|Photo by: CCO Public Domain via Max Pixel|
Many people fear a future that is filled with humans as well as the scarcity of many things especially food so that governments resort to harvesting people to make food out of them called soylent green. But in reality, people start to discover new things, invent and innovate more when things are lacking, or need to be addressed. And some are able to look ahead, identifying the things that will be needed in the future.
Take James Burke, for example, he says that the world will be defined by a device which he calls the nanofabricator, as early as 2042.
The nanofabricator he says is a tiny factory wherein you put in raw materials like water, air, dirt, and some rare elements if required, whose molecules will then be torn apart and manipulated on the atomic level to then create and form what you need such as food, a new gadget, or anything else that one desires. Take millions of them and they will process a lot for us.
It's all science fiction for now but with the arrival of 3D printers, they may become a reality in the near future.
Another visionary, Alex Drexler, said to be the father of nanotechnology, has written in the 1990s about molecular assemblers which are hypothetical machines that can manipulate matter and construct molecules on the nano level which is in the realm of atoms.
The physicist Richard Feynman has also speculated in 1959 about a time when atoms can be manipulated and moved and progress has been made on this in recent years. It may well be that we will be mimicking the processes of biology to manipulate chemicals and biology for our needs.
Food, after all, is merely atoms and are mostly carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur which are all available in the dirt, in the air, and in biomass around us.
Such a machine and superintelligence will dramatically change us and the world as a result and will hopefully also free us from the drive for survival.