In recent history, the lives of humans have been forever changed by huge advances in science, engineering and technology. Not even 100 years ago most people didn’t have home electricity – now we have smartphones, the Internet, artificial intelligence…we can communicate with someone on the other side of the world in just a few seconds. We can reach far-flung places much faster, too; whereas not too long ago it took weeks to reach Africa or Australia by boat, modern planes take just a few hours to touch down.
This period is often referred to as the Information Age. It comes at the end of an Industrial Age that has lasted some three centuries, and means we need to continue developing in science, engineering and technology in order to keep up with the demands of modern life and build a prosperous world.
There may, in the near future, come an age where machines look after much of what humans do now – manufacturing etc. In theory, this will allow the human race to explore the universe, ‘boldly go where no man has gone before’ and things of that ilk. We may then evolve accordingly, becoming even more capable of creating science and engineering solutions that will have an incredible impact.
Let’s take a minute to explore some hypothetical situations that may arise in a world where machines do all the work:
- Humanity will enjoy increasing political and economic liberty – which is surely what everyone strives for
- We’ll also be increasingly free from ignorance and superstition – a scientific world is a world based on fact.
- Within the limits of the laws of physics, of course, humans will be free to explore more and more progressive innovations, leading to even greater levels of scientific and technological achievement.
- Humans may even become immortal, as technology allows the human body to live longer and the human mind to maintain itself in either physical or virtual form.
- Evolution – at some point in the future, humans will begin to mutate into stronger, faster, more intelligent version of themselves – like when we evolved from Neanderthals. This, again, will be both a result of technology and a development that will see it advance even further.
- Humanity will spread to other planets – we’re already making steps – and will appropriate technology through contact with other intelligent life forms (if they’re out there, of course!)