Try to think of all the technologies that man has created, from the first stone tools to your smartphone. You cannot. There are now too many for one person to consider. This is a new development in human history.
Until around 1900, it was possible to document every technology that existed in a single printed set of books called an encyclopedia. As a teenager in the 1960s, my family had a 36-volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica dated 1902 that an earlier generation handed down. Each book was giant, very thick, and each page had dense, fine printing and artist-drawn pen and ink illustrations. The set was so bulky and heavy that you almost needed a small truck to move them. However, in those books were not just a summary but a thorough, detailed explanation of every technology that man had produced up to that date. The coverage of each technology would have been the equivalent of a college-level course today.
Suppose a person in 1902 read that entire encyclopedia. He would have come close to holding in his brain the knowledge of all the technology created by man in the prior three million years.
The explosion of technological development in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has made such a feat impossible. Simply the act of gathering all knowledge of technology in one place, much less printing it, is impossible. Technology is advancing so quickly, in so many different fields, that only the fluidity and global scope of the World Wide Web can, sort of, keep up with it.
Today, a person can only hold in their mind the knowledge of a limited subset of existing technologies. The question is, which technologies are essential to understand? Which technologies constitute the critical pathways to our success or failure as a species? Which technologies, if we monitor their progress, provide signals about the opportunities and threats ahead?
I will address eight fields of technology that I believe will be transcendent. Over the next few decades, these technologies will enable biological humans and their society to transcend biology and become technology-based, first as Hybrid Humans and then as Virtual Humans. As we move from the Information Age into the new Transcendence Era, we must understand these eight technologies and follow their development. The eight transcendent technologies are:
These eight technology fields are certainly not the only important ones. However, these eight represent the future and provide a good foundation for understanding where technology is likely to take us. These eight address:
Today, each of these transcendent technologies is emerging from the slow-growth phase of its exponential growth curve. It is likely to mature, reaching its explosive growth phase within the next twenty-five years. Each will be a significant disruptor to our world. When combined, the disruptions they will cause in our global society are presently unimaginable. They will enable the human experience to transcend today’s relatively primitive condition to an incredibly more capable existence.
The possibility of a societal collapse and the unforeseeable effects of advanced AI technology on society limit our vision of the future. This Part 4 will suspend both these concerns and optimistically assume that a thriving society with technological advancement will continue uninterrupted. Then, with exponential vision, we can anticipate what kind of future might be in store.
Let me briefly introduce here these eight transcendent technologies. I will then cover each in its own chapter, where I go just deep enough for you to have a sense of what that technology is and why it will be transcendent—how it relates to our future. I will provide each technology’s basic domain-specific vocabulary and science. You will need these to follow each technology's progress. For deeper exploration, I would recommend the works by the referenced authors.
[Excerpt from the book, "INTELLOPY: Survival and Happiness in a Collapsing Society with Advancing Technology" by JJ Kelly https://intellopy.com/ ]