Tales of Men is a blog series showcasing short stories, prompts, and other writings.
In 2010, I wrote a college scholarship essay on predictions of the near future. The fictional essay was written as an article featured in TIME magazine in the year 2030. After six years, the fictitious prediction seems to become more definite and true – what do you think?
Is Our Humanity Endangered?
On a spiraling rock in the middle of vast oblivion and star stuff is an assemblage of folks in mutual acceptance to ignore the dread of reality. On lonely nights, selected folk dreamt of the sweet melodies of a previous time – a time that remained drops of memory in an ocean of unabridged thought. Such lonely nights gave birth to reveries which haunted men to muse on the thrill divine. The reveries were solely theirs- unobserved, ungoverned, perfectly human. The technologies of man could never muse on the thrill divine. Divine man stood apart in shameful oppression.
Following a decade of impressive technological advancement, scholars worldwide await the rekindling of a humanity vastly consumed by the expansion of communication technology and robotics. This rapid incline toward technology has spawned the age of the Cyber Culture and, as a result, has significantly lessened human relations. Despite impressive technological success, has the Cyber Culture neglected its self-discovery and personal progress?
According to Daniel Barnhill, founder of The Human Syndicate and author of “Humans vs. Technology: A Guide to Rediscovery,” the explosive diffusion of social networking services and online communities and the construction of the humanoid [EIT-483] have undeniably replaced the human interface. “Technology and the Internet have certainly been an incredible achievement and example of the vast progression of our generation,” says Barnhill. He goes on, “However, has technology improved or worsened the human condition?” In 2026, Barnhill predicted the imminent technological domination of the millennial generation. As an advocate of preserving what he defined in “Humans vs. Technology” as the “cognizance of human nature, the soul of all mankind”, Barnhill launched The Human Syndicate. The Syndicate’s mission is to facilitate the expansion of soulful enlightenment, focusing primarily on the rediscovery of self apart from technology. “Society is suffering –suffering from the deprivation of individual significance. In other words, we have lost association with ourselves,” Barnhill explains.
Many scientists, however, oppose Barnhill’s theories. Jonathan Michaels, Principal Research Scientist at the Thornton University Robotics Institute, asserts that modern technology is not damaging the culture, “The Cyber Culture is a diverse community promoting the act of connection. Technology is simply the developing of man-made tools – too many are unnecessarily alarmed by such modification, and theorists like Barnhill constitute that fear,” he says. Joseph Morrison, chief software engineer of the Robot Behavior System (RBS), which supplies the encoding of complex commands for items like thought-processing and decision-making, as well as interpersonal communication capabilities, guarantees that the formation and programming of artificial intelligence machinery is designed to benefit man.
Although acknowledging the benefits of technology, Barnhill believes that the production of synthetic life, in addition to chronic computer activity, is dehumanizing the natural spirit of man. Essentially, reality has been replaced by a contrived reality. Barnhill also believes that the over utilization of technology generates alternate personalities within people, resulting in duel personas: the real and the virtual self. This notion of the divided psyche further encourages his theory of desocialization, in which the decline of sincere human involvement influences the downfall of all humanity. “In retrospect, just twenty years ago our supermarkets, retail stores, restaurants, gas stations, airports, even military engaged human personnel. Now, EIT machines have replaced the working class.” Barnhill asserts that his passion is to restore the need for human activity in society and to regain an interest in self-awareness. “I am interested in more appreciative minds, wherein the exploration of mind and body is not only encouraged but actively sought. I want people to not only embrace their own existence, but to embrace the value of human proximity in daily life. I truly believe that our obsession with modern technology has stunted our personal development as a generation. Previous eras summoned the age of the self, of individual growth and spirituality – our generation has abandoned the progression of the human spirit for the development of artificial existence. In quite literal terms, this generation has willingly sold their soul, and at what cost? I am beginning to see the penalties.”
If our humanity is endangered, then how exactly do we get back in touch with ourselves? Barnhill offers the simple philosophy of taking time – time to reflect, time to understand, and time to identify with our inherent human nature. He recommends taking time to survey literary classics and study “Humans vs. Technology: A Guide to Rediscovery”, where he features an in-depth examination of the modern human, and explains uncomplicated ways to claim autonomy from technology. “I am optimistic for the future of humanity,” says Barnhill. “After four years of actively reaching out to the public with my theories, including ridicule from critics, I have discovered that there are always those willing to not only listen but to understand – and that gives me hope, because it means that humanity is not entirely lost.”