Who are we as a species? Where did we come from? How did we get here? And why?
These questions have lingered since the birth of civilization. How do humans suddenly appear, from life in the jungle to the prairies to agriculture to city complexes?
What triggered our ascent into intelligent beings?
Some people say the thumb is the key factor in our accelerated growth, allowing tools to be made, for better survival.
Perhaps the ability to walk upright as bipedal hominids. Able to outrun wild game and travel long distances, in search of food. Hunters and gatherers.
The leap to farming and culture and education and monetary system and writing and worshiping the Gods, how did that spring forth in such accelerated fashion?
Aside from cave drawings, megaliths sprinkled across the globe in non random fashion, we have very little knowledge of our ancestors going past 40,000 years, if that.
One day we were killing sabor tooth tigers with flaked stone spears, the next day we had organized society. How did the leap occur?
Terence Mckenna had a theory that ancient humans wondered into the prairies and began to eat the wild berries and mushrooms. Turns out the mushrooms were hallucinogenic, expanding the minds of the primitive beings. And that was they key to our advancement.
As Shaman's learned the plants for medicinal use, to steer the tribes towards food and shelter and healing the sick. Perhaps that opened some neural pathways which allowed cognitive thought to develop. And with the advent of leisure time, people build civilization.
And we've been on an upward journey ever since. Our animal instincts have laid dormant as we are able to find food and shelter rather easily, so our survival system isn't needed as much.
The internet has spawned a completely new society in that the transformation includes every aspect of our lives. Similar to the Industrial Revolution, the Digital Revolution has sparked youthful hope for the future.
With increased storage capacity, decrease in costs and a connected world, we are creating mounds of data from everything and everywhere. And some business' are capitalizing on this phenomenon by storing everything, collecting, mining, predicting and finding patterns we've never been able to see before.
Intelligence has been captured and domesticated in the form of databases and querying tools. There's a lot of possibility to advance mankind for the good. Like finding cure's to diseases, keeping the economy in balance, and especially sharing the vast amount of knowledge to the masses. It's unprecedented. It's the opposite of the "dark ages". It's the age of digital enlightenment. The information is just sitting there on the web, for anyone to access at anytime for as long a period as they wish. The barriers to education have been removed. This is good.
Technology allows us to do things faster, more efficient and cost effective. Streamlining processes, real time business' and a sharing economy. Intelligence has been decentralized. To the masses.
And this intelligence is artificial in nature. Not only is the information retained for long periods, the systems can learn from the data. It can teach itself. It's an oracle. All knowing. But it's still artificial.
It's not a living thing. Like a tree. Or a giraffe. It's a bundle of circuits connected through solder. It's not alive. It doesn't self replicate. It doesn't have survival instincts. It doesn't have a thumb or walk upright. Yet.
It doesn't have a soul. In that it's not connected to the Universal Life Force that connects everything. When unplugged, it goes away. When plugged back in, it's awake. I don't think mankind can create a living being out of circuits. For now.
Augmenting the body with enhanced abilities is possible. Perhaps embedding chips into the human body, a hybrid could be formed. Which could extend the life of the recipient. Or give an advantage over non hybrid humans. Once the ethic boundaries are worked out, that could accelerate.
And we have advanced robotics that can travel difficult terrain. And we have simulated reality through a digital portal where humans can interact and affect the inner worlds. And we have algorithms that can identify patterns and sift through tons of data at a good speed. We are very eager to tame this new intelligence to serve mankind. There are in fact many benefits to all of this.
Strangely though, I'm reminded of a movie I saw many years ago. "The Gods Must be Crazy". Here's a link:
The coke bottle could be viewed as Artificial Intelligence and the Kung Bushmen could be viewed as us. I don't think we are in a position to bury the bottle outside the village. So as technology spins us into the future, let's hope for the best. As society will look different in a few years. That's for sure.