Once we’re able to decipher our minds, our memories, and everything that makes us unique as individuals, we’ll be able to transfer our minds into digital form.
This will basically make us immortal, and I think the next stage is to share knowledge among all of us that are digital.
Once we’re all sharing common knowledge, I don’t see why we will be considered individuals anymore. I think there will be some vestiges that remain for a while, as a matter of tradition, or of respect for what we used to be, but it seems like we’d evolve out of that as well and inevitably end up at a single post-human life form.
The interesting part is that I think most civilizations will do the same. I think it’s a matter of stages of development.
These stages map to challenges. At first the challenge is to be created at all, from the primordial soup. Then it’s to evolve. Then it’s to beat out your animal competitors. Then it’s to avoid being destroyed by disease. Then there are meteors. Then you have to not destroy yourself with nuclear and biological warfare.
So now, as a civilization, you’ve made it to say level 6 or so. The next level is to not get eradicated by an aggressive superintelligence before you merge with it.
But let’s say you get there. You’ve created super intelligence, you’ve evolved your humanity to merge with it, and now you’re just one superinteligent being with all the knowledge and experiences of the human race.
On earth, let’s call ours Huma.
So we’re on earth, we’ve probably explored the solar system and maybe even populated it decently well with other extensions of ourselves.
But our next problem is non-trivial to solve. The Sun is going to burn out, and it’s going to destroy the earth. That means no more energy. That means death.
So we have to find another star. We have to find another home. We have to find more energy.
This is the true essence of life: the struggle to overcome, to be victorious, to survive, and to expand. It’s the same with battling against other animals in the African plains as it is looking to find another star before ours burns out.
I think we can assume that the universe is full of civilizations on this path. Single, super intelligent entities that have the history of their evolution within them, who are conquering the next challenge. That challenge is likely to be finding good planets with good stars, and planning for the future.
The most advanced of them, perhaps together with thousands or millions of others, will be working on the final challenge. The final challenge of course is avoiding the Heat Death of the universe, and it’s the hardest problem in the world.
I imagine a federation of superintelligences, representing millions of civilizations, each with billions of years of evolution, roaming around the universe trying to solve the Final Problem.
A few of them have decided to unite and become part of Uni, which is the combined super intelligence that has all the experiences of all joined civilizations. Many more will join, but only after they are comfortable enough with their own identities that they’re willing to absorb them into a greater whole.
- I could see writing some fiction in this universe, where some civilizations are part of Uni, some are close to it, but then there are many that are just starting. Some are mid-level and they prey on the early ones, so when early-tech life forms send out SETI signals, two types of groups respond: the ones going to destroy and pillage them, and the defenders who go to prevent that from happening.
- I’d love to read a series based on the Early Tech Defense Force (ETDF) that responds to SETI signals like fire calls and immediately goes to protect them from pillagers.