According to Britain’s top astronomer, humans will only be able to fulfill Elon Musk’s dream of colonizing Mars by becoming a “race of cyborgs”.
Martin Rees, who has the title of “Royal Astronomer”, told the Telegraph that it may take a few generations to create a new race that is able to withstand the rigors of the Red Planet.
“Let’s imagine that by the end of the century there are very few communities away from Earth,” Rees said.
“By that time, genetic modification and cyber technologies will be far more advanced than they are today. There is an expectation that they will be regulated here on Earth but on Mars these intrepid explorers will have every incentive to modify themselves.”
Rees continued: “They will use all of these techniques to adapt themselves and within a generation or two they may become a separate species, a mixture of flesh and blood and robots.”
“So one scenario for the next millennium may be that some of the offspring of pioneer Martian explorers will become cyborgs.”
Musk has said in the past that he believes artificial intelligence will overtake human intelligence, and that the only hope for the human species to survive and compete with AI is to become a cyborg.
“Generally speaking, people underestimate the potential of AI,” Musk said at a 2019 conference in Shanghai.
“They think it’s like a smart person, but it’s going to be much more than that. It’s going to be smarter than the smartest man.”
Musk said: “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
Musk is doing his job. His company, Neuralink, aims to implant chips in the human brain to make humans super-intelligent and allow paralyzed people to walk again. He is also the CEO of SpaceX, which is building spacecraft designed for interplanetary travel and delivery of cargo.
Rees told the Telegraph that the idea of humans evolving into a post-human race is not far-fetched.
“Most of us, unless we live in Kentucky or somewhere, know that we are the result of four billion years of evolution,” he said.
Rees said Musk’s vision of humans migrating en masse to Mars was a “dangerous illusion”.
“It’s a doddle dealing with climate change compared to terra-firming Mars,” he said.
Rees said: “The phrase ‘space tourism’ should never be used because it will never be risk-free.”
“It should be called a ‘space adventure’ for people who like high risk, people who love hang gliding.”