Within the next 200 years, humans and advanced robots will merge and become powerful, everlasting god-like cyborgs, a professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem said during a talk at the Hay Festival in Wales. However, only rich people will be able to do this.
Prof. Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli historian and the author of the international bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, said that those who will be able to afford expensive ‘upgrades’, i.e. the super-rich, will become human-robot hybrids as science makes it possible to integrate cyborg technology with living flesh.
Prof. Harari believes the merger of machine with humans will be the ‘biggest evolution in biology’ after life appeared on our planet about four billion years ago.
The human-cyborg hybrids of the future will be as different from us as we are from chimps.
Humans will beat death
Prof. Harari, who teaches at the Department of History of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, says that human beings will become almost divine, having overcome their mortality.
Humans are by nature always dissatisfied with what they have. Those who can afford it will give in to the temptation of undergoing either technological or genetic engineering upgrades. This means that the cyborg-like humans of 200 years’ time are likely to be as different from us as we are from our fellow primates (chimps, gorillas, etc.)
Prof. Harari said:
“I think it is likely in the next 200 years or so homo sapiens will upgrade themselves into some idea of a divine being, either through biological manipulation or genetic engineering of by the creation of cyborgs, part organic part non-organic.”
Wealth gap will widen
The wealth gap will likely be much wider than it is today. The cyborg technology won’t come cheap and only rich individuals will be able to afford it.
Our society will probably become divided not only socioeconomically, but also as far as lifespans are concerned, with the majority dying within perhaps 100 years and a select few prevailing virtually forever.
Throughout history, humans have needed gods, or religions, to make sense of their existence, death, and to give society a structure. Over the last few centuries, as we became more technologically advanced, the need for the crutches of gods has declined.
Prof. Yuval Noah Harari was born in Haifa, Israel, in 1976. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford in 2002. (Image: ynharari.com)
Prof. Harari believes humans in ever-growing numbers are deciding they no longer need gods, just technology.
From a religious point of view, the most interesting place in the world today is no longer the Middle East – it is Silicon Valley, where people see death as just another scientific problem that needs to be solved.
Cambridge neuroscientist, Dr. Hannah Critchlow, said in a separate talk at the Hay Festival that one day we will be able to download our brains into a supercomputer. She believes this will start happening as soon as a computer is capable of recreating 100 trillion connections in the brain.
Video – An interview with Prof. Harari at the Hay Festival