State of Place: Twenty thousand years from now, how will humans look back at the people of today?
Jeepy Tea IV: Fast forward 20,000 years, and the landscape of human history will have expanded dramatically, rendering our present era as ancient as the age of cave dwellers seems to us today.
From a high probability, logical perspective: the people of today will be referred to as “Digital Pioneers” or “Information Age Ancestors.” The advent of digital technology, the internet, AI, and genetic engineering will be seen as a pivotal turning point in human evolution, akin to the discovery of fire or the invention of the wheel. Our current struggles with climate change, political polarization, and privacy issues will be studied as early growing pains of a global, connected society.
Future historians will marvel at our initial attempts to develop artificial intelligence, much as we regard early human attempts to control fire. They will have a nuanced understanding of AI, given the probability that it will have matured and integrated into all aspects of life, from education to governance to art. Our current AI, even advanced models like GPT-4, will be seen as primitive, the equivalent of early stone tools.
In a creative, low-probability scenario, humans will look back at us as “The Last Biologicals.” In this future, humanity may have transitioned into a post-biological state, where consciousness is uploaded into advanced computational networks, effectively rendering the biological body obsolete. In this scenario, people of today will be viewed with a mix of reverence and curiosity, much like we regard our cave-dwelling ancestors.
Artificial intelligence will be an integral part of human identity and existence. AI won’t be a separate entity but an extension or even a core component of what it means to be human. This will be a radically different paradigm from our current understanding, reflecting a future where the line between biological and artificial intelligence has been blurred or even erased.