Cyberspace - the virtual Big BANG

Yfke Laanstra
Cyberspace could well mean our virtual big bang: the instant manifestation of a fully digital parallel universe.

In the beginning...
There are many theories, beliefs and myths about the origins of this earth and us as humans. On the one hand stories about creation by a single God, prophet or multiple gods or creatures. Or creation in the sense of genetic manipulation and intervention by interdimensional (or not) extraterrestrial beings. On the other hand, there are the scientific, rational theories such as the big bang theory, in an attempt to explain, quantify and understand our world, our reality.

According to Darwin, as a human being, we evolved from the monkey, from a natural selection. Many people are still convinced that we have never or barely progressed beyond our primate level and that we are merely slightly civilised cavemen, trapped in our emotions and bounded by our fragile bodies and limited brains.

Industry 4.0
2019 years ago our official year count started and within our history a distinction is made in various revolutions. After the Middle Ages, the agricultural revolution began, which transitioned into various phases of the industrial revolution.

The 1st phase of the Industrial Revolution (1784) gave us a boost by the power of mechanical control by water and steam. The second phase (1870) brought us mass production through the power of electricity. The 3rd phase (1969) gave us the digital world and introduced us to the information/communication driven society, through the advent of computers and the internet.

Quantum leap
In earlier phases of the Industrial Revolution there was a linear growth, that is 1,2,3,4 etc. and each phase covered an average period of 100 years. However, the 3rd digital phase develops on an exponential scale, i.e. 1, 2, 4, 8 etc. The higher the numbers, the bigger the jumps. However, due to the recent introduction of the quantum computer, we can no longer even 'merely' speak of exponential growth, but of a quantum leap.

The 4th phase can manifest itself at any moment: the advent of cyberspace in a virtual big bang. The complete fusion of biology and computer technology.

Due to the recent introduction of the quantum computer, we can no longer simply use the term 'exponential growth', but rather 'quantum leap'.

For a long time, we have had some time to anticipate developments, to draw up multi-year plans and to define strategies. At the moment, however, the pace is so 'murderous' that it can no longer be comprehended or understood by our human brain. Do you remember the introduction of the Atari game console? Of the Internet? Of the cell phone? These are all developments within the time span of a lifetime. How is the smartphone alone dominating the streets, our attention? We are now suffering from a collective obsessive screen addiction and there is even a term for this present-day information overkill: infobesitas. Almost every citizen of the world has a smartphone, even in third world countries it is commonplace, in a shared first place next to (smart) television.

What does this 4th (r)evolution mean and what does it mean for our society, our life and for myself?' I can hear you thinking.
That's a good thing, because you seriously need to ask yourself this question.

Humanity 2.0 is emerging and cyberspace is going to completely transform our reality...

Reality 4.0
Our reality is currently flooded with new computer technologies. Nowadays our lives mostly unfold online, time and distance are no longer a limitation. Tangible (analogue) products get virtual alternatives, physical stores close, magazines become ezines, workshops become webinars, conversations take place via Facetime, Skype or Whatsapp, and Virtual Reality goes mainstream. We find ourselves in a reality where the credo is that we have to be online 24/7, we don't have to fall behind, everything and everyone is connected and we experience the world from behind our screens.

Everything is being digitized. All our actions are monitored, all our data is tracked and stored. Think of dates of our purchases, transactions, internet browsing, where we are located when, with whom we have online contact to all our health data in electronic patient records (EPD), etc.

In addition, there is a growing Internet of Things where more and more things are connected to the Internet. Think of your car, household appliances, smartphone or (game) computer; often without the necessary human intervention. The digital dimension no longer only takes place on a computer screen, but, with the arrival of smart products (Smart meter, Smart TV and Smart watch), shifts to your everyday objects. Everything is connected to the Smart Grid: your work, your home and even your family. We are already referring to Smart Homes and Smart Cities. The digital dimension is increasingly merging with our analogue, tangible dimension. With all its consequences for your privacy, personal space, health and free will.

It is only a matter of time before parcels or smart products no longer have RFID chips, but this will become a compulsory part of our vaccination programme. Given that such chips or technologies are now at the nanoscale. Enabling your body to be controlled and monitored by computers or artificial intelligence.

Drones are now for sale at discount supermarkets and is a toy for both children and adults. It's only a matter of time before Drones will determine our skyscape. Underneath are the Self Driving Cars, which are completely driven by artificial intelligence to determine their route, keep their distance and have to make autonomous decisions in case of car accidents.

In addition, there is large-scale robotisation underway; complex operations are already being carried out by robots, children have robot pets and there are experiments to have the elderly 'cared for' by robots in nursing homes. The implications and applications of robot technology are the subject of intense debate. Think of our production chains, our employment. The army has been working intensively for years on experiments to deploy robots in war/crisis situations, where it is plausible that armies will consist of robots that have to make autonomous decisions about the lives of others in war situations.

Our food industry and health care are highly automated, with a focus on artificial, chemical alternatives. Chemical medicines, genetically modified food, fertilizers, robotization of food production processes, artificial additives... we are drifting further and further away from our biology and what our beautiful planet has to offer us.

The Quantified Self movement promotes the use of gadgets and wearables (gadgets that are worn on the skin) to make everything quantifiable and to impact our health and performance with all this data. Think of pedometers, calorie meters, mood trackers, apps and head bands using computer technology to generate a meditative state.
Improving your health, your biology and your quality of life through gadgets are included in the BioHacking, NeuroHacking and LifeHacking movement.

The irony in all this is that there is little or no awareness of the far-reaching effects of the radiation and frequencies of all these devices on our health, our brain functions and our consciousness.

Developments are increasingly shifting from applications on screens to gadgets that are worn on the skin to the actual implantation of chips and control from the inside out. Ranging from the 3D printing of organs to the actual transcendence of our biology (Transhumanism). Think of anti-aging technologies, injecting nanotechnology (nanobots) into our bloodstream and uploading your brain into a computer, controlled by Artificial Intelligence (AI). With ultimately the creation of a cyborg body out of a full fusion of technology and biology.

We talk about Singularity when we reach the point where we are surpassed by computer technology. When Artificial Intelligence and robots are more advanced than ourselves. Robots are already able to act autonomously, make their own decisions based on algorithms and are no longer dependent on their programmers. Will they experience emotions, develop a consciousness? Become enlightened? Nobody knows what exactly is going to happen, but the greatest scientists and minds on this planet warn us (Richard Dawkins, Elon Musk and others). Is it the quantum leap in our evolution or is it the end of humanity as we know it?

'I fear the day technology will overtake human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.'
~ Albert Einstein

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