This is a continuation of Scenario 5 – Human Federation in 2040
The European culture is not that monolithic yet as it may seem to be from outside, despite common heritage stemming from Christian values. It still consists of a rich multitude of local mini-cultures, which must be preserved and promoted as a unique treasure and as the common ground of the HF’s shared identity. However, since the last 10 years there has been an additional programme of common “Human Federation culture”, within which individual cultures will thrive. It mimics to a large degree the United States culture, where every week, one of the original nations that made the USA, organizes a national parade, celebrating the root culture, which their forefathers brought to America, ensuring that it thrives to this day. This is what has finally started to reshape the culture of the Human Federation.
People do not have their clones yet and social life does not look as people have imagined. 20 years ago, many futurists believed the future is digital and we will all be digital clones soon. Well, so far, the trend is going in the opposite direction. The more people learnt about AI, and that includes AI specialists, the less interesting the digital future looked like. The current feeling is that we should persevere to remain in our biological bodies for as long as we can, since a digital life would probably be immensely boring. For people not interested, or not knowledgeable enough in AI, it does not matter at all because they believe intelligent life will continue to remain biological. However, the Twitter and Instagram generation, which is now in their mid-forties, prefer the AI agents to retain as many as possible of purely human traits, such as love, optimism, friendship or altruism, in their future evolution. Therefore, a lighter touch of Transhumanism is in fashion. This trend accepts deep merger with AI, and in the near future with Superintelligence, while retaining all external body parts largely unchanged. The only problem unresolved is how to clone such entities, which are partly human and partly digital.
There has been a deep reflection on how to make human life as much worthwhile living as possible. After a period of about 10 years, in mid-2020’, just as the most dangerous confrontation with Russia was subsiding, people in the EF, but also in some other developed countries, begun very gradually returning to simpler forms of life style. Initially, these were very small steps indeed like limiting the use of plastic bottles or packaging and replacing them with more environmentally friendly solutions. Instead of using video phones, people started to see each other in person, especially when they finally realized how deeply their privacy has been compromised by digital media companies. Today, various digital chatbots are a passé. Back are meeting friends at cafés and even at home. Tourism is booming, although most of these places can be seen and experienced using 5D holographic TV or special augmented reality equipment. People are surprisingly becoming somewhat old-fashioned. It seems that the early digital experience was for many people like playing with new toys by children. Once they played enough, they became bored.
Life seemed to be running not that fast as 15 years ago. The HF value system has become one of the major and most important subjects at schools and perhaps that has gradually been changing people’s attitude to each other and to life in general. The HF government does not shy away from quite a direct way of teaching people at part-time education courses on how can people get most of their life and be a good citizen.
People slowly realize that humanity is going through the most significant change in its history, which may include several options. The first one is that if one of the major existential risks fires off, our species may disappear for ever. The second option is that the human species in biological form will gradually disappear as our consciousness and the memory becomes fully digitized and we may be living inside a chip (if you can call it ‘life’). The third option is that we will be partially digitized, mainly communication between huge data centres and the implants in our brains plus some organs such as eyes, or heart. But otherwise we will remain biological bodies. Therefore, if most of our needs in the near future are going to be fulfilled almost free of charge, with plenty of free time, what has come out as the top issue is how to live one’s life.
Even family life seems to be regenerated, which probably stems from the same reasons as above. Since the average lifespan in the EF has now exceeded 100 years, in many families there are 4 or even 5 generations. Therefore, family reunions around birthday time can now be quite big events.
A high standard of life and plenty of free time has stimulated people’s interests in the subjects, which they never thought they would take up. Therefore, art, popular science courses, further education are the main element of their lives, since the working week is only 21 hours, soon to be cut down to 15 hours. Such interests and personal projects, if properly registered, such as genealogy research, painting lessons, or singing in choirs, can count towards the conditions necessary for receiving the conditional Supplementary Basic Income.
Each person over the age of 13 can get their own Personal Artificial Intelligence Mentor. It is worn as a watch and communicates with visual and audio receivers in a person’s glasses, an implant in the eyes as lenses, an implant in the head or via any available wall display (although it is not recommended to be used outside home because of the lack of privacy). All information is stored remotely and is given top privacy level. It is given free of charge, including the provision of associated service, by the government on the condition that a person undergoes a one-week course on using such an Assistant, delivered by volunteers at a local community centre. During the course, the Personal AI Mentor interviews the person in minute detail, makes a psychological profile and agrees with the person his long-term and short-term goals. It manages the person’s all daily tasks and helps to complete some of them. The Mentor takes care of the person’s all basic needs, including arranging any medical, mental or other assistance he may need with local authorities. The Mentor also arranges any work that a person is capable of performing, as well as any basic or even further education. Initially people were very suspicious of such a powerful AI agent who knows more about them than they do themselves. However, today, most people do have them. They have become a very helpful way of enhancing people’s life and making it far more interesting, enabling a lot of options and activities than otherwise would have not been possible.