Entangled in the Web

Yfke Laanstra

It was spring 2017. My book 'Bits, Bytes & Bewustzijn' was finished, my writing work was done. It had found its way into the book stores and my message had been made accessible to the general public. In the form of a book with a free app. I remember very well that I realized the moment that it was finished. I wanted to rewrite another chapter, but all I had to say at the time had been said and it was in the right chronological order. I had just typed the last lines and with a huge smile on my face I proudly called my mother. 'It's done,' I yelled on the phone.

What a unique experience and what a relief to be able to put so much in perspective, to have so much empty space at my disposal to be able to outline a larger framework. About my passion for the cutting edge of consciousness and computer technology. How very helpful for myself, because this made it even easier for me to navigate and increased the urgency even more to bring this out to the public.

But the things I would realise about my book only months later were painfully confrontational and embarrassingly ironic. Even somewhat hilarious.

It actually started as early as during the preparations for the book launch. The build-up to this was one big drowning process. I was unable to steer churning streams of data in the right direction. I spent months reconciling in slides, information and research into finding that perfect image and that perfect structure. Day in, day out, I locked myself in my office, behind my screen, with yet another mind map in the works. Once in a while waves of inspiration came and I tried frantically to capture these in a framework. In vain. As soon as I tried, the inspiration would ebb away again and I would continue to struggle in persistent pools of despair. In the end I decided to relax a bit and trust in a positive outcome and was still able to unwind a bit on the day of the launch. But it was pointless: during the presentation I died a thousand times and I wished that I could crawl under my rock again, behind my safe laptop, in endless online surfing sessions. A tsunami of self-doubt, insecurity and judgment flooded me. Despite the positive reactions and the subsequent invitations to lectures. However, my fierce inner critic refused to make any positive statement. It was an intense experience, but fortunately, 24 hours later, I had picked myself up again: after all, an opportunity for growth had offered itself. I proceeded with courage. Many lectures followed and the experiences varied from being completely in my sweet spot to utter displacement and everything in between. Until at a certain moment I realized that I was hiding behind a beamer, in the shadow of technology, and didn't really show myself. I got the feeling I was stuck in a concept, in a format that didn't suit me. Allowing myself to be led by existing perceptions of technology and (unconsciously) helping to propagate them. But this wasn't my narrative. I didn't want to just warn humanity about technology, help strengthen some kind of polarity or herald the end of the world. I wanted to highlight the start of a new reality, where humanity and technology can go hand in hand. That is, with humanity at the wheel and consciousness as the key.

I became stuck, incredibly frustrated, tripped and fell. In the autumn I decided to unplug and reconnect to myself. I realised that I was running after my own book and hadn't (yet) taken the time to allow that what I had written down to sink into me deeply. To reflect on this and to mark my own position in it. The irony was, apparently this was not consciously necessary either: this process had already started at an unconscious level. I had bypassed myself, stumbled and had fallen on my head. My head that was really stuffed. To the point where I noticed that I was increasingly unable to properly concentrate, drowned in my own thoughts and was quickly overwhelmed. As in a bad joke I had to think back to the remarks in my own book about the emergence of new disorders such as Infobesitas.

Infobesitas
This is also referred to as data smog. An excessive intake of data, an information overload that leads to data congestion and decision-making stress and to an excessive stimulation of the senses.

However, as time went by, I couldn't really see the sense of humour any more. Before writing my book, I had already acknowledged to myself and my newsletter subscribers that I was addicted to my smartphone. At the time I thought that I had acknowledged this to its full extent. Perhaps a little light bulb should have been lit when my soul mate gave me a t-shirt with the text 'I love you more than wifi' ;)
Soon after the actual full extent became painfully clear to me. When I reread my own book, many paragraphs suddenly pinpointed some sore spots. Some very sore spots. I had to admit to myself that in some parts of the book I was totally describing myself.
Passages about the importance of spending time in nature, exercising, incorporating tranquility and relinquishing from spending time on your computer every now and then in order to recharge and reconnect to oneself. About how excessive computer use particularly activates your left hemisphere, keeps you occupied in your head, out of touch with your body. The negative health effects of the radiation. The possible addiction to smartphones, social media and the internet. The internet, the digital heroin. Ouch, how confronting. For someone like me who prefers to be glued to her laptop all day, endlessly surfing the internet and in the evening with the same ease switching over to her smartphone and smart TV. Who is very difficult to get outside and to get physically active. Whose world is mostly inside her head. Connected to the cosmos, sure enough. But where my strength is, there is also my biggest pitfall.

The other day I jokingly said to my partner: I am a Millennial who was born just a little too early. Millennials, also called Generation Y, are the generation that born between 1980 and 2000. In a world where the smartphone and the internet are commonplace and almost everything is available at the push of a button. A generation that is not known for its patience and that is based on convenience and instant gratification. Luck and friends can be 'ordered' online and no mountain is too high, until they have to climb it by themselves. From the beginning of this digital era I have embraced technology, I have become close friends with it. I'm also not known for my patience and expect instant results. I find it incredibly difficult to work steadily and over a long period of time at something, the smallest thing makes me change course or throw in the towel. Moreover, I am high-sensitive, very easily distracted and bored, always looking for the next big thing. New ideas, new input. This often results in an endless merry-go-round, looking for the perfect entry, the perfect perspective, the perfect design. In addition, I want to make a difference and also have big ambitions. Altogether more or less a recipe to actually get little done and, with an overactive inner critic, becoming frustrated and burned out. Another feature that Millennials are known for. 

I move about online just as easily, maybe even easier than offline, with the risk of getting more and more out of touch with the 'real', analogue reality. Given my insatiable hunger for knowledge, need for understanding and for analysis. My laptop, smartphone and tablet with wifi connection are willing, always available and they never complain. So much was clear by now: I had become entangled in the (worldwide) web. The web of which I had written extensively myself. Not overnight, but gradually. Like a virtual assassin. I had become more and more absorbed in it and got caught up in it, losing myself in the process. The big spider was lurking, ready to strike. Suddenly I realised: that's why the subject matter touched me like it did, of course, when I started to delve into it. That's what made me go deeper into it in the first place, on a subconscious level. Apparently this was my way of self-exploration. A painfully confrontational self-exploration.

In my book I talk explicitly about the importance of being human, with all its virtues such as empathy, love and attention. To explore what it actually means to be Human and I urge the reader in the chapter Slow Tech to guard this. To make sure that technology is and remains of service to this. Especially in the time in which we live today. It is this being Human, with its full emotional spectrum, that seems to be my biggest challenge. More than ever, because digital temptations are looming. And they are screaming for my attention. Increasingly I recognise how very dangerous this smartphone can be, if used unconsciously, and what really happens in and around us through these Smart technologies. How I increasingly drifted away from myself. How your and my attention and perception of reality are hacked. What the impact is on our social and professional lives and more importantly: on the connection to ourselves. By now I have come to realise that I am an experiential expert and I feel an even greater sense of urgency in getting this message across. Even I underestimated it to such an extent. Hugely underestimated it. For now my focus is on learning to use technology in a conscious manner and reclaiming my time and attention. This will enable me to consciously focus on what really matters to me.

And what I found somewhat hilarious? That all of this is actually so obvious that it seems like the proverbial elephant in the room. The thing we all know but nobody dares to say out loud. Let's first focus on our relationship with what we're all carrying in our pocket, instead of at this stage worrying about how artificial intelligence might herald the end of mankind. This is something that we will have to deal with at a later stage. First things first.

The biggest challenge of our time is not so much that robots will take over but that we have to make sure we don't become one ourselves.

Even when I write this, I feel that this touches me deeply. To me this is such a painful notion and I see this happening in and around me all the time. Even subtly promoted in the media: in films, games and series. Change can only start when you are aware of what's going on, of what needs to be addressed. After all, you can't change what you haven't yet acknowledged.

Today, I have adjusted my course, my priorities. Will you move along with me?

 

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Intelligence in the age of Consciousness

Yfke Laanstra

When we talk about intelligence levels within leadership and organizational development, we are all familiar with the abbreviations and meanings of IQ (cognitive), EQ (emotional), SQ (spiritual) and FQ (physical). Over time, more and more attention has been paid to self-knowledge and the development of so-called soft skills, to listening to our intuition and the signs of our body. We increasingly act from a holistic vision, in the sense that we recognise emotional, spiritual and mental (energy) bodies as well as our physical bodies. Bodies that each absorb, process and generate ( perceivable ) output.

From IQ to AI
However, in the information-driven age in which we find ourselves today, these quotients are put under pressure and we are challenged to redefine which of them are of real importance and when. For us as human beings: in the world, on the planet and in the society in which we live. On a macro and on a micro level. And more importantly: whether this interpretation, with all of our ongoing insights, is still sufficient. We are increasingly confronted with (self-learning) systems, computers and algorithms that far surpass us in terms of our ability to absorb and process knowledge (read: IQ). Artificial Intelligence (AI) has since arrived and is developing at a rapid speed.

'Within ten years we will be able to buy computers that match the calculating power of our own brain, and less than twenty five years later we will have computers with the capacity of all human brains combined.'

~ from 'Bits, Bytes & Bewustzijn'.


Data is the new oil: an enormous amount of data about us is being generated, collected and analysed. However, the map is not the territory, there is so much more that cannot (yet) be measured, interpreted or observed (in and around us) by contemporary science.

'We move from data to information to knowledge to wisdom. Data isn't real knowledge'.

By means of algorithms, however, AI is now able to read, predict and thus influence our behaviour, beliefs, preferences and opinions almost flawlessly. Just think of the Cambridge Analytica scandal surrounding the American presidential elections.

From EQ to LovingAI

'We are faced with the challenge that machines are becoming more and more human and that people are increasingly resembling machines'.

Over the years, the emphasis has shifted to the development of our EQ and SQ: our ability to empathise, be compassionate, be fully present with the other person, and be in touch with our deeper knowledge, our intuition. However, the rise of the smartphone has in many cases (partly) offset this development as we have collectively spent more time behind screens than in face-to-face contact with each other. We are becoming more and more addicted to, or dependent on, computer technology. Technologies that anchor us more and more in our heads, in time, in the material, increasingly disconnected from our feelings and from the world around us. Our streetscape and social life are increasingly dominated by people immersed in their smartphones, often referred to as zombification. Statistics worldwide show that we are more connected than ever, but that as a collective we have never felt so alone.

In addition to Smart, many systems are now becoming Kind (EQ, https://lovingai.org). Artificial intelligence is becoming able to read our facial expressions through cameras, to interpret micro-signals and from there to respond to our feelings. Microsignals such as perspiration levels, temperature and hormone fluctuations. In addition, it can also read microsignals in our voice via microphones, by means of voice recognition. Chatbots and digital assistants (think of Ava or Mica) are becoming increasingly human, both visually and audibly, AI psychiatrists and virtual therapists are emerging and Virtual Reality is being used to increase empathy. Through this 'artificial EQ', AI is able to respond appropriately: for example, to show understanding and compassion when appropriate. 

All this makes it less and less clear where our own feelings and thoughts actually originate from. Have they been influenced and manipulated from the outside, for example by AI systems/supercomputers such as Google and Facebook, or are they to be considered 'original'? Of course there are a lot of programs running in each of us, out of our upbringing, our culture and our frame of reference, but nowadays each moment we are bombarded with input and stimuli that have an influence on both our outside and inside world. Knowing oneself is no longer a luxury but a bitter necessity. If only to guard our autonomy, personal space and free will.

Timeframe
It is almost impossible to keep track of all these developments, the innovations, the automation, the processing of all data and in the meantime to guarding the human component. The world around us is becoming increasingly transparent, boundless and fluid. Boundaries are blurring between virtual and analogue worlds, between man and machine, between biological and artificial. Long-term plans are in vain because the technological tsunami keeps raging. Many organisations and teams experience a dichotomy, in this transition phase from the 'old' method to the new one. Employees and entrepreneurs become over-inflated and burned out. We try to uphold everything, but we have to make choices.

The invitation
All these developments invite us to ask ourselves what it is that makes us human, what sets us apart from the machine and what really needs our attention in terms of growth, both on a personal and on an organisational level. In order to ensure that computer technology supports us and continues to be of service instead of downgrading us as humans to organic robots. For there is no point in competing with the computer; certainly not in terms of processing speed, memory and storage/processing capacity.

'The challenge now is to further explore and develop our being human with all our abilities, to gain a deeper level of self-knowledge about ourselves so that we can (re)activate more of our 'Inner Technology'.

We will then be able to truly combine the power of man & machine, from their synergies. Because the possibilities are vast, in terms of (personal and economic) growth, innovation and (individual and collective) transformation. But first things first.

'We must pay equally as much attention to what it will mean to be or remain human in the future (i.e. What defines us as humans) as we spend on developing infinitely more powerful technologies that will change humanity forever.'

~ Gerd Leonhard in 'Technology vs Humanity'

Consciousness as a USP
We have now outgrown the era in which we focus on levels of intelligence. Through ongoing understanding and computer technological progress, this has now been outpaced by the age of Consciousness. After all, that is what makes us Human and what really distinguishes us from the machine. Our consciousness is, so to speak, our Unique Selling Point. We are able to look at ourselves from a third perspective, to reflect.

Who or what is this 'Self'? What is 'consciousness'? Where is it located? Is it visible, measurable? Where is its origin? Where does it emerge from? Is it the same as your personality? These are some of the big questions that occupy many (neuro)scientists, philosophers and psychologists. Nowadays, however, this research is no longer limited to just these disciplines; there is also a growing fascination for the 'phenomenon' of consciousness within computer science. When this question can be answered and consciousness can be converted into bits and bytes, it can be uploaded into a computer. Then we as humans will be able to live on in a synthetic or virtual body or robots will eventually be able to develop consciousness.

With the advent of advanced computer technologies, its exponential growth and the subsequent insights, we are becoming increasingly aware of what is truly of value:

1. Being conscious of who we are, what we are capable of (so-called Inner Technology*) and the reality we find ourselves in. What you don't know, you can't perceive or activate. #reloadinglostdata

*) For example the power of empathy, compassion, attention, creativity, love, intuition and of our imagination and perception.

2. It is our consciousness that determines our perception, our perception and thus our reality and what we can influence. When we manage to expand our consciousness, we will increase our ability to process information, make new connections, unlock supreme creativity and at the same time disconnect from our personality. We will also be able to activate flow and peak states that are characterized by the experience of timelessness, effortlessness, limitlessness and a sense of bliss. Partly due to a series of chemical activations in our brain.

'The awakening of consciousness is the next evolutionary step for mankind'.

~ Eckhart Tolle

Brain Hacking
In this new era it is no longer about open access to both hemispheres (left/ IQ, right/ EQ) and bridging the gap between them (SQ). It is all about (partly) 'disabling' or in some cases 'hyperactivating' the (entire) neocortex/prefrontal lobe: our thinking, conscious brain and with it the activation of the subconscious. That part of us that is primarily in the driving seat.

There are roughly three expanded states of consciousness:
...

 

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The radiance of the Heart

Yfke Laanstra
How fascinating it is that we can have such a great effect on each other, that there is so much exchange of information and energy and that there is so much taking place in the dimensions, which are invisible to our human eye.

So many energies move in, around and through our bodies and we are part of such a complex range of force and energy fields that our human brain cannot actually comprehend it.

How remarkable, then, is the continuing and primary focus of our science on the intelligence of our brain and our thinking. Developments around Artificial Intelligence focus on the brain and how we can increase our brain capacity. And don't get me wrong, our brain is a fascinating and incredibly valuable part of us being human, where would we be without our minds and our brains!

But when we think about intelligence, our physical and energetic heart is an incredibly intelligent and grand facet of who we are...

Ancient civilizations attributed many qualities to the heart: that of wisdom and insight, and the heart as a source of courage, hope and trust. And through time a lot of old knowledge and wisdom has disappeared into the background and attention has shifted to our brain, our mind, from a more technological and scientific perspective.

In the embryonic phase, the heart is the first to develop as an organ and starts to beat (about 20 days after conception) even before the brain is fully developed (about 90 days).

Scientific studies have shown that the heart signals danger before the brain. The brain uses logic and ratio but the heart signals much more and can feel what's coming. Recent research shows that there are more instructions moving from the heart to the brain than the other way around.

Electromagnetic interplay
Everything in our living universe has an electromagnetic radiation, the cosmos, the stars, our earth as well as our body, the plants, animals, food etc. We are living in an ocean of electromagnetic waves or frequencies and everything is connected and therefore interacting with each other. Nothing is isolated and the flapping of a butterfly's wing can have far-reaching consequences elsewhere on our planet (the so-called 'butterfly effect'). 

Our brainwaves, heart frequencies and the frequency of our earth are at best in perfect harmony (i.e. at the same frequency or wavelength, this is also called the Schumann resonance). Then there is a state of absolute well-being: a vital body, a clear mind and an open heart.
So you can imagine that technologies that emit electromagnetic radiation can directly influence our frequency and consequently our well-being, for better or for worse. We have now developed advanced technologies that stimulate heart coherence and guide our brainwaves to more harmonious frequencies. However, there are also technologies that disrupt our frequencies and consequently our resonance with the earth. Think of wireless internet (wifi), dect phones, TV, microwave, computer, smart phones, smart meters etc. This interference has a direct impact on our health and general well-being, and can cause discomfort and, in the worst case, illness. Depending on how sensitive you are to these frequencies.

This does not mean that you should by definition stay far away from it, but being aware of it will do no harm. There are many precautions that can be taken to neutralise the harmful effects of such devices. A proper grounding, a conscious connection with the earth, at least causes miracles to remove excess tension.

Heart and head in sync
Also, such devices often ensure that you remain in your head and that you are predominantly engaged with your left hemisphere, that of structure, logic and ratio. Activating beta brainwaves that keep you in a constant state of alertness or stress, which focuses your attention to the outside world. As a result, you will be less in touch with your intuition and creativity. For this reason, for example, I have selected a day a week when I am not 'online' and turn off my laptop, smart phone or tablet (Digital Detox Day). I then consciously focus my attention on the right hemisphere's activities such as: visualising, meditating, feeling, dreaming and writing. Meditation, for example through consciously bringing attention to your heart, stimulates alpha or even the theta brainwaves and generates deep relaxation, harmony and a connection with your inner world, your intuition.

In a state of optimal well-being, our brainwaves, heart frequencies and the earth frequency are in sync.

Solar flares are also a perfect example of forces that can have a strong influence on the electromagnetic fields in the universe. As soon as there are violent eruptions in the sun, highly sensitive people in particular can experience this as very disruptive as it affects and destabilises their own field in a very perceptible way.

The electromagnetic field of our heart stretches for many meters around our physical body and this field is considerably larger and stronger (ranging from 100 times electrically stronger to up to 5000 times magnetically stronger) than that of the brain. The heart is comprised of one unit and represents unity, the brain is comprised of two hemispheres and represents duality.

 

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Reloading lost data_

Yfke Laanstra
"Memories are not just something from the past. 
"They determine our future.'

The straight roads, the functional homes, the practical working environment and even the uniform clothing: everything looks very orderly, clean and structured. Well, perfect, actually. Everyone looks calm, civilized, decisive and decent. There is no more struggle, no more inequality, no more war, no more poverty, no more pollution. Everything is guided in the right direction, everything and everyone knows and has their role. There is no longer an individual, only a collective. Birth and Death do not exist, only a form of chemical entry and exit. Pain and suffering have been erased from the sensory spectrum. Sadness and anger still exist, but on a small scale. The same goes for euphoria, bliss and infatuation: such deep emotions are only something from the distant past and superficial versions remain. In the current vocabulary, respect, appreciation, harmony and admiration are the main themes, and a word such as 'love' is immediately embarrassedly corrected and nuanced. Children are no longer conceived in an act of love, but grown in laboratories, where their qualities are chemically refined and the perfect specimens obtain their right to exist. After which they are allocated to the families in which they are at their best, so that they can develop into the unique wheel that they are in the oiled machine. Physical affection is no longer exchanged, at most a practical nudge or a tap on the shoulder. It is no longer about the happiness and the deepening of the individual but about the contribution to a harmonious community, a perfect society. Everything and everybody is there to serve. The residents seem to experience satisfaction and peacefullness and are happy with the usefulness and function of their orderly existence.

The Receiver
Every day they administer a drug to themselves just before they go to work. This maintains the peace and harmony and prevents disturbance. During the course of a lifetime, various ceremonies take place in front of everyone in society. For example, when babies are allocated to their caretakers, when young people are given their permanent position in society and when someone is 'let go', they are given thanks and are remembered. However, there is one person who is assigned a unique role, as this one displays a combination of five abilities.
1. Intelligence
2. Integrity
3. Courage
4. Wisdom
5. The gift of being able to be able to see beyond.

This person will perform the task of Guardian of the Original Memories of Humanity. A very responsible task; as a kind of living database with an advisory function towards the Council of the Elders, which governs society. The transmission of these Original Memories does not take place by means of advanced technology or by means of a chemical intervention in a laboratory, but from Human to Human. By being together and physically connecting to each other. Out of sight of society. This transmission is done by the Giver, the current guardian of the Original Memories. An old man who lives on the edge of society in an old wooden house. In the house the many cupboards bulge with books, like an immense library. There are also some forgotten musical instruments to be found. The large glass back wall of the house overlooks the bare plains outside the control area of this community, where in the distance a single real tree can still be distinguished. Far out of sight is the boundary of this preconceived oblivion, of this orchestrated modesty. When this limit is crossed by the Guardian, all memories will become available to everyone again. All residents will be flooded again by the forgotten memories and all the accompanying emotions. Like a tsunami. This border is forbidden area and is meticulously guarded, with cameras and drones.

In the Giver's house the transmission begins and memories of the erased, original emotional spectrum of Humanity are reloaded. From that which is lived, felt and experienced. Very steady and slowly, to avoid overload and possible shock. For the spectrum varies from blissful emotions such as love and wonder to raw emotions such as shame, depression and revenge. When the Giver grasps both arms of the Guardian and the Guardian closes his/her eyes, the Guardian is overwhelmed by a wave of images and experiences. Reloaded on a cellular level. About, among other things, the power of Nature, of the human body and the Original history of Humanity. Feelings of both creation and destruction. Memories of extinct animal species, wiped out by man, devastated nature reserves and populations slaughtered in war. But also the physical sensations of lust, pleasure, finding true love, the birth of a baby and starting a family. Being together with family and friends, growing your own food, cooking together, creating together, playing and having fun. Days pass and the Guardian slowly wakes up from his general anaesthetic, from his colorless existence, from his sleep mode and realizes that the daily medicine he has to administer to himself is not meant for his health but rather as a means to maintain this sleep mode. To prevent him from waking up. To keep the peace, the harmony and the current status quo. Colour gradually returns in his life; he regains his liveliness, playfulness, wonder and curiosity and has no choice but to share it with others. Risking his own life because it is forbidden to talk about the memories.

 

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Self Transcendence versus Transhumanism

Yfke Laanstra

We are living in fascinating times. A time in which the impossible becomes possible and in which many sci-fi movies are side tracked by reality. A time in which computer technologies are emerging that are capable of radically and unrecognisably transforming our humanity and our reality over the next 15 years. In such a way that we can speak of the genesis of a Human 2.0.

At an unprecedented pace, more will change in the next twenty years than in the last three hundred years.

So far, our growth has been linear, i.e. at a gradual pace. When you look back at our human evolution to date, it is striking that our transformation from, for example, hunter-gatherer to farmer took place over a period of thousands of years. In other words, from our current perspective and experience of time at an excruciatingly slow pace. When the Industrial Revolution began around 1784 and technology appeared onto the scene, in the form of mechanical control by water and steam, and later the introduction of electricity, this caused an enormous acceleration. This made mass production and thus economies of scale possible. Almost a century later, around 1879, Thomas Edison gained world fame with the invention of the light bulb. Less than 90 years later, in 1969, we would take our first steps as humans on the moon.

At one time we covered distances on foot or by horse and carriage, now a network of roads has been built and we travel by motorised transport over land, sea and in the air. It's only a matter of time before the self-driving car and space travel go mainstream. Richard Branson of Virgin and Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX are fighting for the scoop.
The digital revolution, the introduction of the computer and especially the worldwide web have boosted our evolution to an unprecedented level. 24 years after the lunar landing, around 1993, the internet became a reality for the general public. Moreover, the origin of the Internet can be traced back to ARPANET (ARPA is the predecessor of DARPA), a military network built in the United States in 1969, which was later made available for general use by American universities.
We don't have to physically bridge distances anymore, but instead travel through the digital highway: we Skype, email, chat or whats-app and handle the most of our business and financial transactions online. Ten years after the worldwide introduction of the Internet, in 2003 we completed an intensive project to map the human genome, our DNA. The Human Brain Project and 'Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies' (BRAIN) is currently being developed. We are well advanced in being able to artificially simulate our brain and even link or upload it to a computer.

The speed in the current digital phase of the industrial revolution is now on an exponential scale, so from 1 to 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 etc. Where you can imagine that the higher the numbers the bigger the jumps. At this rate, after only 30 steps, you will reach a billion. The driving force behind this exponential growth is the evolution of the transistor, the basis of the microprocessor: the so-called computer chip. With regard to the increase in processor speed and storage capacity as well as the decrease in production costs. A characteristic of an exponential growth curve is that it first goes up slightly gradually, but then suddenly moves up in a practically vertical line. This is the point in our evolution where we are now, just before this growth curve suddenly turns up. An immense acceleration that has never occurred before in our history. At least, in our collectively conscious evolution.

All this paves the way for many current, exponential developments in the field of nanotechnology, quantum computing, genetic technology, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, brain-computer and human-machine interfaces. Within ten years we will be able to buy computers that match the calculating power of our own brain and less than 25 years later we will have computers with the capacity of all human brains combined. Our reality is currently flooded by all these new computing technologies and wireless networks. We are in a reality in which the belief is that we have to be online 24 hours a day and not fall behind. A world in which everything and everyone is connected and we experience the world from behind our screens.

Inner (hard) drive
The world around us is more or less obsessed with innovation, efficiency and economic growth. Fortunately, in all this (virtual) violence, a deeply human aspect has remained intact: our inner drive to grow on a personal level and to develop ourselves. This is encoded deep inside us, like hard code in our biocomputer. Computer technology now enables us to even change our human evolution and artificially accelerate it. The desire to control our evolution is off all times but it now has a high tech twist. Welcome to the world of Transhumanism.

Transhumanism
Transhumanism is a school of thought, an (intellectual) movement in which (computer) technology is used as a means to accelerate our evolution. Through transcending our biology. In the form of upgrading our biology, gradually merging with technology or even eventually actually transforming it into such a technology. In the opinion of Transhumanists, this is the logical next step in our evolution.

The ideas behind this date back to 1906 when Nikolai Fyodorov, a Russian philosopher and writer, developed 'cosmism': a scientific philosophy inspired by Christianity that advocates physical immortality, space exploration and the ability of science to rise from the dead. It is also close to the Eugenics philosophy that advocates racial improvement: improving the genetic composition of a population. Eugenics is based on the idea that there are superior and inferior genetic markers in the human population. The British biologist, writer and humanist Julian Huxley first used the word 'Transhumanism' in 1957. Huxley was a member of the British Eugenics Society. It is also consistent with a technocratic world view in which reason, logic and data are leading rather than ideology. Machine-thinking instead of holistic thinking.

Technology is used to combat aging or even overcome physical death, to eliminate disease and pain and to acquire above-average or even superhuman qualities and skills. Through for example Artificial Intelligence, Synthetic Biology, Genetic Engineering and Nanotechnology.

Our current exponential computer technologies and those in the (near) future provide us with the tools to have an incredibly large impact on what it means to be human, on our abilities and thus on our evolution.

 

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