NP15: The Future digital

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NP15: The Future digital

The Future digital edition.

$9.95

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“It may be that in the future you will be helped by remembering the past.”

– Virgil


 

Although the term and precise starting point are disputed, many anthropologists believe that ‘behavioural modernity’ – when certain traits such abstract thinking and symbolic behaviour are purported to have emerged in humans – started around 50,000 years ago.

Some 500 centuries later, here we stand, a link in a chain of human beings stretching back tens of thousands of years. Looking to the future, one can’t help but wonder: Do we have another 50,000 years as a species? Or are we set to be the architects of our own demise?

Existential threats abound, from exhaustion of natural resources and runaway climate change to malevolent artificial intelligence and engineered pandemics. Or perhaps it will end not with a bang, but a whimper, as we lose ourselves in virtual worlds.

Whether the end is nigh, only time will tell, but there’s one thing we know for sure: we are indebted to the 100 billion humans who came before us, and we have a responsibility to those yet to be born. Let us not be the weak link.

 

Zan Boag, Editor

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