“If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants.”
— Isaac Newton (and many others)
Over time the concept of human flourishing has changed dramatically. It will continue to change, even more dramatically.
We define human flourishing as “the state of living a life one most wants to live, given one’s values.”
Flourishing one million years ago centered around having enough to eat, staying warm in your cave, and fending off predators. Survival was a central concern.
Flourishing today is multi-faceted. It may involve self-actualization, enlightenment or “winning”. It sometimes involves getting “likes” on little glowing machines and giving small paper rectangles to amorphous groups of people to avoid being locked in a small room.
Flourishing one million years from now is nearly unfathomable.
What’s possible in the design space of a flourishing life is heavily dependent on what’s conceptually knowable and technically achievable. Below are just a few key advances that have shaped how we think of what it means to flourish in modern-day society. For better or worse, both the concept and “how to manual” are always evolving. We learn new concepts, tools, and techniques to incorporate into UP literally every week.
These advances have enabled the current version of UP and the current possibilities of human flourishing today. But what we can do now is only the beginning.
Over time inventions like machine learning, neurohacking, and forecasting systems will bring better critical thinking to billions.
Advanced control systems and distributed workforces will help us better accomplish our goals.
And ultimately, we will have artificial intelligences that assist us in everything we wish to do in life. Assuming we survive that invention, which is far from guaranteed.
Right now, the best we have to augment your flourishing are HIs (human intelligences) that wield humanity’s latest conceptual and technological stack (including narrow AIs). UP in its current form can be considered an HI on-demand service. We can’t clone you (yet), but we do the next best thing: act as your second brain and set of hands. This is an immediate cognitive and executive upgrade.
In the near-future, UP may move from an HI-led model to an AI-led model. And in the long-term, our aim is to incorporate every relevant conceptual and technological advance our species develops. Hopefully, UP in 10 years will look radically different than UP today. And UP in 100 years, who knows…