By that I really mean, they will hate the science fiction of today. In all likelihood a passive experience like a movie or TV show will be of no interest to them at all. But lets just say it is still relevant, or at least it can be converted into a new entertaining format for super humans. In this case I think the new humans would only be able to, at best, muster some amount of historical appreciation. At worst, they may find it quite stupid and insulting, assuming post humans are capable of being insulted.
It seems to me that most science fiction stories are cautionary tales. They are so often about the failure of scientific advancements to account for the human spirit. I touched on this in an older post. Scifi today has to appeal to the emotions of people today. A story about how someone stopped loving everything they used to care about and was happy about it might seem off-putting. We love the idea of the human spirit being unique and superior in the universe. We want to feel special. Whenever we go up against technologically superior aliens, they always underestimate our cleverness and will to fight. Super advanced aliens like “The Q” and “The Time Lords” are always fascinated by us, by our adaptability. They may want to watch us ,or maybe even stop us from going out into the universe surpassing / dominating everything. Yes, much of scifi is designed to make us feel good or warn us that if we change too much, we might lose some of our awesomeness. In my opinion, the quality about ourselves that seemingly must be protected at all costs is really just our pride. It is human chauvinism. It has been an evolutionarily useful trait, but will likely mean nothing to a post human.
Now remember, post humans are from a time in which their physical and mental selves have been altered by tech, quite possibly with the ability to alter themselves dynamically. Just the fact that they are looking back at the scfi from days of old likely means they are a pretty successful uber species, and not some miserable failed mutation. They might think, “What the hell were they so afraid of? It is super bad ass to to be post human!”. I think they will look back at our obliviously relativistic morality, thinly veiled attempts to do our selves credit, and vague warnings about the things man was not meant to tamper with; and either laugh or pull the holo disc out of their neural net and chuck it against the rings of Saturn.
Don’t take my assertion about the appeal of scifi to future humans, to in anyway mean that I don’t enjoy it myself. I am a big supporter of the idea that one of fictions biggest jobs is to make us feel good, even above making us think, which is of course very important as well. I just take some issue with a piece that is structured seemingly to make us think, but puts fourth nothing of substance. I take issue with stories that seem to tout themselves as thought provoking “What have we lost in the face of technology?” but really they are designed to inflate our egos and reinforce our current sense of self.
This phenomenon has been going on throughout the history of human kind in the realm of real science as well as fiction. Always at the precipice of new discoveries people line up to discredit the new idea motivated only by a desire to maintain their world view and consequentially their self image. These outcries always fall silent over time, it is a losing battle, an extinction burst. Our curiosity seems to slightly out way our fear. The earth was flat, the sun revolved around us, and we were made in the image of the all mighty creator of the universe. No one argues for the first two anymore. As technology progresses exponentially, people are more often charged with changing something about their world view within their own lifetime, instead of through their descendants. I’m sure this is more and more difficult the longer one goes with the same view. The upside is that I think people will have to get used to make incremental changes in their views on a regular basis, and just maybe develop a richer sense of humility because of it.
I think the innate fear of change through real science is what gives rise to the cautionary tales of science fiction. Now I’m not saying I think every scientific discovery should be allowed to transform the whole world, only that our skepticism should be honest and practical instead of driven by fear. So what if we are not special as a species or as individuals? What does that really mean, and why is it important? Is it practical and even beneficial to suppress the desire for such feelings once in a while, much like it is sometimes necessary to suppress feelings of rage. When considering technology and the future, I think it is. One day we may have a way to perfectly regulate such bias’ in ourselves, but until then, being aware of them will due.
Two scifi movies come to mind off the top of my head that at least begin to explore post humanism sensibilities in a way that isn’t judgmental or underhanded. They are “Solaris” and “2001”. I think they both replace emotional comfort with a sense of wonder to achieve a viewing experience that isn’t disturbing enough to force them into the category of horror. They are both kind of ruminating, and both kind of an acquired taste. Both deal extensively with emotion without elevating sentimentality and ego to the level of morality. Post humans might enjoy these films a bit more than others, but truthfully we can’t know what they would like, since we are not yet them. Science fiction is made for us and we like to romanticize the image we keep of our selves. But as we slowly become other people, we may look back and wonder how we ever thought and felt this way.