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Zach Puchtel Headshot

The Future Is No Place for Fear

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If you have no ideas for where the future is headed, dare I say that you are blind.

There are currently two major revolutions occurring: the enlightenment of man and the awakening of computers.

What's incredible to me is that they are intertwined in their quest for information and knowledge. The more powerful computers become, the easier it is for man to access information. The better information we have, the better computers we make, and so on.

"Futurists" (read: people with imaginations that can process trends), such as Ray Kurzweil (The Singularity Is Near) have been trying to educate the masses for years, with undeniable evidence that computers will, at some point in the foreseeable future, develop a consciousness much like ours, if not far surpassing our biological processes.

I don't want to convince you that this is the truth. In fact, there's no way I can. The evidence is out there, and if you seek to learn, then you can very easily access it, and I hope you do.

What concerns me much more is the indifference that we confront this subject with. When I have future conversations, I hear one of two responses. Either, "That is awesome, tell me more," but much more often, "Oh OK, computers are going to take over the world. You must live in Hollywood!"

Actually, I do live in Hollywood. And I do dream, and think, and learn, and I also like knowing where we're going so that I can can attempt to prepare myself.

It bothers me that people don't care, and not because we have differing opinions. It's as though we think this world is stagnant, and besides a new touch screen, things will always be what they have always been. This is simply not the case.

The world is changing faster than it ever has. I just read an article on CNN that claims our cell phones will soon be plugged into our brains.

And suddenly it hits me. I get it. I know why people don't want to believe it's happening! It's because this shit is scary. Legitimately scary.

Phones in brain = cyborgs = Terminator = end of the world = the Mayans were right. Self-fulfilled prophecy, BAM! Goodbye Earth!

Rest assured, if the computers ever wanted to kill us, it would take them no more than a few hours. (Yes, I said rest assured, read on...) Think about it, they'd simply shut off the lights. No phones, computers, GPS! Launch a couple nuclear missiles and then they'd have the place to themselves, and would probably be harvesting asteroids and conquering space within a month. (By the way, if you haven't seen the HUMAN mission to mine asteroids, please Google it, James Cameron is partially funding it!) Nevertheless, no reason to worry about computer takeover. Nothing we can do short of a self-inflicted trip back into the dark ages. Plus, all computer programming is directed towards accumulation of knowledge, which makes me think this will be their primary objective once conscious levels are reached, assuming we don't program them otherwise...

OK, so Terminator out of the way. What else do we have to fear? Ah yes, what will happen to humanity?! Oh the humanity! The emotions and feelings and love! If we're cyborgs, there won't be any concept of beauty left in the world!

Two things:

1) We have no way of knowing precisely what will happen with our brains. We may lose all feelings, or we might gain extra-human senses that allow for beauty to be not only recognized, but lived within.

2) Because we don't know, once again, worry has no place. I'd say you have a solid 25 to 30-year window of being "human," so I would recommend you do all the living you've ever wanted to do now, so that if the worst happens, you'll have no regrets. Use this as motivation to live life now like you've always envisioned, because it realistically could change before our eyes.

It's looking ahead that allows us to create effective constructs for living. In a time where many things are uncertain, we must individually live with an openness to change in order to feel secure in our lives. Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

My wish for humanity is that we never cease learning for fear that we will lose something important. If you've ever taken a huge risk, you know this to be one of the greatest "pay-offs" that can be experienced, regardless of the outcome.

Me personally, I can't wait to be a cyborg. Must... eat... brains... just kidding, we'll probably be drinking DW-40.

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