Since the time I read Harari’s trilogy, this term he used “The Useless Class”, has haunted me. According to him the speed at which biology and technology have merged into the world of bioengineering; we will soon have a new race of sapiens called the useless class. What he means is that we will have to upgrade ourselves with new skills every few months or days or hours. The way bioinformatics is speeding, machine learning will know what we want or are thinking before our action takes place. There will be no “free will”.
The cognitive revolution will be faster than the actual human brain thinking. Algorithms will know us better than knowing ourselves, and we will start trusting them more than ourselves. “ To err is human” will no longer exist because our thoughts, emotions and actions will be governed by Google, Facebook, and the likes of these. We look up to the clouds to pray to God (imaginary or real, according to each one’s perception). Now our prayers will be answered by the same clouds which belong to IBM, or Google. Technology has even taken over the clouds. By the way, all this will be more trustworthy than the human to human interface. Isn’t it amazing? The trust factor in society today is already at an all-time low than before. This is the future of the 21st century. I am bowled over this thinking.
If we look around, the useless class has already begun. I feel very much that I belong to this class. When it comes to technology, I am worst than a slow learner, forget upgrading myself. A silicon chip can have a faster transmission than our neurons. They follow logical steps than the bundle of 3 trillion synapses. The best will be our individual perceptions will be lost or discredited because there will be no feeling involved in the machines. Feeling bring in thoughts, perceptions, philosophical dilemmas and cultural ethos. This whole gamut of nonsense will be lost. The machine will guide me on what I feel, how I feel, why I feel, when I feel and guide me towards LOGICAL being.
So we are no longer just chemistry but engineered chemistry. This is soon going to be true then the professions related to human science will vanish. Like the leap in quantum physics, we will exist in different dimensions of the universe at the same time. This is no science fiction anymore. Is this a threat or a boon of evolution to mankind will remain a personal choice. Our 100gms of forebrain tissue which is a seat of imagination has already made fiction a reality now. But we forget that along with imagination we also have a variant only present in humans called EMPATHY.
Imagination and empathy separates us from the animals. These two characteristics give us higher order precedence. We are the superior race of sapiens going towards making ourselves the creator(God Like). We control the fortunes and misfortunes of our race. We are taking away control from nature and engineering it. We all want to be rational beings. Don’t we?
Rationality means logic, discipline and rules. Follow them and success is assured. This differentiates us Asians from the westerners. This cultural divide comes from the need for control. They wanted to control everything and so they did, they changed the thinking of the world. So from being a polytheistic race, we get enamoured by a monotheistic race. We copy them. We want to be like them.
Unfortunately, nature has a final say in everything. The West is still studying the patterns in nature. “The butterfly effect “ is the best example. We can predict the future but can we control the NOW. Can we control our mind to nothingness but concentrate on our breath only. The flutter of a mind, the wink of an eye and the speed of thoughts is what brings them to seek for calmness or salvation. Then they look to the east.. and we will still keep looking at them…. GREED is the ultimate truth of mankind!!!