Editor’s Note: In today’s Herman Trend Alert, the futurists at The Herman Group explore technological advancements being organized under the term “transhuman.” While initial reports discuss the impacts these technologies could have on human longevity, we also must consider the impacts this could potentially have on the workforce, particularly in fields such as manufacturing and service and repair.
The National Intelligence Council (NIC) in the United States recently released its highly anticipated, 140-page report, Global Trends in Alternative Worlds 2030. The document outlines the major trends and technological developments we can expect in the next 20 years.
Dawn of the Transhuman Era
Among the many projections included in the report is the augmentation of human beings using technology. In fact, the NIC reports to “envision a future in which humans have been significantly modified by their technologies.” We call this “Transhumanism.” (We at The Herman Group started talking about transhumanism in 2003.)
This NIC exploration seeks to understand and forecast how advanced biotechnologies will have an impact on the human experience, including the potential for enhancement technologies.
Imagine a world in which implants, prosthetics and powered exoskeletons become regular fixtures of human life or even more fantastic better than organic human limbs – and represent substantial improvements to innate human capacities.
Governments will administer psycho-stimulants to servicemen and women to support them remaining active for long periods of time and many will wear exoskeletons to allow them to be stronger and carry more than they could without the augmentation.
Applications to seniors
The elderly, in an effort to maintain youthful levels of strength and energy and extend their lives, will employ these technologies as well. We will see brain implants that will allow for advanced neural interface devices — thus connecting minds and machines. Retinal eye implants that enable night vision top the list of other modifications we may expect to see.
With advanced neuro-pharmaceuticals, seniors will no longer have to be concerned with memory, attention and speed of thought.
Enhanced experiences of real-world situations
The report also notes augmented reality systems can also provide enhanced experiences of real-world situations. We will have highly advanced robots, avatars in which sensors provide feedback in the form of touch and smell as well as aural and visual information to the human.
Brave New World is coming
A natural consequence of these developments will be a “two-tiered society comprising enhanced and non enhanced persons.” Security issues will multiply with the complexity of the devices. We also expect that “advances in flexible biocompatible electronics will enable improved integration with cybernetic implants.”
Special thanks to Philip Horvath for telling us about this important report.