In the not so distant future we will have to revive the question about who and what we are.
We will have to, not because we choose to do so, but because the question will be posed to us by Others or Otherness: Aliens, robots, mutants, and the like.
New phenomena like information processing artifacts, computational life forms, bioengineered humans, upgraded animals and pen-pals in space will force us to consider ourselves and our situation: Why didn't we finish hunger on this planet? Are we evil or just idiots? Why do we really want to rebuild ourselves? Do we regain our soul when the tv-set is turned off?
It's going to happen like this: We build a robot. It turns towards us and says: "If technology is the answer then what was the question?"
TOR NORRETRANDERS is a science writer, consultant, lecturer and organizer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. He was recently appointed Chairman of the National Council for Competency.