What Have We Become?

CyberneticWe have become much different than what we were considered before by history. By “we” I mean humankind, and by “today” I mean the year 2184. I am writing this for the descendants; I am not an idealist and do not build shiny illusions for myself, but perhaps they will find another way of development and evolution than we had. Perhaps they will manage to regain the essence of being human.

What is life like in the 22nd century? Well, it is unquestionably different than even a hundred years ago. The main driving force of the present time is technology; technological wonders have become so diverse and incredible that some people already treat them the same way as our ancestors treated magic. They even worship technologies. Every major city of the most advanced countries, such as China and Saudi Arabia, now have a temple where adepts can unite with the Machine Soul. But let me get back to the subject. Three phenomenons define our lives today: space flights, cybernetics, and immortality.

One of the most significant issues—the overpopulation of Earth—was solved when space flights became a common practice. I do not know the technicalities, but when scientists finally discovered anti-matter in 2067 and learned to use it for practical purposes, it took governments much less money and effort to initiate space programs and launch spacecrafts to the Moon and Mars. Today, the Moon is almost as overpopulated as Earth was in the beginning of the previous century; as for Mars, a 23rd colony was settled on its surface a couple of months ago.

Cybernetics is an another pillar of modern civilization. Since the first cybernetic implants were released on the global market in 2098, it has become a great help for disabled people, as well as for those who want to enhance their natural capabilities with special implants. Terminal diseases are no longer a threat; only mental disorders remain a serious problem. Today, you cannot imagine a cop without cybernatically-strengthened limbs, or a stockbroker without brain implants helping him or her process complex calculations in no time. And though in the middle of the 21st century there were prognoses about the development of robotics, today, as people have become much more efficient, no one thinks about robots.

In addition, cybernetics gave people a possibility to resurrect after death. Yes, humanity has completely overcome death. It occurred in 2131, when academician Kurt Liebknecht, who is now considered a saint, had discovered a way to store human minds on hard disks. Each human being today literally works for their immortality throughout their lifetimes. If you manage to save enough money, you can transfer your mind onto the Internet, and exist online in the form of pure information. IT-specialists and scientists have invented special, secure Necropolises for such people—virtual places where the Immortals reside. Those who would like to resurrect in their physical bodies once again can “work”: do system administering, manage databases, provide online security (IP, Internet Police), and so on. For their job they earn virtual money—the virtual economy has become as developed and significant as the real one—and buy themselves cybernetic bodies, in which their minds are transplanted back from online. Well, Immortals are not truly immortal; we all remember the horrible tragedy in 2152, when three of the largest servers containing Necropolises were hacked and reformatted by the terrorists from Humanity-1—at least, it was the official version. Hundreds of thousands of Immortals back then had vanished forever—my brother was among them.

The invention of online afterlife has also solved the problem of prisons: criminals’ minds are now being locked in special virtual storage, and their physical bodies are used for organ transplantations for the living, or simply utilized. Though, a new problem had arisen: escaped convicts pose a threat both for the Immortals in the virtual world and for systems and people in real life. When a living criminal connects to the Internet through a brain chip, such criminals, usually called Incubuses, can possess them, capturing their bodies and expelling, or even destroying their minds. And though a large number of security programs are now available for Internet users, and though the IP constantly hunts and deciphers (or destroys, simply saying) loose criminals, Incubuses remain a serious threat.

Technological wonders which we take for granted today are much more diverse and numerous than I have described so far. The Epoch of the Machine Soul is an exciting time to live in. The only question that worries or even scares me and many other conscious and intelligent people today, is: “Are we still human? What are we now?”

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