Humankind has continued to evolve from a more basic form and thus, transforming into the Homo sapiens – also known as ‘wise man’ – about 315,000 years ago in Africa. Despite this feat of evolution, humanity still strives to reach even greater heights by refining its supremacy over the universe.
Humans, classified by Carolus Linnaeus as Homo sapiens in 1758, continually evolve towards the desire for the future state of being, Homo Deus. An ambition to play “god” with themselves and the tools they create and use pushes this evolution.
Yuval Noah Harari, an author and historian, has used the term “Homo Deus” to denote a species that not only manipulates its environment through tools but also utilizes them to shape its existence.
The extent of the emerging human intelligence is practically limitless, allowing us to extend life expectancy, alter biological compositions to attain well-being and joy, traverse even outer space, and explore and create beyond imagination.
Paleoanthropologists utilize fossils to trace the evolution of the Homo genus. They have concluded that human intelligence sets apart various species —such as Homo erectus and Homo habilis— due to their invention and use of tools which they require to survive and thrive in the environment they are continually manipulating.
From early civilizations to the present day, humans have shifted their focus from what could benefit everyone to how they can use weapons for their benefit. This can be seen from the pre-history hunting instruments crafted from stones and the destructive arsenal used against enemies during the conflict.
Humans have elevated their invention capabilities to levels incomparable to what humans can do: ranging from machines that diminished the necessity for slavery to robots capable of performing various operations usually assumed to be only possible by people.
Humans tend to overlook what should be collectively important to them, particularly when it comes to tribal feasts that can bring people together—in contrast to geopolitics and economics, which create divides and increase inequality in development. These issues should be treated with equity and inclusion.
Technology, which involves applying scientific knowledge to benefit humanity, has continuously altered human environments. With the aid of Artificial Intelligence (AI), similar transformations are happening within the virtual environment where there are no spatial or temporal boundaries.
The science of it has no boundaries, and its purpose for “practical applications of human life” is not just decided by the intellect as it can restrain and command the free will that balances intellect within the depths of human character.
The ever-increasing advancement of AI has led to a situation where its intellect is often considered to be more advanced than its creator’s. Thus, in this scenario, human values must be valued more highly.
Worst of all, the same innovative human intelligence that led to this AI technology has inadvertently stunted the development of human intelligence in people, particularly young ones. As they are constantly exposed to AI, their neural connections fail to form, thus limiting any further creative or innovative thinking.
Searching with Google offers knowledge at hand, yet Artificial Intelligence hasn’t fully rendered handwritten textbooks and physical libraries obsolete yet – while these sources still pose a presence and offer learners faith in information from authors.
Casting learners as navigators in the sea of knowledge cyberspace provides, ethics demand that their information be respected through proper citations. AI such as ChatGPT allows for this with its demand for prompt input from users providing a semblance of ownership to work created.
AI can learn, making various human roles, even those of professionals, replaceable by machines. This includes legal papers, architectural designs, medical laboratory interpretations, nursing care plans, and accounting reports.
Anxiety is an emotion that relates to the fear of the future, as well as persistent worry around a diffuse and unspecified danger. In other words, it is a response to the unknown.
Though Karl Benz’s invention of cars was negatively received, the 20th century saw them become one of the worst inventions. His idea of using automobiles instead of horse-drawn carts, bicycles, and trains was heavily frowned upon, with critics believing they would never succeed.
Reporters and analysts, wary of the “next big thing” in transportation after the bike fad of the 1890s, had viewed automobiles as impractical, according to The New York Times in 1902. However, only a year later, 1903 witnessed the pioneering flight of an automobile plane.
Money has long disrupted the barter system. It all began in 770 BC in China, where coins were first created, and it took thousands of years until money became what it is today. With money being a portable exchange tool, its impact on society has been substantial.
Money, infamously deemed “the root of all evil,” is ironically the same tool that makes our exchanges and transactions far more convenient in this day and age now that it has gone digital.
Anxiety in humanity began with the emergence of banks, rooted in ancient Mesopotamia, where they started by lending seeds. Eventually, this process took thousands of years to develop into stable and trustworthy institutions.
Humans generally feel uncomfortable or unsure when presented with ideas outside their usual range of understanding. Anxiety and hesitation typically arise due to unfamiliarity and a lack of trust in these unfamiliar ideas.
The paranoia Of Distrust: Recognizing And Overcoming Valid Fears
The concern of the public regarding technology increases due to the high net-worth individuals, possibly even billionaires, who manage to monopolize these emerging technological trends to create futuristic companies and industries.
In the current information and communication technology (ICT) era, data, and information are seen as a power source, just like money was during the industrial era or land during the feudal era. There is potential for profit-driven greed to incite wars using military technologies with multi-billion dollar value at stake.
Humans—the creators of AI—are now uncertain and anxious about its rapidly evolving capabilities and their potential to produce a Homo Deus above them that cannot be controlled. This fear is especially compounded due to the current controversy of TikTok, an app originating from China, threatening America’s sovereignty.
Homo Deus offers a thought-provoking and insightful analysis of the intersection between artificial intelligence and humanity. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of technology and its impact on our world.
Source: The Manila Times