We all look forward to the future. When flying cars will replace the ground and thus freeing the roads are choking cities; when a man will open the first space colony and set out to conquer the far horizons of our Solar system and beyond it; when we all become immortal, or at least learn how to create and replace failing limbs and organs, thereby extending the period of its existence.
Unfortunately, it’s more like a utopia than a reality. The reality, as usual, is far more prosaic and even more cynical. Today let’s talk about the most frustrating and frightening concepts, developments and possible scenarios for our future which witnesses will be, maybe not we, but our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Everyone will be able to create your own pandemic
Earlier this year, the Oxford organization Global Priorities Project has compiled a list of disasters that can destroy more than 10 percent of the population of our planet. And highest level of this list, which is not surprising, is artificially created pandemics (i.e. epidemics on a world scale). Moreover, the authors warn that this can happen already in the next five years.
Most of the technologies that could lead to such development of events is already beginning to emerge. And in this list of technology fair record system genetic modification CRISPR/cas9 and 3D bio-printers. In addition, the base schema that could lead to the creation of pandemics, are now actually in the public domain. About 10 years ago, futurist ray Kurzweil and technologist bill joy with an angry criticism upon the United States Department of health, which published a complete picture of the genome of the flu virus of 1918, calling it “unbelievably stupid”. Recently a group of scientists has also decided to speak when the journal Nature decided to actually publish a manual to enhance the effectiveness of avian influenza by mutation into something even more deadly.
The thing is that information like that sooner or later you may be interested in various radical groups, terrorist groups or sociopathic personality and create your own viruses.
People that will take your mind into a computer, actually kill yourself
One of the most radical ideas about the future of the world is connected with refusal from mortal human bodies and transfer themselves into digital environment. We are talking about a complete transfer his mind from a biological brain in a heavy-duty supercomputer. This process, however, according to some scientists and researchers will lead to the complete destruction of the original human nature. In fact, it becomes a form of unintentional suicide.
All this is due to the so-called problem of “continuity of consciousness”. Of course, in the future we will likely learn how to cut, copy and paste the essence of the person and his memories in the digital environment, however, the process of consciousness transfer will actually become a means of execution. Neurophysiologists know that the memories themselves are stored in the brain in the physical sheaths — neurons. That is, in theory, on a physical level we will be able to copy these databases. However, our knowledge about consciousness are still at a primitive level. We still do not understand even how it appears in the brain, not to mention how to move it from point a to point B. in addition, it is possible that subjective consciousness is impossible to migrate to a digital environment.
Actual digitization of the brain and uploading it into a digital environment will probably require a destructive scan on the atomic level. An example of this would be teleportation, which is shown in the same film, “star trek”. According to the scientific basis of this film, every time you teleport the original copy of the person is disassembled into atoms, is being copied and destroyed. The transfer process of the mind may be similar. The original copy will be destroyed and replaced by digital, which will continue to assume that it is original. But it will be a complete misconception.
Authoritarianism can return
With the rising concerns and threats to national security, governments will sooner or later come to the incredibly draconian measures that, on the one hand, will really raise the level of national security, but actually deprive us of our freedom. Over time, many of the freedoms and civil rights that are now considered by us to be taken for granted (the right to privacy, the right of free travel in their home country, the right of Assembly and expression of opinion, the right to freedom of speech and so on) will sink into Oblivion.
At the same time the population due to the constantly rising number of terrorist acts, violence and many other factors itself will increasingly seek to elect leaders who can and, most importantly, uncompromising ready to deal with all internal and external potential threats, even if it would threaten many democratic values.
What threats to national security will lead to such changes in history have been such precedents. Following the September 11 attacks and subsequent terrorist acts by sending letters with powder of anthrax, the government of the USA signed the act on state security. The document is criticized by many for their too drastic and radical measures to solve problems, but he is a perfect example of what can happen when a nation perceives a threat to its security. Now imagine what could happen occured similar to the “9/11” incident, but with hundreds of thousands or even millions of casualties.
Nuclear and biological weapons are the two main possible source of such events. And the likelihood that these weapons falling into the hands of a small radical group or even an individual, only stronger to increase the willingness of governments and citizens to take a more radical ways of solving these problems, even with the loss of some freedoms.
Private life will be a thing of the past
We are rapidly approaching the age of pervasive surveillance, the time when virtually every aspect of our life will be watching from above. The private life we know will cease to exist, and it will replace the eyes and ears of “Big brother”.
Governments, in fear of internal and external threats are increasingly willing to resort to cheap, but high-tech and effective measures and technologies for tracking its citizens. Commercial Corporation, fueled by the desire to know everything about their customers, too, will not be able to resist such temptation. Citizens of this society of surveillance will have no choice but to accept the fact that every detail of their lives will now be recorded.
Monitoring mechanisms for society now are beginning to penetrate into our lives. Street cameras, computers, smartphones, tablets — all means to follow them in our daily lives.
If you jump even further, it is likely that government agencies and law enforcement sooner or later introduce a more compact and inconspicuous surveillance devices, including the so-called “smart dust” — tiny self-organizing sensors that monitor almost everything at once. These tiny particles (which is essentially nanorobots) will cover the whole Earth and function as a single network, being the eyes and ears of the world.
Robots will find a way to easily manipulate us
Until that moment, as the AI will be able to realize his programming will engage individuals and corporations. And we will strongly be mistaken, if we assume that the machines think of themselves, which in turn will open the way to various kinds of manipulation and beliefs. This future sees futurist and science fiction writer David Brin. According to him, this will lead to the emergence of robot frauds.
“Empathy is one of the most important gifts and curses and weaknesses, the human being has,” says Brin.
“For many millennia people have developed and perfected methods and skills to identify lies, but none of the liars had so many opportunities to train your skills, how much they will be robots. And because all the necessary information base (ability mimic voices and expressions, a special set of words and so on) for this we are going to lay, even without realizing it. Their ability to manipulate us grow so that resist can only true sociopaths, although over time and they will find your approach.”
The effects of climate change will be irreversible
Last year, world leaders signed an agreement on the reduction of production and use of sources that cause global warming. The desire is laudable, but the critical point, we seem to have missed. The effects of global warming will be felt for hundreds, and possibly thousands of future years. As we have already entered the period of the sixth mass extinction (when the rate of species extinction is much faster than usually), we risk losing important ecosystems and gradually reduce the diversity of life on Earth.
Climate models indicate that even if levels of carbon dioxide suddenly start to decrease, levels of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere will continue to warm our planet for at least another few centuries. Our oceans will be slow to allocate the accumulated carbon dioxide, our atmosphere will return to the figure the pre-industrial era a few centuries. A recent assessment by the international expert group on climate change says that “most climate change is already irreversible in the scale of human time.”
Dawn Stover, a science columnist for The Bulletin writes:
“Melting snow and ice exposes some plots of Land will absorb more solar radiation, accelerating the process of global warming and reducing the area of the ice shields. Scientists agree that the West Antarctic ice sheet has decreased to unprecedented levels. As a result, in a short time will be observed serious irregularities in ocean currents and heat transfer. Acidification of the oceans will continue and will lead to yet unknown consequences for marine life. The melting of the eternal ice and the temperature rise of the ocean floor will lead to the release of methane and greenhouse gases. For the last 1000 years will be marked severe drought, accompanied by wildfires and additional carbon emissions. Those species that fail to adapt quickly to changing conditions will become extinct. Coastal areas will become uninhabitable, which in turn will cause a significant humanitarian crisis”.
The only possibility to somehow reduce the effects will be geo-engineering the planet, but this, in turn, will also create difficulties.
The age of antibiotics come to an end
There is a serious increase of diseases that become immune to antibiotics. Over time, this can develop into postantibioticski era, a time when even the most ordinary infection will threaten our lives.
A major change in medicine will cause resistant to antimicrobial drugs the bacteria. Transplantation will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible process. Even simple operations such as appendectomy would be very dangerous for life. The elderly begin to get pneumonia and other age-related illnesses, including cancer.
How bad can it get? A recent report prepared by the Faculty and Institute of actuaries of great Britain, indicates that a new era resistant to antimicrobial drugs diseases will take annually to 10 million people by 2050. Therefore, in this report often appear such concepts as “antimicrobial Apocalypse”.
Fortunately, we will not be completely devoid of the solutions to this problem. Currently, scientists are hunting for the as yet perhaps undiscovered antibacterial compounds. In addition, work is underway on the creation of viruses and vaccines to fight the bacteria. In the end, by which time we may already learn to create artificial organisms that will hunt and destroy bad bacteria and viruses.
Killer robots will be commonplace
And here we are getting to the future scenario of “Terminator”, when it will operate a fully automated system paramilitary, who without any hesitation will lead the hunt for armed human units.
These systems, known as LAWS (Lethal Autonomous Weapons, “Lethal Autonomous weapons”), no doubt, are already in development, and it is only a matter of time until they destroy existing weapons including nuclear weapons. These robotic killing machines are created with only one purpose — to reduce human losses and make war more humane, but experts fear that these futuristic executioners sooner or later get out of control and the objects of their hunting will be the people themselves.
Of course, such machines will be equipped with security mechanisms and “moral principles”, but Wendell Wallach Interdisciplinary center for bioethics at Yale University believes that the check it will be very difficult, and therefore it is not excluded different software errors, which will lead to very unexpected behavior.
“Efficiency and cost make the system attractive LAWS for developed countries and non-governmental organizations,” says Wallach.
“Although countries such as the United States, say that these systems will be under strict human control, the country is interested in particular in the underwater systems LAWS, as they will be very difficult to establish communication and control”.
“We may be witnessing the beginning of the Autonomous nuclear war before the moment, as we realize ourselves,” continues Wallach.
“This is just one of hundreds of possible scenarios with the use of prointellectual military systems that can increase the security risk to humankind long before we will be able to understand what the superintelligence”.
We’ll lose all our satellites
Several members of the scientific community is concerned about the likelihood of partial or complete loss of control over the artificial satellites of the planet, which can be caused by effect (syndrome) Kessler (which is very clearly shown in the movie “gravity”) or giant solar geomagnetic storm, or as a result of cosmic war.
Without satellites we lose the possibility of communication. GPS systems as well as equipment based on them, will be absolutely useless pieces of garbage. Space synchronization becomes irrelevant, which will affect many areas, ranging from financial exchanges to energetic networks.
You need to consider the risk of future developments and to be ready for it. The first step is to increase the reliability of our infrastructure and perhaps even reduce our dependence on these satellites, which has put us in a very dangerous position. In addition, you should think seriously about the orbital environment. From year to year in low-earth orbit and the geostationary orbit are becoming more and more cluttered our satellites and various space debris. If we don’t start to clean all this mess, it may soon lose access to space.
We never get in contact with aliens
We all used to think that for just next week, but rather the Millennium, we will make contact with alien civilizations. The fact is that, most likely, this will never happen. And all because really no one gives us any signals, and is not moved from one star to another in search of new places to conquer.
Continuing the Great silence — this is no accident. Our galaxy is very old, so by this point we had still have to make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence, if such there were. If you think that the aliens are engaged only in such big projects, such as SETI, you are deeply mistaken. In fact, the whole Earth is covered with antennas and satellite devices deployed in the furthest reaches of our cosmos. And yet all we hear is silence.
The fact that we still haven’t met any aliens, can be a serious indicator of our future. Perhaps there is some technological barrier to overcome which is not yet possible. Maybe this barrier is a superintelligence or paramilitary nanotechnology. Maybe the aliens just being paranoid and xenophobic, trying to show its existence in case of hostile neighbors. Another explanation may be that intelligent life has chosen the path of the study of the infinite reality of cyberspace is a cold and dead space. And perhaps we really are alone in this vast space.