Humankind is a curious species – while men and women have accomplished a lot in the present and learned a lot from the past, they’re always looking toward the future.
The future of mankind and humanity’s legacy are topics almost everyone has considered at some point, regardless of how much deliberation they give the idea. Humans have been around for thousands and thousands of years, so it is easy to assume that will always be the case.
But what if it isn’t? And what factors could make such a change reality? Technology has been an ally of mankind since the beginning of recorded history. From strings fashioned from plant fibers and wheels whittled from rocks all the way to the complex pocket-sized computers of today, technology has been a staple of mankind’s existence.
But could technology progress to such a point that humans are no longer needed? Could it eliminate us, or perhaps even set us in motion toward our own demise? Or are these fears of a person-less world just scare tactics from luddites who fear what they don’t understand?
How Technology Impacts the Future of Mankind
For years, scientists, mathematicians, and scholars around the world have worked diligently to create a knowledge base that benefits humanity as a whole.
The idea that technology is an enemy is wrong, especially when one considers how much it has elevated humankind over the years. Cures for diseases that once crippled generations are now readily available to most people. Countless pages of information and endless amounts of learning tools are only a few button-pushes away thanks to the digital revolution.
Even labor is becoming easier thanks to technology. Smart machines are getting better making decisions and carrying out complex tasks with little human input. When it comes to what will happen in the future, looking to technological developments can be the best indicator of tomorrow.
But how far has technology come – and has it come too far? Artificial intelligence and machine learning represent the type of potential and the type of hazard mankind has never dealt with before. Even with all the perks it offers, there are some dangers to consider.
If technology has the capacity to elevate and enhance mankind, could it also have the ability to make them obsolete?
Tech Developments Are Changing the World
What will happen in the future if machines grow even more powerful? In some ways, this could be helpful.
For example, smart machines could perform human jobs and help struggling industries fill out their rosters. A great case for this is the truck driving industry. With the number of drivers needed consistently landing below the actual trucking workforce, many carriers are turning to autonomy for solutions.
Self-driving trucks have already made in onto road ways where successful tests have taken place. But not all of these tests have yielded only positive results. Uber recently halted self-driving tests after a pedestrian was struck and killed by one of their self-driving vehicles.
While the dangers of uncontrolled machines have been obvious from the days of the electric saw and even the electric washing machine, this topic isn’t about malfunctioning machines ending humanity. It’s about whether humanity’s importance to civilization and industry could wane if machines develop far beyond today’s levels.
The future of men may see them taking a backseat to technology, especially once these techs are refined to the point they need limited human input to function properly. But what is the end game? Will humans disappear, or will their role in the world change?
Humankind May Become More Dependent on Machines
Almost everyone depends on technology to some degree. Even if digital techs are the only ones counted, it’s easy to see the plethora of websites, apps, and connectivity-based solutions in the world have become so popular humanity leans heavily on them.
If cars are ever able to pilot themselves safely and if computer programs are ever able to make a user’s decisions before they have to ask, it is only natural to assume these conveniences will come to be embraced as normal aspects of life as well.
This means it would be harder for humans to imagine a life without these conveniences, which would in turn spur the demand for them.
Humans may see that their presence in the workforce isn’t needed as much as it used to be, and many standard daily practices like driving, browsing the web, or even making calls could take a new turn and be accomplished through new methods.
What will happen in the future when these technologies really catch on? It’s not likely they’ll replace mankind, but it is likely they’ll change the way people go about their daily lives – just as technology always has.
Feature image via ViaFoura