“When the boundary between magic and science had blurred until it was unrecognizable”
This a review of four books in one, they are small books, all interconnected and therefore makes sense to review them as one. It is the Post-Human series by David Simpson which has been an indie success in amazon kindle.
The story is inspired, I think, by Ray Kurzweil ‘s Singularity – a hypothetical moment in the future when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence, signalling the dawn of a new civilization that will enable humans to transcend their biological limitations and amplify their creativity.
It is an interesting story, it takes place in the future in a span of about 70-75 years. With the help of a superior A.I., humans have achieved the ultimate in human progress, they have gained immortality. They are Post-Humans. It is an action-based story, but also philosophical and sophisticated. As humans progress toward post-humans states, their ability to make choices unconstrained by genes and environment, to transform themselves, increases and this is a good thing because they are able to overcome all humans limitations. Defeating death makes them free.
Many questions raised during the reading, somehow similar to the questions and dilemmas that E.O. Wilson has raised almost forty years ago, in his brilliant work On Human Nature.
Where do we want to go as species?
“It could be that in the next hundred years” wrote E.O. Wilson, “humankind will thread the needles of technology and politics, solve the energy and materials crises, avert nuclear war, and control reproduction…But what then? Educated people everywhere like to believe that beyond material needs lie fulfilment and the realization of individual potential. But what is fulfilment, and to what ends may potential be realized?”
In the third book of the series Trans-human, the A.I. asks
“Tell me, James, what is the purpose of life?”
“I.. I don’t really know, “ James replied.
“That’s true, “ the A.I. agreed, “you truly don’t know. Yet you’ve given a great deal of thought to the subject and eliminated some of the false purposes othes have found to fill the void created by not knowing the purpose of humanity. You know the purpose of life is obviously not, for instance, gaining material wealth. Nor it is sexual pleasure. Other activities may seen to be purposes because of their positive outcomes, such as procreation. Religion is the prime example of a false purpose that fills in for real purpose as humanity continued to struggle for answers. ….. Why do none of these examples qualify as true purposes James?”
“Because, ultimately, they lead nowhere,” James replied. “None of them advance the species. The pnly one that even close is having children, but all that amounts to is putting your resources into training the next generation in hopes that they will find a higher purpose or achieve something great – it amounts to passing responsibility to the future.”
….. “Maybe so,” Jim responded, “but if the species had never had children in the past, we wouldn’t be here to even have this conversation.”
“True,” the A.I confirmed, “and therefore, it was a means of fullfiling an eventual purpose, but it was never the purpose itself. Sharing the experience of life with new beings of your own creation is a generous and fulfilling endeavour, but it is not the purpose of existence. … All species can procreate, but with no intelligence behind it, it simply buys more time. Now that we longer need to buy time, it does not advance the purpose.”
“And what’s this purpose?” Katherine demanded.
The A.I. turned to James. “What has been the path you have followed James?”
“The pursuit of knowledge” James replied
“How is that any more purposeful that having children?” Katherine retorted
“It is because it moves species forward,” the A.I. replied. The acquisition of knowledge, propels the species. …..
….. “She’s right about one thing though,” James conceded. “The pursue of knowledge isn’t a purpose either. It may be a means to an eventual end, just as procreation was, but what is the end?”
The plot is simple but the concept is interesting. It is an engaging story and I really enjoyed reading all four books. In my opinion, the third and the forth are the best. While reading it, I kept thinking about the evolution of humanity and the meaning of existence. I am now reading the fifth book of the series, Inhuman, a few great ideas as well, it really takes your thinking to the next level. I will try to write a few things about it.
Here a short film where you can get a taste of a world where everyone is immortal, have onboard mental “mind’s eye” computers, nanotechnology can make your every dream a reality, and thanks to the magnetic targeted fusion implants every post-human has, everyone can actually fly. Enjoy!