Transhumanism is a term which is used to describe the merging of man and machine. It might sound like science fiction, but the reality is that we’re probably a lot closer to it than you think. A recent article in Forbes magazine presented the results of a report conducted by Growth Partnership Company, Frost and Sullivan on what we can expect by 2030 from the transhumanism impact on society. Here, we’ve collected a few of the highlights for you.
Machines merge with body and mind
Many of us are already using wearable technology, such as fitness trackers. These and other wearable devices are established parts of our modern lives, but in future transhumanism technology will be fully integrated within our bodies. For example, we could be wearing contact lenses which can take pictures or video. Alternatively, we could use earbuds which translate languages. Subdermal microchips implanted under our skin could even allow us to unlock doors or activate security “passwords” just by waving a hand.
Technology may also become part of our minds. Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) are currently in development, which will dramatically change the ways in which we communicate. Wearable or implanted BMIs could enable us to communicate with each other, and with our devices, at the speed of thought
Technology drives behavioural science innovation, gamification and personalisation
Governmental behavioural science units already create programs which influence human behaviour. The UK unit, also known as the “nudge unit”, utilises social and psychological theory to enable “people to make ‘better choices for themselves’”. In the future, Frost and Sullivan predict that behavioural scientists will be in demand in many areas of business, where they can influence employee behaviour to boost productivity. Gamification techniques are also likely to be of value in this area, such as the use of graphical interfaces to bring the engaging qualities of video games to workplace environments.
Already advanced in the world of marketing, personalisation will increasingly affect more aspects of our lives. For instance, we could see Artificial Intelligence (AI) helping to decide which positions we’re offered, depending on our personal strengths. Certainly, our diets and medical treatment will be far more personalised, based on the information that our genomes reveal about our make-up.
Changes to business practices and to society
Most employees might have an AI counterpart with which they will collaborate, or through which their work will be amplified. In combination with the introduction of BMI into workplaces, this is likely to cause heightened cybersecurity concerns.
Eventually, we may see companies sponsoring nootropic supplements (cognitive enhancers or “smart drugs”) and neurostimulation devices which improve employees’ focus and increase the speed with which they can acquire new skills. Human beings could become stratified by our abilities to afford technological, biological or chemical enhancement.
On a more positive note, Virtual Reality and BMIs may help us to step into others’ shoes, or the shoes of our future selves. This could encourage people to act with greater consideration for others, or to give long-term implications higher priority when making decisions.