7 Optimistic Scenarios for the Future of Our Planet

earth mankind futureVisions of future depicted by science fiction writers and futurists usually include atomic explosion, killer robots on tracks or zombie apocalypse. And this is justified since we do not take adequate care of our environment, new technologies are not always good of mankind and people of the world are at war with each other without the robots present.
But we cannot be too sure that the history of human civilization will end in such a grim way. Finding ways to avoid premonitions of popular sci-fi stories and apocalyptic dystopian novels may help us envision distant future that may look much brighter. Below we examine seven most optimistic scenarios for the development of mankind.

1. Status quo

This is perhaps the most boring, but the most likely scenario of the future.

In books with such “hopeful” titles as “Our Final Hour” and others, British astrophysicist Martin Rees, Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom and English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking claim that humanity does not stand a chance to survive even till the start of the next century. Maintaining the current level of our civilization (which simply constitutes our ultimate survival) can by itself be considered a positive result. Chances are that we have already reached the highest point in our development.

In 1992, American political economist Francis Fukuyama wrote a book entitled “The End of History and the Last Man“. He hypothesized that the political, technological and economic model of the early 90s is the last frontier in the history of mankind. The new millennium proved Fukuyama’s fallacy.

A more realistic scenario of maintaining the status quo was proposed by the former head of the research department of Sun Microsystems Bill Joy. In 2000 he published an essay in the Wired magazine titled “Why the future doesn’t need us“. The article claimed that the most advanced technologies of the XXI century such as robotics, genetic engineering and nanotechnology are dangerous to humans as biological species. Joy called for a conscious abstinence from dangerous technologies similar to the model of nuclear disarmament. Neo-Luddite position, according to Joy, is the most relevant strategy against dystopia and the extinction of mankind. The sooner we stop developing dangerous technologies for ourselves, the longer and happier our future will be.

2. Blooming Green Earth

In most of sci-fi scenarios, Earth appears to be depicted as a planet-metropolis encased in steel and concrete. The worst nightmare for environmentalists is the future where technology completely replaces Earth’s biosphere.



But there is another option. A future in which nature is far more lush and picturesque than we can ever imagine. New philosophies of environmentalism and trans-humanism  advocate the development of technologies that will help restore the environment. Nano- and biotechnologies will be utilized for cleaning up landfills and industrial waste disposal sites. And in the distant future it will become possible to terraform Earth back to its pristine state.

The earliest manifestation of this sort of philosophy is a report by the American science fiction writer Bruce Sterling dated October 14, 1998 and published in San Francisco. The founder of cyberpunk has come up with the idea of “Emerald design“. It combined the ideas of eco-design, technological progress and cosmopolitanism. Simply put, Sterling argued that in order to combat environmental problems, humanity must use the most advanced technologies and work together.

green earthIn 2008, Bruce Sterling officially terminated the “Emerald design” movement to pave the way for more advanced Internet-based ideology called “Bright green environmentalism“.

In the distant future, our planet can become more ecologically diversified than it has ever been. Humans would have to be genetically modified so that they would not interfere with the overall harmony of natural environment. All of the energy needs of humanity will be completely satisfied, and we will become the type one civilization according to the Kardashev scale.

Some environmentalists promote modifying the Earth’s ecosystems as to eliminate predators so that herbivores would not suffer. We would be able to control the weather. And we would finally be able to resist natural disasters such as asteroids, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Who would want to trade a planet like this for some distant planets in space?

3. Under the supervision of machines

It is quite likely that technological singularity will lead to extinction of humans as species. The next generation of artificial intelligence (which may appear as early as in thirty years) can become so unfathomable to our understanding that we will not be able to coexist on the same planet. Destruction of mankind by machines may occur intentionally, accidentally or even by our own fault.

But machine superpower can lead to the opposite result. The possibility that artificial intelligence can be the key to utopia for humanity has brought to life the movement called trans-humanism.

Trans-humanists (and especially their singularian ideology) generally agree with Cayferom from “The Matrix. The mankind will feel much more comfortable and safer inside a friendly system built by AI. If designers and programmers start working on the development of friendly artificial intelligence now, new Asimov-type generation of machines may eventually appear, which, in principle, may be incapable of harming humans. They will become our protectors and patrons. We will let them care about the Earth, while we will peacefully roam virtual jungles inhabited by mechanical animals.

4. Space

Sooner or later we will have to leave Earth and start the colonization of other solar systems. This will ensure our survival (it is not a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket) since humanity has always had an inherent desire to move forward. After reaching beyond geographical boundaries and biological limitations (we cannot fly and are very bad swimmers), we have secured the further development of our civilization. This led to technological, social, political and economic changes in society.

Even with the current, very modest achievements in space exploration, we ended up with satellite technologies and important discoveries in the field of natural science. And what about the high-resolution picture from the Mars surface?… If we can manage to be able to travel interstellar distances, this will become a significant breakthrough. Perhaps it will be an achievement not only for mankind, but also for all living beings in our galaxy.

Presently, we exist in the galaxy devoid of visible traces of any activity of alien beings. This allowed theoretical physicist Enrico Fermi rightfully ask: “Well, where are all those other civilizations“? So if we do start to travel to other stars and planets, then we may become the first and only civilization capable of such distant space travel.

5. Virtual Reality

universe realityTechnological singularity may lead to a situation when all of us will be loaded into the memory of supercomputers. This can be done without abandoning the space travel.

But supercomputers must be very large. Such as the matrioshka-type brain concept “invented” by the late American trans-humanist Robert Bradbury. This space mega-structure consists of several Dyson spheres. Each sphere has a nano-computer of a molecular-scale size. All these spheres are built around the star and get the energy for computation from the energy exchange occurring between the star and the interstellar space. This will allow the computer to simulate reality, which is not inferior, but even better in its level of resolution compared to the world around us.

According to Bradbury’s ideas, a single matrioshka brain can perform 1042 operations per second. Professor of mechanical engineering at MIT Seth Lloyd proposed a draft of a quantum system, which can perform 5×1050 logical operations per second with the bit resolution of 1031 bits. Compared to the worlds that can be generated by this system, our old analogue-based universe may seem slow, boring and primitive.

6. Eternal Rest

Most of the world’s religions invented afterlife utopias. And how else could they encourage their followers to behave appropriately in the real world? Religion is the expression of human ideas about the ideal level of existence. Nowadays, much fewer people seriously believe in existence of heaven or afterlife. But this does not mean that we should abandon the idea of creating heaven on Earth using technology.

British philosopher David Pearce calls this the principle of “Hedonistic Imperative“. He and other trans-humanists-abolitionists call for creation of heaven on earth by means of advanced biotechnology. Using psychopharmacology and genetic engineering we can rid mankind of pain and provide comfortable existence, as well as to come up with some kind of a signal system to receive notifications about the health of the body.

More progressive hedonism-related ideas suggest ways to increase the number of psychological, emotional and physical pleasures human consciousness is able to experience. For those raised under strict moral and restrictive conditions, Pierce’s concept may seem outrageous and even immoral. But in reality, we all want just that at the level of metaphysics. We all want as much pleasure from life as possible with as fewer problems along the way.

7. Cosmological Transcendence

This could be a scenario with the greatest long-term outlook beyond the limits of human imagination. Here again, there is a certain risk of falling into philosophy and metaphysics (forget about hedonism), but some vague possibilities are still worth considering.

space-future-cityAmerican futurist John Smart suggested that the most complex systems in the universe use less and less space, time, matter and energy to enter the next level of their evolution. This applies to galaxies, stars, planets, environmental and technological systems. Human civilization is no exception. Ultimately, our destiny is to leave this universe and put our collective consciousness in a completely different dimension. For example, inside one of black holes.

Robert Lanza, professor of the Institute of Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University, proposes a different theory. Lanza suggests that our universe is in its early stage of development and in the future intelligent life can begin managing the universe. As a result, the very nature of the universe will undergo changes. It will become biocentric, and biological life will be in charge of creating the surrounding reality and time.

Here, we may easily get into the possibility of time travel and exploiting the effects of quantum cohesiveness. So little we know about the structure of the universe at this point, that in the future mankind can be faced with opportunities, which we cannot possibly imagine today.



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Anna LeMind

Anna LeMind

Anna is the founder and lead editor of the website Learning-mind.com. She is passionate about learning new things and reflecting on thought-provoking ideas. She writes about science, psychology and other related topics. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe.
By | 2017-01-13T21:53:02+00:00 December 15th, 2013|Categories: Earth, Futurism & Technology, Universe|Tags: , , , , , , |5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Not True January 21, 2014 at 12:49 am - Reply

    Humans won’t survive the next 100 years, and likely, over half of all humans will be dead by 2050. The sci-fi futuristic scenarios depicted and fantasy filled delusions are complete b.s. The environment is collapse extremely rapidly now. Starvation is imminent for many countries. Resource depletion, pollution, pathogens increased resistance to treatment, escalating levels of human diseases, widespread species extinctions, there are many very valid reasons why civilization will utterly collapse in just a few decades. Climate change all by itself will destroy most of humanity and the biosphere, latest projections are at least 6C – 8C and as high as 11C temperature increases. Nothing survives under those temps, no plants can live, no food can be grown. Nothing is being done to mitigate this.

  2. WTF people May 16, 2014 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    too much money invested in wars, too less in improving our way of life. We’ve gained so much power through technology that we have the wrong impression that we could do anything, that we are above all other species and this will be our downfall. We forget about our deep connection with nature and we create smal world for ourselves where superficial things are important and just “fuck the rest”. Humans are the architects of their own doom because they only see the danger closest to them and not the one in the distance.

  3. Truth May 17, 2014 at 12:27 am - Reply

    I completely agree with not true. Technology will either save us or kill us, but that is only true of course if we don’t kill ourselves first. Nature is dying at an alarmingly rapid rate and we too often forget we are an inherent part of the animal kingdom, so if it goes, we go no matter what technology we have. We also forget the douchebag international incestuous royal and banking families who are hell bent on world and then universal domination. Rey Kurzweil (Zionist if not satanist) says so himself “man will awaken god.” The sheer arrogance is astounding. Human integration with technology is fine if it serves ALL of humanity and ALL of nature. If its purpose is to separate man from nature (which will cause man’s extinction) then it serves no one except the insane god-complex multi billionaire luciferians who want to “wake up god” with their singularity concept. It’s fucking bull shit. Anything that serves only a select group, no matter if that group is a billion people (excluding 7-10 billion people) it is wrong and should be discarded. Also we need to focus on our current social, evironmental, philosophical and geopolitical (all intimately related) problems, otherwise speculation of a grand future for mankind is pointless.

  4. Robin May 17, 2014 at 9:26 am - Reply

    @Not True Don’t lose hope immediately, you don’t know yet what is going to happen, unless you have the ability to see into the future of course 😉 I know things look real bad now if you look at the governments and the behaviour of the mainstream “consumers”. But if you look at the positive side, you can see that all over the world people are starting to become more conscious about what they are en where they live. People start to realise that they are creators and are only limited by their beliefs. This is a good thing because it would enable us to change the world 😉
    I think the Mayans were right about 2012 in some way, because now is the time that our consciousness is changing and the time that we’ll either destroy ourselves or turn things around. And maybe this system must collapse on itself first before we can rebuild our new utopia society in harmony with nature and ourselves.
    I Don’t mean to flame you with this reaction btw, and in some ways i agree with you, because things are not well at this moment 😉
    But I just think it’s important to not lose your hope!

  5. ^^^ May 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Not with that attitude, a negative mind will do no good for anything

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7 Optimistic Scenarios for the Future of Our Planet