Technologies are becoming an ever important part of our everyday life, but do you ever reflect on the impact that they have on our civilization? Over the last two centuries, technological progress increasingly shaped our world. It is said that we learned more over the last 50 years than any time since the dawn of humanity.
No wonder: there are currently more scientists than ever in history. With a globalized research chain, we are discovering new things at an increasing rate. Soon, we might learn more in a day than anytime before…

Technocalyps is a 2006 documentary that tries to understand how the current and future progress in medical, biological, nano-technologies and computing is shaping humanity, and what are its challenges to come. After all, modern computers are not even a hundred years old and their impact on our everyday life as been tremendous, especially since the democratization of internet.

But still, we don't ask much questions about its impact on our lives. Our brains are already rewiring and changing due to easy access to technological gadgets. For example, imagine how you would live without mobile phone just for one day. Pretty tough innit ? 15 years ago, we didn't have any mobile phones, and we were living just fine. Today, it's mission impossible.

It is predicted (as much as one can predict the future) that Artificial Intelligence will overcome human intelligence around 2030 (aka technological singularity). Our societies are already increasingly relying on robots and AI could soon take on the most difficult but also the most easiest jobs. Before soon, will computers need humans? They could keep us as pets, but we're a rather messy species. After all, Terminator and Matrix might be some of the most prescient movies ever.

Ethical and religious questions are also raised over this 3-part documentary. Should we mix humans and robots together? Should we live eternally (inside a mechanical body)? The trouble with technologies is, as Theodore Kaczynski (the Unabomber) says, that you can't separate good and bad from technologies; in the end, these are highly advanced tools manipulated by evolved monkeys. And monkeys, even the evolved ones, are messy.

This documentary is not far-fetched science fiction. It asks very important questions that we conveniently avoid to think about, because we believe that technologies do us more good than bad. But in reality, technologies are shaping a new humanity, driving toward a uncertain and dangerous future. There is no easy exit from the path we have taken, but we are now at the crossroad for humanity. This is why we have to start a debate now about how to handle this issue and what kind of future we want to have.

Related readings:

Industrial society and its future – The "Unabomber Manifesto". Many things have been said about Ted Kaczynski, but not enough has been said about his ideas. In this manifesto, he lays out the idea that modern society is currently under great stress due to technology and that the future is either to be a dystopian future with mass control (Orwellian type) or the human race to be destroyed (by  itself or intelligent machines -see technological singularity below).

Technological Singularity – "A technological singularity is a hypothetical event occurring when technological progress becomes so rapid and the growth of artificial intelligence is so great that the future after the singularity become qualitatively different and harder to predict." Also, artificial intelligence could take over the planet. Again, this is not science fiction, just rational thinking.

About Carlito Riego

"Great perfection may appear imperfect, but its usefulness is inexhaustible. Great abundance may appear empty, but its usefulness cannot be exhausted. Great correctness may appear twisted, great skills appear crude, great eloquence appear awkward. Activity conquers cold; inactivity conquers heat. Clear serenity governs the world." - Lao Zi