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Warp Levels is the idea that we should level up humanity by deciding what the next level is that we should achieve. If we collectively decide what the next level includes and then work to reach it, we can more quickly overcome difficult problems and create great opportunities.
The first step to realizing the idea of Warp Levels is to start thinking about what the upcoming levels should contain. Therefore, I am now initiating a series of conversations with people who have interesting ideas about this.
Father, serial entrepreneur, and transhumanist
First up is Hannes Sapiens Sjöblad. A person who has thought a lot and guaranteed unconventionally about our future. He is a father, serial entrepreneur, and transhumanist. This means he wants to use technology to overcome the weaknesses of the human body. He practices what he preaches and is a biohacker with several different chips under his skin to measure his body temperature, among other things.
We sit down in a conference room at Epicenter, where he works. He wants access to a whiteboard, he explains. The room's lighting is programmed to mimic an April day in Skåne, in the south of Sweden.
"What could be more ideal?" he asks. I think of the Bahamas, but keep quiet.
On the whiteboard, he boxes in the space for Warp Levels that we can achieve in 20-30 years. Beyond current UN goals but within the decision-making power of current generations.
His starting point is that we – humanity and all our connected technology – are on the way to forming a hive mind. A collective intelligence that can function and react in real-time and that encompasses the entire planet and everything on it.
"The Internet is a primitive precursor because communication still largely happens through our slow ape hands," he says.
However, we have come a long way. Two-thirds of humanity is online, and we have gone from "six degrees of separation" in the 1940s to an average of just three acquaintances between all (connected) people today, thanks to smartphones and social media. The trend is strong; we are moving towards everyone on earth being just one step away from everyone else, within ten to twenty years, believes Hannes. Then, some sort of direct contact between all people will be possible.
What characterizes the hive mind is that it today encompasses five to six billion people and 15 billion connected devices. Everything from computers to cars and weather satellites ties the earth together in an ever-denser information network.
What remains is to tear down the flesh barrier that lies between our thought world and the world outside. Then we can be truly connected, Hannes believes. And then, the streams in the hive mind can encompass not just information but also sensory impressions and emotions.
One of many benefits of this is a real-time overview of our feelings.
"Wearables are fun, but they are on the outside and miss a lot. I want us to connect every organ, blood sugar, and other processes in the body."
If we humans and our bodies are connected to a hive mind, but also everything else on earth is, it would contribute to making our collective intelligence much more intelligent. From the screens in front of our noses, to direct access to the information flows.
"We are wiser together. We reduce conflict the closer contact we have, and we also become better coordinated," says Hannes.
Therefore, Hannes Sjöblad wants a goal included in upcoming levels to be how well-integrated we are with each other in our pursuit of a collective intelligence.
Level up our bodies
But human enhancement encompasses not just connecting things; we can improve what is connected as well, especially ourselves. Hannes sees four main dimensions when it comes to upgrading humans:
- Health. Measuring how we are and being able to prevent problems.
- Sensory enhancement. Beauty that we can experience, but which is closed to us today (such as better sense of smell and vision.)
- Cognitive enhancements. Reduce biases, better short-term memory, make wiser decisions.
- Moral upgrading. Ethically better individuals.
One area where we should level up humanity is to eliminate all genetic diseases.
"One day we should have removed all cystic fibrosis, breast cancer genes, and other genetic diseases from the entire human gene pool."
But progress in genetic engineering is far too slow. There is a lot of safety thinking, but at the same time, no goal to work towards. Without something positive to achieve, safety thinking takes over, and we become overly cautious.
"Humanity has with great effort successfully eliminated other diseases like smallpox, but cystic fibrosis we are apparently supposed to keep?" No one makes plans on how we shall phase out genetic diseases.
Curing diseases is one thing, but we should also not overlook the possibility of creating a new and greater diversity of bodies and people. A body does not have to just have two arms and legs, one heart and one brain, and die after 80 years.
"Somebody might want elf ears, another might want to be able to hold their breath for a long time underwater. A third might want to be able to hibernate to make it possible to travel for very long times in space."
Better integrated collective intelligence makes us smarter
If I am to attempt to summarize how Hannes Sjöblad wants to level up humanity, it is about making our collective intelligence broader and deeper.
For around a hundred thousand years, we have built our collective intelligence. The society we have today rests on accumulated knowledge, which now exists on clay tablets, papyrus scrolls, in books, on the internet, in science, and in institutions.
By adding more brains, but also things, and even other life forms both biological and artificial to this collective, we become smarter and even more powerful. We can use this increasing intelligence to solve difficult problems, create new opportunities, and expand the diversity of who we are.
He envisions not just the flesh bodies we are today, but a rich flora of different kinds of life forms and organisms. All interconnected with each other where we can share more and more of our ideas, feelings, and thoughts.
Expanding and integrating all this into the collective intelligence and consciousness should therefore be a next level for humanity.
The Angry Optimist