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Will “technological fusion” include or exclude humans?

I would like to ask a simple and direct question: Will we, humans, either now or in the near future, be included or excluded from the law of technological fusion?

I must confess I don’t know if such a law exists. Perhaps it does, but it is known by another name. Whatever the case, it should be obvious technologies keep merging with each other to the point that one device can now do the same things that previously were done by many separated devices.

But the “fusion” doesn’t stop there. There is yet another level, the level of the interconnectivity of all those devices.

For example, I still remember the time, just a few short decades ago, when you needed a radio to listen to the radio. TV shows were watched on TV. And movies were watched at the movie theaters. If you needed to find a street, you had to check a big, printed map. And the photography camera was different from a camcorder.

Now, however, a smart phone or a tablet can do all those things and many more. Yesterday, you needed different devices, but today you can carry just one device and do all those things. But, as I said, that’s only the first half of what I call the law of technological fusion.

The second half of that law is intelligent devices talking to each other. A car, for example, can inform the mechanic about a problem. Or a refrigerator can scan what is inside a prepare a shopping list for what is missing. There are, of course, many more examples, including intelligent speakers connected with intelligent lights inside intelligent homes.

In other words, we live in a world where one device can do what in the past was done by many separate devices. And now all those devices are interconnected. So, I ask again, are we, humans, part of these seemingly unstoppable process of technological fusion, or are we going to be excluded from that process?

According to Dr. Toby Walsh, professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of New South Wales (Australia), we will know the answer in four decades, around 2060, when artificial intelligence will be at least as intelligent as human intelligence.

But according to well-known futurist Ray Kurzweil, now working at Google, we will know the answer in only a decade or so, when “the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will predominate.”

Regardless of when we could have a definitive answer about our relationship with technology, perhaps asking if we are going to be included or excluded of that process is the wrong question to ask.

If we merge with technology, we will no longer be humans, at least not in the same way we are today. If we don’t merge, perhaps we will be replaced or displaced. In either option, the future of humanity will be decided soon, in a generation or two.

The future is no longer a prolongation of the past, yet we live as if it were.  

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