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How Long Until Homo Sapiens Is Extinct?

The popular images of the future are fundamentally flawed because they always include us.

We have to leave the Earth sooner or later and the rest of the universe is dramatically inhospitable. Given the inherent cost and residual risk of trying to maintain Earth-like conditions outside of Earth, adapting ourselves to greater extremes won’t just be a good idea, it will be an unquestioned moral imperative.

As our physical bodies change our concept of self and others will expand. Concepts like “I” and “person” will encompass everything from purely digital patterns to massive distributed structures. The distinction between natural and artificial will lose relevance. Our reproductive options will increase.

As we spread out in time, space, and all other available dimensions, we will lose track of each other. Even if we somehow remain linked by information we will be separated by uncrossable barriers. Different groups will experience different pressures and choose different options.

None of us will live long enough, so we won’t personally be around. None of them will look or think anything like us. So the future will be filled with many someones, but not us. Homo sapiens is a temporary species.

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