Science for Fiction – 7 Hobbies for Immortal Humankind

Science for Fiction – 7 Hobbies for Immortal Humankind

What if we conquered immortality? What if technology solved all our needs? What if nothing ever broke and people never died? As an immortal species, what would we do with ourselves? Here are 7 things to keep busy with on our never-ending journey through the universe on Planet Earth.

  1. Replace all bugs with robotic insects

I worry about bees. Honey bees dying. Killer bees killing. I don’t worry about mosquitos enough not to kill them. I save moths every chance I can; I don’t mind those. House flies? Ugh. Swatter for them I’m afraid. If you keep the place clean though, then tend to die off (i.e., starve them to death – is that more humane?).

Insects are an important part of life on Earth. Hopefully we don’t kill them all off, but we might need to replace some, someday. Besides, they can come in handy, too. They’ve already built robotic dragonflies and cyborg roaches. What if we designed houseflies that actually pick up crumbs and drop them in the garbage? Or mosquitoes that could buzz Mozart on a cozy summer night while injecting you with vitamins? Or roaches that could kill all the other roaches and then self destruct so there’s never anymore roaches?

Robotic insects could self replicate so we’d never have to worry about them (who could ever worry about self-replicating robotic insects?), but also be tasty and nutritious, too. Because, bats.

  1. Solve every other known problem

Food – hydroponics. Energy – fusion. Self-destruction – if you live long enough, you probably find out that there are still plenty of ways we can destroy ourselves, even as immortals. From toxic waste to bigger bombs to bugs like deadly viruses and antibiotic resistant bacteria. Over time, anyone can harness one of these and unleash it. Maybe once everyone has it, no one will want it.

We can design a few other long term strategies. We’d need an asteroid detection and destruction system, and a climate monitoring and modification system to deal with even the Earth’s natural cycles, like past ice ages every 60,000 years. I don’t want it to be cold outside when I’m 60,000 years old. If no one really needs anything from anyone else, then maybe people can just get along as well.

And they all lived happily ever after, literally.

  1. Create technology indistinguishable from magic

Driving home, you daydream about the perfect dinner. Savory starts, sweet ends, it’s got it all. Just thinking about it makes your mouth water. You’ve had over a million meals by now, but you never get tired of this one. As you get out of your invisi-car, a gentle hum draws near as a drone descends and delivers your freshly made food. Mind-reading takeout.

You slip on a pair of glasses and are transported to the other side of the world for an important meeting. The sights, sounds, and smells stimulate your senses and immerse you in the visit. You never have to brush or floss your teeth again (and they’ll remain healthy). Your clothes never need washing and change color every day.

  1. Life, your way

Augmented reality overlays the virtual world onto the real one. We’ve seen it with games, maps that label buildings, or apps that identify constellations. Augmented reality doesn’t have to be only a passive activity, though. There’s now a form of Star Trek-like universal translator, that automatically translates spoken language through an earpiece.

What’s to stop augmented reality from making people look different? Say, with a pair of digital contact lenses? With facial recognition software, everyone could look like a Smurf if you wanted. Or maybe houses could look like giant mushrooms, and clouds like castles and dragons. Your boss could have sparkly antennae and not even know it.

With voice and stress recognition software, people can even sound the way you want them to. No one would ever yell at you again. No one would ever – apparently – be mad at you either. Instead of “Get the heck out of my way!” you’d hear, “Could you please excuse me?”

Augmented reality could create personal utopias that no one would ever want to turn off.

  1. Distant galaxies, nearby friends

The speed of light is a tricky thing to overcome. The faster you go, the more energy you need to go faster. I’m all for warp drive, but even as an immortal, wouldn’t hold my breath. Robot ships that beam back data and generation ships are more likely, but what fun are those? You still have to wait for robot ships to get to where they’re going and then wait for the information to come back. Same with generational ships – by definition, they are meant to house generations of humans. How would you like to be one of those middle generations that’s just flying through empty space but never actually arrive anywhere? What fun is that? Or worse yet, the generation right before the generation that arrives? No thanks.

What we need is a way to communicate with alien species right now, in real time. We need to forget about conquering space and focus on conquering the time barrier. Tachyons are faster than light particles theorized but never observed, but they’re supposed to be out there. A tachyon transmitter could do the trick. Quantum entanglement was another option. That’s when two atoms dance with each other and then are separated (sort of). The idea is that once you measure the spin of one, you immediately lock in the spin of the other. Unfortunately, because of the randomness of subatomic particles, this is great for encrypting information, but unfortunately not sending faster-than-light messages. Bummer.

Perhaps alien civilizations are all chatting with each other right now, and watching each other’s TV shows using some form of tachyon cable box. All we need to do is tune in.

  1. Getting to know our ocean buddies better

Wouldn’t it be nice to have coffee with a whale? Conversation would either be really stimulating, like, “Oceans are the lifeblood of the planet…” or really boring, “Plankton on the eastern edge of the Gulf Stream is so much tastier than at the horse latitudes.” Either way, it would be fascinating. We’re pretty sure that many types of animals are capable of feeling emotions. Mammals, insects, birds, and reptiles all seem capable of harboring intelligence, especially when it pertains to their survival. Perhaps it’s only human perception, but ocean mammals seem to have the capacity for language. Sure, grunts and barks are a form of communication, but whales might even have names. I don’t know if I’d be able to pronounce them, but sure would be fun to try, “Hey there, Mr. WAAAAAAHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMNNNNNNGGGG.”

  1. Wonder about death

When you live in the plains all your life, you might wonder what the mountains are like. When you live on the coast, you might think about the desert. When you live forever, you might start to wonder what death is like. Death experiments might be shedding some light in the tunnel, but not sure I’d want to be a test subject.

Bonus Hobby: What do you think? What would an immortal civilization spend their time on? Leave your ideas in the comments below!

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