Since the dawn of civilization, we have asked what it meant to be human and what made us unique. For millennia, contemplatives have looked for these answers in theism while other mystics found solace in a monistic view of a world. In more recent history, the scientific revolution largely exonerated the developed world from such spirituality. Instead of asking what it means to be a human, we now look to parochially improving it. Perhaps the growth of humanity is only the first half of what is instead a curve. As we move forward, it is unclear whether technology has improved life: have 140 character limits and the manipulative attention economy improved the world?
As scientific discovery and technological innovation continue to grow, arbitrary examples such as those given above become more dangerous. The next tech revolution will be in the realm of self-transformation. Like the revolution of the internet before it, this revolution will change the world. Unlike the web, self-transformation will likely destroy humanity as we know it.
Eager to improve user-experience, companies are rapidly researching machine learning. Humanity has maintained dominance of our planet for no reason other than our unique ability to process original ideas. As digital neural nets improve, artificial intelligence (AI) is already challenging our intellectual superiority.
Compared to the rapid growth of AI and its modular hardware, the traditional human model of biological development is inefficient and ineffective. Science is now looking into what is known as CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats). CRISPR will allow us to directly edit our genes- changing our appearance, our intelligence, and our species.
Since the dawn of civilization, people have asked themselves what it meant to be human and what made us unique. Science has begun answering this question, but by the time it does, what if no one is asking it anymore?