I think humanity’s biggest advances came in the form of augmentations. Language augmented our memory. The wheel augmented our ability to move things from point A to point B. The industrial revolution augmented our ability to process. Networks and telecommunications gave rise to the internet which augmented our ability to communicate.
Given the above track-record, I was thinking about what will be the next logical step in this direction. If you look into the latest advances in science and technology following candidates come to mind:
Machine Learning and AI
I consider Machine Learning the ability of a machine to find meaning in a given dataset, whereas intelligent I consider the machine which has the desire to do so itself. Both augment our ability to process information. This will impact humanity to the core. Not in the way we envision it today. Remember before the washing machine everyone thought washing robots would be the way we will do laundry in the future.
I can’t befriend myself with the idea of VR. Pictures of people with headsets, blindly stumbling around do frighten me. VR will make sense when the reality is too monotone and we need to replace it. When we do space travel and all the astronauts will see is the black of the universe, VR will be helpful. I do not foresee, in the immediate future a possible augmentation of humanity through it.
Here I am much more confident that it will transform our everyday. AR will augment the way we experience. The obvious use cases in our work environments are first, but I think it will be part of our everyday life soon just like the mobile phone is today.
We are once again looking up into the sky with ambitions and I think this will augment our existence. The Stoics were keen astronomers and recommended the contemplations of the heaves to all students of philosophy. Placing yourself in the vastness of the universe has a strong cleansing effect on you. I think apart from whatever we encounter out there, this effect of looking outside of the narrow borders of our earthly presence will augment our existence.
Gene editing and biohacking
Both augment our bodies. Either by prolonging, preventing or enhancing our life. I need to read Home Deus by Harari which I think covers part of it.