Not too long ago, we discussed how a number of African countries were going mobile before they could even be fitted with landlines. Cell phones are dirt cheap today and ‘wireless’ is the norm, so it’s no surprise that copper-wire infrastructures are becoming irrelevant.
The same thing is happening across other industries and applications. According to a survey commissioned by Deloitte, “keeping up with new technology” (not the Kardashians) was the #1 problem faced by IT departments at 30.2% of companies – up six points from 24.2% in 2014. Roughly a quarter of the polled companies added that the biggest hurdle was to “acquire budget” to secure new technology. The reason is simple. The landscape is so competitive that, sometimes, only new technology can give you an edge. And companies will do anything in their power to get it. However, if these numbers keeps growing every year, this means we are increasingly becoming unable to match our pace of evolution with technology.
“Death is very likely the single best invention of life”
Obsoletion is such a given that it applies to life itself. As the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs quipped during his famous Stanford commencement speech in 2005, “…death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”
If life and technology have one thing in common, it’s obsoletion. Nowhere else is this more evident than in the smartphone industry, where year after year this pocket-sized computer gets faster and more versatile, further reducing our reliance on fixed / desktop solutions. The problem is that this rapid upgrade cycle is at odds with our pace of evolution.
A one-way ticket to transhumanism
If you haven’t heard this term before, don’t worry, neither have many others. Google gives us the following definition (straight outta Wikipedia): “Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.”
Prof. Al-Rodhan, a Yale educated neuroscientist, philosopher and author, is a leading authority in transhumanism. He has written extensively on the subject, expressing the belief that humans are incapable of resisting the urge to enhance their physical and mental abilities, and that this urge will lead to what he calls “Inevitable Transhumanism’, where humans essentially become one with technology. Not too far fetched, if you ask some Sci-Fi authors.
Technology affects our lifestyle and, implicitly, our bodies – like a curved back inherited from a desk job. For millennia, we have been captive to biological boundaries that dictated how long we lived, how well we ate, or how long it took to travel somewhere. On the evolutionary calendar, only recently did we address these problems through medicine, supermarkets, and automated transportation respectively. Our bodies, however, have been slow to adapt to these changes, cancer being a primary example in the nutrition department. In our urge to advance ourselves, we are twisting nature’s arm to follow a path that it may not want to take just yet.