Why someone needs to make a "Cosmos" style show for emerging technology



If you watched Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos reboot last year, or even the original with Carl Sagan you heard a lot about human curiosity. It is true that we’re a curious species with a deep desire to understand the world and the universe we live it. That curiosity, however, is not simply a love of knowledge for its own sake. 

As a species our technology, arguably, defines us as much as anything else. We started with the tech we were born with, opposable thumbs and a big brain. However, at least 2.5 million years ago (before we were Homo sapiens) we started using those tools to make other tools, starting with simple chipped stone tools. 

Since that time the history of our species is, essentially, the history of our technology. We rose to the top of the food chain, harnessed fire to our own needs, domesticated plants and animals to serve us, we built roads, learned to travel the seas, developed medicines, learned to channel large amounts of water to areas where it was needed, learned to ‘genetically modify’ plants through selective breeding and more. This list could go on for a very long time before we even got to electricity and indoor plumbing and long before we visited the moon and invented the microchip. 

Over the last hundred years our technology has evolved at an incredible pace. My grandmother was born on a farm without running water or electricity, now she browses the web and sends email. 

The next hundred years however, are going to make it seem like we were holding still for the last hundred. Technology is going to dramatically change not only peoples lives but the nature of humanity and quite possibly our address in the solar system (at least for some). 

Unfortunately, most people have no idea what’s coming and can’t fathom the changes it will bring. 

Bionics, cybernetics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, gene manipulation, quantum computing, biomimicry, robotics, artificial intelligence, private space travel, asteroid mining, 3D printing and other technologies are going to create a world that is barely recognizable even to those of us living today. 

If things keep going on their current trajectory we will live much longer, with little or no disease, mental and physical abilities that people today would consider “super-human” and the ability to communicate, access information and control our immediate environment with our minds. 

While that is happening most of our “jobs” - the things we consider “work” will be taken over by robots and artificial intelligence. We will begin to build settlements on Mars, potentially put colonies and science stations elsewhere in the solar system and possibly beyond. 

Technology is going to change the way we work, learn, play and spend our days. It is going to change not only the economy but the perception of what we “need”. It is going to change the length and quality of our lives as well as what we expect from them and from one another. 

At the rate medical science is advancing it is entirely possible that most of the people reading this will be here to see it all. 

Most people reading this won’t believe a word of it, which is the point. 

In 2014 Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey explained, in easily understandable terms, where we come from and the universe we live in (to the extent that we currently understand it). The show pulled in a remarkable 3-5 million viewers per week. 

Now we need a similar show to explain to people where we’re going and the technologies that are going to get us there. If people do not understand these technologies on, at least, a basic level it is going to lead to confusion, suspicion and potentially chaos. 

As of December, Neil deGrasse Tyson and the producers of Cosmos were eyeing a season 2. I have no idea what it will be about but we definitely need a companion to explain the flip side of science. Now that we've covered where we are and where we came from, we need to talk about where we're going from here.

While we're at it we need to dispel some of the myths about technology and, most importantly, the idea that human technology is 'unnatural'. If human technology isn't part of nature, then we parted ways from nature shortly after we climbed down from the trees. 
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