84Futures is a collection of ideas that deal with the impact of technology on our society from as early as tomorrow, to eons from now.
As fast as technology will progress, the impact on the human race will be exponential.
The naming is a nod to George Orwell's 1984, as well as an acceptance that the ideas here are just one collection of possibilities of many futures.
Often my thoughts about our future are not pretty. I don’t see a Utopian future laid out in front of us along some golden road of joy and enlightenment. There isn’t an image in my mind of holding hands while we skip and laugh on the way to times anew. What I see is a declining average level of intelligence and an increase in the prioritization of cheap and easy stimulus; I see people becoming more selfish, more ignorant, less kind and less inquisitive. We risk being too close-minded to be able to achieve greatness on a planetary basis.
If there was a leaderboard of successful species across the Universe, we aren’t making the top 10.
Some of us will flourish, I don’t believe we are entirely doomed. Whether the successful survivors will be the wealthy or the smartest or the opportunities or the hustlers, it’s hard to say. But the future will certainly bring a significant division that I define as The Augmented vs The Realists.
The Augmented will embrace the technology, and have the means to do so. They will embed hardware into their bodies, leading to greater physical and mental capacity. Those ‘evolved’ abilities will stand them apart from The Realists, who have either chosen not to adopt, or who simply won’t be able to afford to do so. We talk about an ‘information gap’ today where those too poor to afford regular internet access lose out on basic services that have become solely digitized. Yeah that, but multiplied by a thousand.
The percentage of our self that is artificial will increase from the battle against our original biology. It is hips, knees, organs and eye lenses today, it will be entire body transplants sooner than you think. We will have to supplement ourselves with more memory and processing power just to keep control of the machines that we build.
But like any good tale, this one has a twist - we actually might not exist anyway. There is a growing belief and body of evidence that we live within a world that is analogous to virtual reality or a video game. We may very well be conscious individuals, but our Universe might be the construct of a higher power.
It isn’t hard to imagine us building more and more powerful computers that contain ‘beings’ living in their own universe, believing that they are as alive as we are. As that society progresses, they too would evolve computers in which they could build their own model worlds, and so on and so on and so on. If you can believe we can do it then you have to believe something else could have done it, and if that’s the case you have to believe that there are infinite number of nested realities - it has to be a special kind of arrogance to think that out of infinite existences, we are the original. The OGs. The start.
I hope you think I am crazy and that you have better ideas, and I hope you share them here. I want to introduce you to new concepts and have you build on them yourself.
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If you are new to the concepts of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) I suggest you start with our primer, "WTF is Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality / Mixed Reality Anyway", and then move on to "The Augmented versus The Realists"
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