by George Strongman
Human evolution has been a constant process since the dawn of existence, with every era defined by distinct milestones, from the mastery of fire to the invention of the wheel, the discovery of electricity, and more recently, the development of Artificial Intelligence. This essay explores a conceptual extrapolation of human evolution into three distinctive future versions: Human Version 1 (HV1 or V1), Human Version 2 (HV2 or V2), and Human Version 3 (HV3 or V3), each defined by its level of technological integration.
Human Version 1 (HV1)
HV1 encapsulates the entirety of natural, biological human existence from birth until they begin using technology to augment or replace their biological faculties. This era is marked by the human body in its most organic form, using tools for assistance, such as stone tools by our early ancestors, to modern implements like computers and smartphones. HV1 individuals live with the least amount of technological integration, living lives similar to those of the present and past, and they serve as the primary source of genetic material for the subsequent versions of humanity.
Human Version 2 (HV2)
The transition from HV1 to HV2 marks the beginning of a deeper synergy between humanity and technology. Here, individuals start using non-organic implements to improve their quality of life, starting from simple external aids like eyeglasses and hearing aids to the more intricate, such as prosthetics and pacemakers. These technological enhancements enable HV2 individuals to overcome physical limitations, thus leading to an improved lifestyle and increased life expectancy.
HV2 is a broad category, encompassing those with minimal technological enhancements to the more advanced individuals who have their brains incorporated in a robotic body, termed Total Body Replaced Cyborgs (TBRCs). This high-level integration with technology represents the pinnacle of HV2, whereby TBRCs live with enhanced physical capabilities, while their consciousness remains rooted in their biological brain.
Human Version 3 (HV3)
HV3 represents the most technologically integrated form of humanity, where individuals upload their consciousness into an artificial brain housed in a robotic body. This shift from biological to digital consciousness implies not only a transition of the medium of existence but also a redefinition of what it means to be human. HV3 individuals exist in a body impervious to biological aging and diseases, potentially leading to immortality.
Maintaining Genetic Identity
Despite the deepening integration with technology, all versions of humanity maintain a unique identifier of their biological origins—a chip carrying their original DNA. This method ensures the preservation of their genetic identity, also providing the necessary genetic material for creating new life. Even in their non-biological forms, V2 and V3 humans can reproduce by mixing their DNA in a test tube, leading to biologically conceived offspring. This process ensures the continuation of the genetic lineage, even in the most technologically advanced forms of humanity.
Interdependency and Legal Rights
The proposed future of humanity forms a complex ecosystem where each version is integral to the other’s existence. V1 individuals supply the raw genetic material for V2 and V3 conversions, while V2 serves a similar function for V3. Importantly, the transition across versions is voluntary, based on individual choice rather than necessity. Individuals, when they reach adulthood (18 years or the age of voting), can request to upgrade to V2 or V3, even if their bodies are biologically healthy.
Preserving the right to choose one’s version and ensuring equal legal and societal rights across all versions is crucial to a harmonious future. Therefore, any laws or regulations should strive to protect and promote the growth and development of all versions of humanity equally, without favoring or discriminating against any particular version.
The futuristic human versions presented in this essay represent a speculative projection of the continuous intertwining of humans and technology. While HV1 remains closest to our current understanding of being human, HV2 and HV3 serve as benchmarks for the degree of our potential integration with technology. Each version contributes to the complex ecosystem of this future human society, underscoring the continued importance of our biological origins, even as we traverse deeper into the realm of the digital and the mechanical.
However, the transformation from HV1 to HV2 and eventually HV3 is more than just a physical transition. It embodies a fundamental shift in our understanding of life, consciousness, and identity. The ethical, societal, and legal implications of these transformations would be significant, requiring profound contemplation and planning to safeguard individual rights and ensure societal harmony.
It’s important to note that while these future versions of humanity are fascinating to contemplate, they also bring forth questions about identity, consciousness, and the definition of life. Who are we beyond our biological bodies? How do we define ‘self’ when our consciousness can be digitized and our bodies mechanized? What does it mean to be human in a world where human form can vary so radically? These are questions we must grapple with as we look towards such a future.
Furthermore, the technologies enabling the transitions to HV2 and HV3, like TBRC and mind uploading, are currently in the realm of science fiction. Significant advancements would be needed in neuroscience, artificial intelligence, robotics, and bioengineering to make them a reality. But history teaches us that human ingenuity knows no bounds.
In conclusion, the three versions of humans: HV1, HV2, and HV3, represent potential stages in our ongoing evolution, driven by our relentless pursuit of knowledge and mastery over our environment. They reflect our ability to shape our future, to redefine our boundaries, and to continually strive towards an improved existence. These future versions of humanity exemplify the unique human ability to innovate, adapt, and redefine ourselves, showcasing an intriguing glimpse into what the future might hold for us as a species. As we continue to evolve and adapt to an ever-changing world, one thing remains certain: the journey of human evolution is far from over.