understand what moves the human heart and psyche, but I do not believe this to be entirely true. Maybe one day a machine will write the best novel, but I do not believe this to be true. If machines are to be our legacy as human beings, why not teach our children (robots) to understand and respect life, to love, etc.? So what that they may surpass us? Maybe humans become robots, through transference of consciousness. Either way, it is, again, humans who will choose the path. I am not scared of the death of humanity. I am scared that we migt might unleash unfeeling, merciless, war machines on the universe and have THAT be our legacy.

Perhaps in another century, instead of becoming an inferior race to the machines we created, we will integrate our bodies with machines, much like cyborgs. In the future, machines will be able to give us ability enhancements like better eyesight, spine replacements, and hearts that don’t suffer attacks. Is there also a possibility that we will become so mechanized that we lose the function to react to emotion, and have computer chips guiding our thoughts in a 100% logical manner? Maybe natural human breeding and sexual intercourse will be considered "inefficient" and thus none will occur. If so, humans will no longer be humans, and the human race will cease to exist.
My mantra seems to be human choice, so again I say: It's humanity's choice. Emotions are nothing more than complex neuro-chemical reactions on a hormonal level. I think, with technology, this will eventually be isolated and replicable. I believe in the integration of machine and man, but at what point do we cease to be human? Theoretically you might say a person with a pace-maker isn't human. So where does that point lie? Take that question even further: What is it to be human? Beyond the genetic makeup, what is a human?

After posing so many questions and coming to all these seemingly distant conclusions about our future, I'm still left wondering, what is the ultimate fate of human beings? Maybe our existence is just to live and die, nothing more. We are like every other animal on this planet. Our fate is timed, and maybe we just have no real purpose. But our intelligence makes us think that we are destined for something greater than just life itself, a higher purpose, and thus there are people like me that question why we exist.
Our ultimate fate is to choose our fate, and keep choosing, and choosing until either we've pigeon-holed ourselves into one way of living, OR we've unlocked so many potentials for human expansion that humanity never really dies out.

I realized that by the end of this article, I completely sound like a nutjob, no doubt about it. Sometimes I scare myself thinking about these things, but I think these possibilities are very real, and are very likely to occur in our lifetimes or our children's. So, I'd like to hear your thoughts on why you think we exist, and what you think will happen in another century or so.
I think these are pertinent questions. Good questions. I used to scare myself as well, until I chose to try to see a brighter future that was contrary to my own thoughts and the thoughts of the movies and media.
 

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Nice thread. I've thought about this situation as well. More and more company are using super software to automate everything and production lines that requires next to no human interaction. I mean literally everything is included in that shift. Being a regular desk job that is now done by a program, the transmission of information that was once done manually or anything that involves the transformation of physical inputs.

I get a sense as well that we are entering a phase of humanity where job will be more scarce by the day. Over the past few decade manual job have shifted to a large degree to services and the analysis of growing amount of information that we are able to produce. I think people will have to be able to have either be a specialist in a very particular field (a niche job), someone with a global vision that will be able to keep an overlook on all of these change (global vision/mastermind) or a person with a large degree of creativity while machines are not yet able to find creative solution to all of our problems.

I'm not really sure how it will end up. We are able to foresee/predict a global change a few years ahead in some case and that's the way I see this one. But I really dont know how it will be in 50-100 years time or more. Will we really be put to rest by the impressive capability of machines like MusicalMonsta says? Or will Mind Marauder's vision of the ideal human society prevail? I cannot really tell.

On one hand you get a feeling that some people always want to turn things to their advantage and will want to enslaved machines for their own good. Leaving mass of people with no other choice than to go back to a sort of survival mode (solar panel on their roof top, with their own food production) out of the new economic circuit. They could still live a pretty decent life in some case using cooperative to organize work and deliver various services with profit out of the equation, barter or whatever model of exchange and social organization we have at hand.

On other hand, it would definitely make sense to use machines to leverage the global living conditions of the human race. Making it easier for everyone one to have access to a better life. A life or creative time spending and global humanity awareness. We could also add in this case resource management to the equation to have a more sustainable, more natural way of living on this planet.

The question I see with these two scenarios is essentially a question of social class. Will we accept the form a unique social class as human being and put technology to the good of all? Or will we keep or social cleavage and keep pursuing that quest for power and economical mean at the expense of general happiness?
 

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OK, time for entering provocative mode (*puts on safety helmet and looks for safe escape route*):

From a financial point of view, machines are too costly. A machine needs to be constructed, manufactured, distributed, maintained etc etc. How to avoid this cost? Simple; you buy human beings!

In some places on earth, the street price of a child is pretty low, and they can easily be trained and tricked into doing all sorts of things. If the item (that is: the child) breaks down, you could easily get another one (the only substantial cost is the transportation from some underdeveloped country).

There have never been more slaves in the world than it is today. "Human capital" is cheap, and you can see it in the human trafficking business, the mining industry etc.

Interestingly, the less resources are put into the manufacturing of goods and services, the more resources are put into the administration of it. It is easier to find project managers than plumbers... Uncontrollable growth of one aspect (in this case administration) at the expense of all other aspects... - if the same thing occur in a group of cells in the human body, we call it "cancer".

(*exits provocative mode, runs for shelter, tries to look inconspicuous*)
 

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Excellent allegory, CyberSheep! Haha
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