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[1] by Uwe Jan Heuser, [2] by Gero von Randow

Goodbye, human
[1] The last millennium of Homo sapiens comes to end. Who comes next?

The last millennium of Homo sapiens comes to end. No reason for panic. Human becomes another – networked and genetically changed, surrounded by virtual worlds and autonomic robots. He rebuilds himself bit by bit. "Forming", the new being will say someday in coming millennium. "I am who is the follower of Homo sapiens."
The follower? – Strange, isn’t it? Ourself accepts the Darwinism but rarely thinks of the consequences: no kind stays forever. Only the most primitive life forms aren’t effected by this law – and these are boring. Let’s look into the mirror: Nothing points the thought that the current level of evolution is the optimum. The biologic model human will expire in the third millennium. Who follows? Or rather: what?
As ever: human is further than he is thinking and working on his own subsequent regulation. Virtual Reality gives his perception new room – until fictive worlds contains all signs of reality. The physical and psychical person becomes increasingly artificial – a realistic draft: The technics of brain implants and mind-altering drugs stands only at the beginning but points already to the end of what evolution created with difficulty.
We had defined ourselves over and over in our cultures but it could start a new phase soon: the rebuild of body, spirit and emotions. Everything science fiction? At least, things which can construct of science and fiction have good reasons on their side – and begin in the present.
Currently human is in term of surrounding himself with an interactive and calculating machine world. A few generations then the machine will probably begin to rebuild themselves – walking the path of all evolution and finally developing a kind of collective intelligence. Perhaps this techno sphere will protect earth better than human – vaporising threatening asteroids and preventing climatic disasters. Who fears before the human after the human?
We don't know all fields of possibilities which will be open to our grandchildren. Maybe our race will forming many kinds. Maybe our descendants will be part of one body that is itself an autonomic being – not unlike as those myriads of microorganism that were (by the way always bustling around) in our bodies. Who knows. At least we talk about a time frame of one thousand years.
It will be decided in the coming millennium whether the human develops or expire. His knowledge could lead him into the abyss – nuclear, bacterial, psychical. Or it could help him to make his life happier – adapting to the new world.
Science fiction can be read quite optimistically: human will become his own smith of luck in his old days. Whatever happens, it will happen fast, much faster than in evolution. We have got already a first taste: the all-surrounding acceleration which makes us dizzy today.
Our kind doesn’t look stable, this bio form how it floats between good and evil, happiness and pain. Is human after all this searching and after all this growing happier than thousand years ago? Not quite. But the biggest misfortune for him would be to live like at that time. Strange being.

[2] Human ran to the limits in this century

In 20th century human was more fickle than ever. Right two times human ran foolishness and gruesomeness at limits, just to notice that they need a worldwide community as most importance. Wars over wars and in policy arose phrases like "global thinking"; Dostojewskis sentence "everybody is guilty for everything" was rediscovered. In these days desire for freedom and feeling of solidarity are searching a modern balance again. The human on the high wire. Just don’t look downwards.
The mutual dependences are growing on this technozied globe. What happen on any place can threaten everybody – lunch of new weapons, damaging of the atmosphere, breakdown of economy and last but not least the jamming of information tubes with cultural waste. Solutions at millennium turn are: the global people have to behave properly. Out of the ever-equal and in truest sense for the egoistic reason: enlightened self interest.
Technology shall not be what fails. Networked computer ease dynamic connections between humans. It should also make knowledge accessible, shareable and easy to update. But technology is just one possibility; the future needs individuals which want to learn from each other. Cosmopolitan – which lives in changeable nets, which see the exchange of opinions and insights as a lifestyle. The Homo sapiens never lacked in these possibilities. But also never in the skill to make his own way more difficult. The way was there most of the time but rarely the will. It could happen that human transforms in something more human-like nonetheless. So that he stops playing as ruler and stops founding kingdoms for eternity, his diverse national unions stops living in their posthumous reputation and thus stops contemning his equal.
The future could still become something good. The human model had caused enough misery as end product of all development: besotted in his institutions, kneeling in front of his own worths, fanatic believing in his ideologies. Highest of all creation! May it be a little bit less?

From technology optimism to society of dissolving
future expectations (by Arnim Bechmann)

Futurology as try to explore all possibilities of the future was very popular in the 60th and 70th of the 20the century. In 80th dominated studies which was one-way focused on threats and risks. Future, once hope became danger. Since in mid of 90th there was no more conform direction of future perspective. Futurology researcher still claim development trends but these diverge in many each other excluding directions.
When you ask a bigger group of people: "Imagine that you live in the year 2030. How does this world looks like and how are you are living your life?" You get back – if at all – unsure answers. The question "What is especially beautiful in this time?" triggers usually wonderment and irritation.
The reaction will be different when you ask: "Imagine that you are in the year 2030. What do you fear and what makes your life difficult?" You get answers on this question very fast. Such questions give us no useful future insights but it displays a feeling of how the future is seen in present spirit of time.

The loss of perspective and openness of future

Futurology showed clear perspective up to the 90th – surly parallel to its Zeitgeist. A loss of such (undivided) perspectives can be recognized since mid of 90th – especially at the wild mix of coexisting revived and modern forms. For example:

  • perspective of technology (linear further developing technical progress as problem solver – e.g. genetic engineering as revolution for medicine and agriculture);
  • perspective of catastrophes (globalization of biocrisis leads to economic catastrophes – e.g. climate change and environmental contamination by chemicals);
  • perspective of leisure society (dissolving of the industrial society into a leisure/fun society without ethical values and rational direction)
  • perspective of a new age (new view onto the world which leads to a new reform of technology and social systems)

There are serious proponents as well as “not convinced” for this and other non-compatible future perspectives. In short: neither society nor futurology scientists have the same opinion about the expected future which leaves bare irritation.

Future as task.

Futurology felt into irritation after it had exhaustive thematized the past's scientific-technologic progress and its consequences for human and world. Today there are many little each other excluding development threads instead of a few dominant trends. The question has to be asked to dissolve this irritation whether future-relevant development threads exist which weren’t discovered through common views yet or not. That is the only way reorientation can be created.
These trends would be of interest for futurology only if they would have a future shaping effect.
Mid of the 90th: futurology mirrored dissolving tendency as well as sense and orientation loss in the industrial society. Nothing seemed to be solid and thereof also much possible. The future is today – through industrial society's inner ruin – more changeable than 40 years ago. It will need people which confidently and socially think, feel, and take action. The integration of head, heart and hand is asked in every day and society. Future is perspective and challenge in this sense at the same time. Time of the big "unstoppable" trend developments seems to be over so far. Everybody's actions will be future shaping despite or because of the mega machine’s "power".