is an on-going process.
As such, humanity is a transitional result."
In many instances, the subject of evolution is often constrained within the idea of Darwinian natural selection. However, in this section, the idea of evolution is discussed in a much wider context, split into 4 sections:
Within the scope of the extended topic list above, the picture is intended to represent the juxtaposition of life in its biological form and some potential future artificial form. However, the picture is only really meant to be evocative of a future where the somewhat random process of natural selection has given way to artificial design. Of course, how you react to this possibility, as implied by the picture, may well depend on your current worldview, although in all probability it will not be our worldview that decides whether this future becomes a reality.
So when might this future arrive?
Note: From the classical perspective of Darwinian natural selection, we typically think of evolution as being a very slow, incremental process. However, this will not necessarily be the case if evolution is driven by artificial design and therefore this vision of the future may start converging towards reality within the lifetime of our children.
By way of a synopsis of this section as a whole, the Life section starts out by outlining many of the issues associated with classical Darwinism in the form of biological and human life. However, it also starts to consider fundamental questions in the form: what is life? and then goes onto consider the evolution of life from single cells through to self-aware intelligence, e.g. homosapiens and beyond. Of course, if life could emerge here on Earth, and you accept the Copernican premise that the Earth is not the centre of the universe, then questions concerning extraterrestrial life forms also need to be considered.
Note: The possibility of evolution transcending homosapiens may no longer be the stuff of science fiction as it may be more accurately described in terms of our science future.
Having established the scope of life under discussion, the Cognition section, takes a closer look at some of the facets of cognition that apparently separates humanity from the rest of the animal world. The cognition sub-section focuses on the issue of intelligence and sentience plus the process by which sensory data is converted into information, then from information into knowledge and finally from knowledge into what we might like to consider to be 'wisdom' that guides our actions. Although the first section also introduces the concept of artificial life, a separate artificial intelligence (AI) section focuses the discussion on a specific model of AI evolution called Hybrid AI. In this form, artificial intelligence does not just magically appear in the laboratory after a freak and accidental lightning strike, but is described more as an evolutionary process intertwined with humanity.
Note: It is highlighted that many people may not like this vision of the future, but this will not necessarily prevent it from happening.
Finally, one of the consequences of a converged hybrid evolution involving AI and what we currently think of as humanity is the implication on our perception of reality. From a classical Darwinian perspective, our senses have evolved for survival in the 'real' world, but AI technology could augment the information received by our normal senses to create an augmented reality. If you accept the premise of this idea, then our very notion of reality could be subject to as much evolutionary change as our physiology.