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In 200 years, rich humans will be cyborgs, says professor

Technically Incorrect: An Israeli professor says the amalgamation of man and machine will be the "biggest evolution in the history of biology" in 4 billion years.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Your sweet little Jocasta, circa 2215. Dragnoz/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Humanity is currently privileged to have choices.

We can watch every sci-fi movie and TV series ever made and decide which character we'd like our future selves to play when we become robots.

It's a lovely game.

However, one historian seems to believe that we'll be partial to becoming bad guys in "Doctor Who."

Yuval Noah Harari of the University of Jerusalem thinks that humans will choose to become cyborgs. As the Telegraph reports, he offered a rather chilling view of social progress.

He said: "I think it is likely in the next 200 years or so homo sapiens will upgrade themselves into some idea of a divine being, either through biological manipulation or genetic engineering or by the creation of cyborgs, part organic part non-organic."

I don't know how much fun it would be to be God. All that power might be both overwhelming and a touch dull. If you always know what's going to happen, the fascination of life rather loses its frisson of anticipation.

Harari, though, believes that we're the same with ourselves as we are with our iPhones: we just can't help trying to upgrade.

"Even when humans gain pleasure and achievements it is not enough. They want more and more," he said.

Harari was speaking at the Hay Festival in the UK and plugging his book "Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind."

Harari is fascinated by human evolution. What feels a touch disturbing is that he described man's hurtling toward becoming a machine as "the greatest evolution in biology since the appearance of life."

He explained: "Nothing really has changed in four billion years biologically speaking. But we will be as different from today's humans as chimps are now from us."

(For those of a more creationist bent, what he meant to say is that nothing has changed in the last 6,000 years.)

The professor sees humans slowly doing away with the need for a God. He explained that such concepts as money, human rights and God were "fictions" created with the purpose of stopping society from fraying.

Now, however: "What we see in the last few centuries is humans becoming more powerful and they no longer need the crutches of the Gods. Now we are saying we do not need God, just technology."

We are, indeed, saying that.

In a recent study, 66 percent of millennials didn't identify themselves as having a religion at all. They all identified themselves as being iPhone or Android, however. (Yes, I made that sentence up, despite instinctively knowing it's true.)

Harari offered another twist to our cyborg future: only the rich will have the money to become cyborgs.

It's this part that I find peculiarly believable. As I look around the world and espy many of those who are making the most money these days, it's individuals whose mannerisms, diction and slightly chilled demeanor remind me of nothing more than beings made of metal and circuitry.

Would it really be such a great leap for these monied moguls to go all the way?