On becoming posthuman

big history and the future

Elise Bohan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Your 185-Millionth great grandparents were fish. Your descendants will not be human forever. In a world of climate change, rising automation, gene editing and advanced artificial intelligence, modern humans are experiencing unprecedented technological disruption and global transformation. At this juncture, biological evolution is no longer the major driver of change in the biosphere - as a toolmaking, technologically advanced species, we find ourselves holding the evolutionary reins. Although we stumbled into this role unwittingly, we are increasingly aware of our power and significance in the broader evolutionary sequence. With brains capable of inventing modern computers and artificial intelligence, we have begun to semiconsciously seed new types of intelligent beings: technological 'mind children' that many experts predict will one day far eclipse us. The roboticist Hans Moravec believes that 'within the next century' our mind children 'will mature into entities as complex as ourselves, and eventually into something transcending everything we know'. They will be our post-biological offspring and we, their human parents, will fade.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-160
Number of pages9
JournalGriffith review
Volume64
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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