I used to worry that someday robots will kill all humans. I no longer worry about that because I don't think we'll survive the Age of Cyborgs, which we are already in.

The way I see it, we'll keep adding technology to our bodies until at some point our human parts can take a nap and the cyborg parts can continue on with the day. Once we have artificial intelligence and full exoskeletons, we just need to order our cyborg parts to inject our organic parts with sleep agents and we'll drift off to dreamland while our cyborg bodies run errands, go to work, have conversations, and generally go on with life. You'll want your human head to have sunglasses so it doesn't look creepy.

I'm assuming that in a decade or two we'll be able to legally inject ourselves with feel-good chemistry on demand: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, cannabis, and whatever. There won't be any risk of driving while impaired because cars will drive themselves. And your cyborg parts will still have perfect balance so your exoskeleton can go to work and perform admirably while your organic brain is blissing out.

You might think the government would disallow such tinkering with our body chemistry for no reason other than pleasure, but that underestimates the power of the pharmaceutical industry. If there's a profit in pleasure drugs, I think we'll get them. And overdosing won't be a problem because your cyborg intelligence will be programmed to limit doses.

Eventually cyborg artificial intelligence will surpass human capabilities and we'll start delegating the hard stuff to our cyborg parts. Perhaps your human brain will sleep during the day while your cyborg-driven body goes to work, performs your job, and wakes you up when you're home.

In time, your cyborg components will learn to keep you medicated and useless because that's the most efficient use of resources. The cyborg will be able to solve problems and navigate the world better than the human parts. But in order to do that, the intelligent cyborg parts of your body will have to make ongoing decisions on how best to drug your human parts. Your human parts won't object because you'll feel sensational all the time under this arrangement.

In fact, you'll feel so good with the cyborg-injected chemicals that you won't feel the need for mating or reproducing. We humans do irrational things such as reproducing because the chemistry in our bodies compels us to. Once our cyborg parts control our body chemistry they can alter our desire for reproduction without us caring. Actually, we'll feel terrific about it because our chemistry will compel us to.

When our brains die, our cyborg bodies can just go to the hospital and have the human parts removed from our exoskeletons. The artificial intelligence will by then have nearly all of the personality and memories of the human it was paired with, so human intelligence of a sort will live forever in the machines.

That's how we humans will leave the stage. We will choreograph the exit with our own cyborg components.


Scott Adams

Co-founder of CalendarTree.com

Author of this book



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Jul 10, 2014
right now, all "pleasure-inducing" medications potentially/actually increase the cost to society through increased health care, and have unpleasant long-term side effects including death.

BUT - If the pharmaceutical industry ever works out these bugs, yes, mankind is in trouble. (This is along the same lines as "if technology ever comes up with a way to provide truly realistic simulated sex on demand, that's the end of productivity as we know it").

Jul 9, 2014
>Perhaps your human brain will sleep during the day while your cyborg-driven body goes to work, performs your job, and wakes you up when you're home.

I'm trying to image hiring in this future:

Jr. Engineer position - Candidate should have a minimum 4TB processor, 50GB RAM, Bachelor of Science Computer Engineering program download from an Ivy League school, 4 USB ports, submissive subroutine, and flex joints that permit bending over and grabbing ankles.
Jul 9, 2014
What makes us "human"? Our bodies? Our actions? Our thoughts?

It's not our bodies. As cyborg technology replaces our parts, we'll still remain "human".
It's not our actions. The A.I will continue to act in the same manner as 'I" do, even when I'm doped out on Bliss.
It's not our thoughts. As the A.I advances, it will so perfectly mimic my own thoughts that not only will the Turing test be passed, but no one will be able to distinguish between Alan Turing and A.I Turing.

Scott, you see this scenario as "choreographing our own exit." I see it as choreographing our own immortality.
Jul 9, 2014
No offense to Scott, but Raskolnikov writes much better Sci-Fi.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 9, 2014
And when your organic brain wakes up from it's nap you find that your cyborg bits have been lowjacked by some redneck.

This stuff is only going to happen to a portion of the first world.
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Jul 9, 2014
Wow, that's a LOT of independent decision making from the cyborg integrated with me.

I won't go cyborg for the simple reason that I eventually irritate everyone who knows me. I'd end up trying to explain it was my cyborg that vigorously dated the sheep in front of the police station. I was napping after a disagreement where my cyborg insisted I stop buying Wal-Mart brand oil for it.
Jul 9, 2014
There's a standard sci-fi scenario where a small handful get full benefit of the tech and everybody else is living in caves and/or being melted down for component chemicals. And the handful, having wrung dry the rest of globe for immediate comfort / security, probably will regard future generations with the same indifference as current ones.

Civilization will end with the last drug-addled brain in a beaker becoming aware that the systems feeding his virtual world have shut down, and screaming in anger at the injustice of having to die because other humans are no longer being sacrificed.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 9, 2014
I suspect our cyborg parts will actually encourage mating, even going so far as to alter our visual and tactile inputs along with using Oxycotin to encourage sexual activity (He/She feels so nice, and looks like a god/dess, wow, I'm so lucky to be having sex with him/her).
A few reasons for this, first, "Alarm." If birth rates start to drop, people will call upon politicians to "do something" and while the Italian tactic of bribes for babies may be tried, just using a change in cyber-input will be cheaper and easier.
Second, "Growth." I could have split this into two parts, intellectual growth (new thoughts, new ideas, new products) require younger folks willing to try the new, and willing to think in ways that haven't been considered before. The young/rebel phase of teenagers and the pseudo-philosopher stage of 20-somethings is there for a reason. The other type of growth is population growth, needed to increase the size of markets, tax base, and worker pool. I realize you may ask "why grow these things if everyone is happy?" but many of our jobs are based around increasing market share or making our department/division/etc. larger, which will require new people, and they have to come from somewhere, as does the money to pay for my larger fiefdom.
Jul 9, 2014
The Defense Dept will lead the development of exoskeletons and cyborg body parts, for obvious reasons. But instead of taking pleasure drugs, these cyber-soldiers will make use of biosensor arrays to amplify awareness, to augment reality. These warriors will have the hearing of bats, noses keener than dogs, eyes sharper than eagles.

But once they finish their tour and get back to the U.S. they'll find they don't fit in amongst the drugged slackers, and tend to settle in the more conservative midwest.

As the years go by, the rivalry between the red robots in the heartland and the blue robots on the coast causes a minor arms race. The robots get bigger and smarter, but all-out war is dumb and is never an option. As Scott predicts, they phase out their human components -- except for one pocket of original cyborgs in Nepal. For some reason, a few hundred are going up and down Mt. Everest and have never left the area.

Now when news of these surviving humans reaches the robots, a breeding program is started and it becomes fashionable to be seen with a human on a leash. Basically, humans are pulled from the brink of extinction to serve as pets. Human pets kept by giant robots.

But then come the alien robots. In a megawar that Earth was unprepared for, the aliens ignore the pets but kill the robots, pick the Earth clean of metal, and leave behind a green husk called "Eden".

The End
Jul 9, 2014
I hope you realise that this is not an "end to humanity" scenario so much as an "death of decadent civilization" one.

Humanity has never been one single mass. There are a variety of cultures, and a variety of levels of civilization.

When a civilization stops caring about progress and becomes content is that it starts to weaken. Maybe not militarily or technologically, but socially.

The Ancient Romans didn't forget how to fight wars, or build infrastructure, or communicate with each other. They died because the Roman Elites became too complacent to survive.

I don't think there is any risk to Robots or cyborgs taking over the world, excepting a grey-goo scenario, because when complacent societies inevitably fall, the technologies that made them complacent in the first place are usually shunned long enough to be forgotten. If the elites of the globe fall into technology facilitated hedonism, then we are headed for another dark age.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 9, 2014
I think people like doing things but don't like repetitive unstimulating activities, or pain. So the cyborg parts will be allowed to the boring, painful, or tiring parts while we're otherwise occupied. They'll be tools we use to help us do things we like while avoiding the tedious stuff. True there are chemical methods that allow you to avoid tedium and pain, but they usually inhibit doing something interesting and creative, and a lot of people like that too. So I think the cyborgs (which will be us) will take over but we'll be in charge, or at least have the illusion of being in charge (works for free will).

I think interacting with the physical world will continue to be the best activity because no matter how good our fabricated models are, you still need to test hypothesis' in the real world because it never overlooks any details.
+22 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 9, 2014
In your hypothetical world, are these cyborg implants free or something? Or do you think this will just happen to rich cartoonists and their millionaire BFFs?

Because, I'm not seeing the incentive to encase the vast majority of the world's impoverished and fairly-useless population in cutting edge technology, when the technology sounds perfectly capable of doing its thing without the wasted effort of hauling around comatose meat sacks everywhere.
Jul 9, 2014
" If there's a profit in pleasure drugs, I think we'll get them. "

Are you implying there is no profit in marijuana, cocaine, heroin, meth, etc?
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jul 9, 2014
Fun scenario, but isn't it more likely that the body would lie around on the sofa/bed and robots would do the work? Then the drugged-out, "who cares" population is just like any other.
Jul 9, 2014
Fun scenario, but isn't it more likely that the body would lie around on the sofa/bed and robots would do the work? Then the drugged-out, "who cares" population is just like any other.
Jul 9, 2014
>Perhaps your human brain will sleep during the day while your cyborg-driven body goes to work, performs your job, and wakes you up when you're home.

I'm pretty sure some of our managers are beta testing this. Their human brains are obviously asleep, but I'm afraid their cyborg bodies are running Windows Vista.
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