Raymond Kurzweil, the guy who accurately predicted the internet, pocket-sized computers, web-based education, smart cell phones and digital books, music, movies and software, is at it again. He confidently informs us that within a decade we will all be somewhat bionic, having our computers installed in our bodies and/or clothing and being able to access the world wide web through chips implanted in our heads. Not only that, we’ll be genetically engineered to live a lot longer, and without disease, obesity or the ravages of aging, while our muscles are toned by genetic receptors without the bother of strenuous exercise. We will put on special glasses to allow us to see 3D computer images, movies, books or a bunch of other people with their special glasses on.

Petroleum will be outmoded and the sun will provide almost all of humanity’s energy needs, while cars will automatically avoid crashing, with driverless cars being introduced to completely eliminate human error from automobile traffic. No word on whether or not we can snooze in our cars (or drink!) while they get us from point A to point B. Maybe we can sit there quietly and refresh our memories with the aid of the internet, to which we will be permanently wired. Or maybe recharge our plastic internal organs we’ll be having installed temporarily while new ones are being grown in a laboratory from our own DNA. Sounds exciting, but there are questions about all this. Such as:

Will Larry King Live be on the air for the next 300 years? No, thanks.

If there is a power blackout, will we all just fall down like puppets that have had their strings cut? Who will hook the power back up?

Will we get spam e-mails delivered right onto our heads? Who needs that?

If Bono gets to live for centuries, imagine how pompous a windbag he’ll be by the hundred and forty-eighth U2 album? There will be like, two songs on the whole album, and the rest will be a ponderous speech about the nature of life while the rest of the band plays echo-chamber arpeggios in the background.

If they program our DNA to avoid diseases, what excuse will we use to skip work? Hell, our great-grandmothers won’t even be dying anymore!

Without obesity, who will we make fun of? Will  jolly fat people be bitter if they’re suddenly slender? And if muscles can be programmed to stay fit without any exertion, what will all those annoying diet and exercise gurus do with themselves?

When they start reprogramming our genetic makeup, will those of us who are old look old forever? Healthy and disease-free, but still looking all wrinkled and grizzled? That’s pretty creepy.

Or maybe we’ll all wind up looking around 28 years old, every one of us looking all buff and attractive, our brains hooked into computers and our cell phones installed in our eyelids, every one of us walking encyclopedias, able to obtain doctorate-level knowledge in a flash. What incentive will there be to develop a personality? Where will be the challenges? Its very likely that crap will get on our nerves in no time, and then the random murders will begin.

Will we still have to shit? Seems like a pretty rotten chore for such streamlined, beautiful and modern cyber-creatures. Farting would also be pretty unseemly. No word on any genetic progress on those tawdry facts of life.

What about fucking? Will that be allowed? With almost 7 billion people on the planet right now, imagine if we all lived 500 years or more? With that kind of life span and with perfect health, and with machines doing the driving and many other mundane chores, people will want to make love for days at a time, and even sleek super beings will get pregnant once in a while. You think the lines at Starbuck’s are long now? Let’s hope the genetic alterations leave our humping alone. Besides, life would kind of suck without bunches of children running around. We’ll just have to start a lot more wars to kill off the extra people, which should be no problem for humanity. If the choice is either no fucking or war, war will win out every time.

And speaking of Starbucks, who would want to work there for 300 years, especially someone who’s beautiful, super intelligent and has instant access to millions of people and infinite sources of information with just a thought? Think that person would give a rat’s ass about how you like your half-caf vanilla mocha latte? There would be no shortage of volunteers to sign up to fight the wars rather than work lousy jobs for centuries.

Also, are the scientists really thinking this whole deal through? The race of beings to which they propose to hand all these cyber powers and near-immortality is not a bunch of enlightened, loving, tolerant and intellectual entities, it is us, the people who invented lemon-scented toilet paper and the guillotine. Scary to have any of us around for 500 years or more.

Perhaps we should break into this whole immortal super race thing gradually, maybe give everybody an extra ten years to see if they behave themselves, and hold off on that brain chip installation. Odds are we’re going to screw it up big time anyway, start using these things as weapons, like we do with every other cool invention we’ve ever had. Being human means being imperfect and downright ornery. Do we really want to multiply that times forever? And most pressing of all, can we put up with Larry King for another 300 years?

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