Tuesday, March 22, 2011

When the Future Arrives

By show of hands, how many know about the "singularity."  This is some future point where artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence.  This will also be when man no longer can control his future.  Kind of like the future in the Terminator movies where Skynet rules the planet, or like the first Star Trek movie where earth's Voyager has become self-aware.  But with computers becoming super intelligent, it will mean that mankind's diseases will also be eradicated.  Problems like cancer and AIDS and brain tumors will be solvable. Missing limbs regrown. Aches and pains non-existent.  Aging is also considered to be an ailment.  So the aging process will stop, and in some cases reverse.  Everyone will be young and beautiful forever.  Sound nice?  You may ask, "How long before the Singularity arrives?"  The predicted answer is the year 2045.

Everybody will be young and beautiful forever...

Does that really sound so nice?  No more challenges.  Every problem is instantly solved by machines. Procreation will be banned.  This planet only has enough room for those that are already here.  No room for new entries.  Unless you want to live on Mars.  They say that once Mars has been seeded with grass, it will take about twenty years for the planet to produce enough oxygen to support man.  I know they discovered ice on Mars, but is there enough to thaw out and support flora and fauna.  The temperature there is usually below freezing although it does get up to 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit).  Right now the US wants to launch a manned flight to Mars by 2020.  If with them the astronauts take and then sow grass seed, we may be able to populate the fourth planet by the 22nd Century.  We could become the Martians we once had feared  so much.

If you don't want to spend eternity on Mars, then maybe Titan, a moon of Saturn, is more to your liking.  After Earth and Mars, Titan is the third most livable celestial body in our solar system.  Lots of water there; a regular Venice without the architecture.  In any case, after the singularity, there may not be much to do on Earth, so space exploration may be the best way to beat boredom.  Sure, it may take years of travel to go from one planet to another - its five years from Earth to Mars - but since we are no longer aging, what else are we gonna do with all that time?

But before I start planning my space flights, I first have to reach 2045 and then knock about fifty years off my birth certificate.  If I was ninety and I started aging backwards, I wonder what age I would choose to stop at. If I were to start backing up now, I would stop at thirty-five.  Yet if I were thirty-five backing up, I would probably knock about ten years off.  With the way I think, when I start backing down from ninety, I will probably stop at the age of sixty-five.  Don't wanna miss out on those social security checks.

1984 was a disappointment.  No big brother.  2001 was a horror, instead of HAL, we had Bin Laden.  The next date for a big event is 12-20-2012.  The day all life will end.  After that, if 2012 fails to be our total annihilation, the date to look towards will be 2045.  The year of the Singularity.  Everybody will be young and beautiful forever.