The Fading Importance of the Human

The key puzzles of identity and of our perceptions of our own physical bodies are changing due to the forward march of technology. As a matter of fact, our bodies and their importance in the functioning of society have largely been eclipsed by robots, and the assault on the dominance of the human mind is well underway. It seems that in the future the active participation of people may not be necessary for the well-ordered functioning of society at all.

The oddities created by the God-like knowledge of the fundamental processes of the universe are apparent just below the surface. Look at the advertising for exercise and eating healthy, for example. They are sold as balancing an equation that will produce optimal health and fitness. The body is increasingly seen as an object that can be perfected, that can be poorly or expertly crafted. Genetics will be able to be engineered for our children. Erasing imperfections and mistakes, our natural processes will be optimized.

Technology has distorted our views of ourselves and enlarged the gap between perception and reality. Technology and the proliferation of media have created a situation where more people are in poor physical condition while simultaneously being more concerned about their physical appearance and condition than ever before in history. More filters separate us from a direct perception of reality, and we are more and more living in a virtual world overlayed on the real one. We are already cyborgs, in a practical sense if not a literal one. We are attached to our smart phones and the digital world constantly and live entire aspects of our lives inside of invisible structures constructed of code that live inside of servers.

The upheaval caused by the lack of employment is only the tip of the spear being plunged into the heart of the human species. If fundamentally, the question of life is one of meaning, there will soon be no object for which there is meaning to contemplate. Our desire for perfection and ease will lead to the destruction of everything that makes humans human. Biology’s weakness is overpowered by the superior computing power and efficiency of robotics and digital memory. It is only a matter of time before we are entirely fused into computerized systems. More than jobs to do, people will need a philosophy that justifies our continued existence.

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