Ancient Aliens s11e03 Episode Script

The Next Humans

TSOUKALOS: Right now, we are inventing all these different technologies, with which we could actually make ourselves superhumans with super intelligence.
DAVID WILCOCK: The potentials are quite extreme.
You could eventually have printable noses, ears, lungs, kidneys.
KEVIN WARWICK: The big question is immortality.
Dying, is it something we have to do? WILLIAM HENRY: I'm convinced that the engineers at MI are looking back into the ancient examples of the gods.
DAVID CHILDRESS: You've got to wonder, are extraterrestrials somehow guiding us, and manipulating us into this new future, and this new human that we are destined to be? NARRATOR: Since the dawn of civilization, mankind has credited its origins to gods and other visitors from the stars.
What if it were true? Did extraterrestrial beings really help to shape our history? And if so, might their ultimate plan be revealed with the rise of the Next Humans? Â Â NARRATOR: Mountain View, California.
August, 1962.
At NASA's Ames Research Center, the newly formed Division of Biotechnology and Human Research begins a study on the possibility of exploring space with technologically-enhanced humans, otherwise known as cyborgs.
Ten months later, they release a report called "The Cyborg Study: Engineering Man for Space.
" In it, they propose that astronauts will require artificial organs and pharmaceuticals to survive in the harshest environments of deep space as we explore beyond our solar system.
While the program was quickly abandoned due to the lack of available technology, it helped usher in a new era of scientific research focused on augmenting the human species into a new stage of evolution: the Transhuman.
WARWICK: Transhumanism is the use of technology by humans, to enhance the physical, psychological, and most of all, intellectual capabilities.
We transhumanists want to use science and technology to self-direct our evolution.
There are lots of transhumanists now that don't even consider themselves transhuman-- for example, people who have pacemakers, or cochlear implants, or hip replacements.
These are technologies that we're using, and that is beyond human.
JONATHAN YOUNG: The idea of their being a transhuman is actually a very old notion, and it stems from our longing for immortality.
so there were attempts to extend human life.
SCOTT: Transhumanism has been thought of for a very long time, throughout mythology.
From Gilgamesh's search for immortality, to alchemy to the search for the fountain of life.
Really, the quest to overcome what it means to be human, to see if we can live forever, that has been the quest for a very long time.
IfRRATOR: Although the notion of modifying the body with technology has been around for thousands of years, transhumanists say the 21st century will radically change what it means to be a human when we begin to genetically engineer an entirely new generation of humans.
April 22, 2015.
Guangzhou, China.
Geneticists at the Sun Yat-Sen University make history as the first team in the world to genetically modify a human embryo.
Using a gene editing technique known as CRISPR-Cas9, the scientists were able to correct the gene defect that causes beta-thalassemia, a blood disease, by snipping out and replacing portions of the DNA in the fertilized egg.
By using a new technology called CRISPR, scientists are able to actually cut into the DNA and replace parts of the DNA with genetically-modified proteins.
This allows us to literally transform who we are.
WARWICK: When we look at DNA changing, it can be used not just to overcome problems, but to improve your looks, maybe change the color or your hair, or your eyes, or perhaps even more importantly, change your intellectual or physical abilities.
NARRATOR: Will the modification of human embryos soon lead to a wave of what futurists call "designer babies," children whose physical features and mental capabilities were selected by their parents.
Many believe that not only is this a possibility, but that the very definition of a parent may soon change as well.
The UK is on its way to becoming the first country to legalize the creation of babies from three different people.
And a large majority of the House of Commons voted in favor of the controversial "Three Parent In Vitro Fertilization," or TPIVF.
The British government officially declared it legal, so actual children have been born that have DNA from three different parents.
I think it is quite possible, in the future, that it won't be just two or three parents that the child has, but could be any number.
That sounds like science fiction, but it's actually something the Japanese scientists are working on right now.
And what that would entail is using an artificial womb.
(heart beating, baby fussing) Actually gestating the child within that artificial womb.
Now, you can imagine, if we can get to this stage, it doesn't matter who who the parents are.
You could have a community of people with the best genes contributing to making that child.
And that is really the future that is in front of us.
NARRATOR: Is it possible we could synthetically create human beings, picking and choosing genetic traits from any number of donors? Could the characteristics of a person soon be limited only by our imaginations? Ancient astronaut theorists say yes, and suggest an even more incredible possibility: that we are not the first to do this.
Luxor, Egypt.
Here in the Deir el-Bahari mortuary temple lies the burial chamber of Hatshepsut, one of the only queens to ever become a pharaoh.
And on the frescoed walls of this tomb is a scene portraying Hatshepsut's conception at the hands of divine beings.
On the walls of Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary temple, it says that a long time ago God Amon came to Hatshepsut's mother, Ahmose, in her sleep, and with the power of God Anum, and with the key of ankh in his hand, he created baby Hatshepsut.
He uses the ankh that key-shaped tool, to give life, to create a human.
TSOUKALOS: Any device that can give life upon something would have to appear as magical so you have to wonder who were these gods that they were talking about? What we have in this story is actually the immaculate conception of Hatshepsut, and it is clear that this is the story of an extraterrestrial intervention in the creation of a star child, Hatshepsut.
So, we appear to be dealing with some sort of a technology, a DNA-based technology that can manifest human bodies or alter human DNA.
NARRATOR: Could Hatshepsut have been genetically engineered by otherworldly beings? And is it possible that humans are just now starting to unlock the incredible potential hidden within us by our extraterrestrial creators, as ancient astronaut theorists propose? Perhaps further clues can be found in our own attempts, not in creating life, but in reversing death.
NARRATOR: State College, Pennsylvania.
October 15, 2015.
Gong Chen and a team of biologists from the Life Sciences Department at Penn State University reveal research on a cocktail of specialized drugs designed to convert non-neuronal cells in the brain, called glial cells, into neurons.
90% of our brain is made up of what's called glial cells.
These cells are just a support mechanism for the neurons themselves.
WARWICK: What we can do at the moment is to take glial cells from the brain and to use different chemicals, essentially, to alter the functioning of the glial cells.
Chemicals will cause them to become fresh neurons.
Gong Chen's belief for this research is that things like severe brain trauma, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's could actually be effectively transformed and healed.
NARRATOR: Could degenerative brain disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's be cured by a simple chemical injection? And if so, could we eventually rid the brain of neurological diseases entirely? Transhumanists believe the therapeutic uses for this incredible discovery are only a small part of the bigger picture.
In the future, we could see using that technology to increase our intelligence to a, to a superhuman state.
Now imagine, because the brain is only ten percent neurons, imagine if we could increase the brain's capacity to 35%.
That could change everything.
I mean, we could become a super intelligent species.
Could you, in fact, advance the human IQ, perhaps to such a degree that you might have people walking around now with a 1,000 IQ? NARRATOR: Could Dr.
Chen's research lead us to an exponential increase of the human intellect? And if so, will we seem like primates to the people of tomorrow? Transhumanists suggest that if we can create new brain cells, we could potentially reproduce all of the body's cells, which would have profound implications.
WARWICK: The big question is immortality.
Dying, is it something we have to do? Cells die away, but if we can start replacing the cells, and if we can replace brain cells and keep the functioning of the brain going, then it does, potentially, really extend life, in theory, forever.
Some people, like Ray Kurzweil, have suggested by 2045 we'll be able to do that.
NARRATOR: Ray Kurzweil is Google's Director of Engineering, a transhumanist, prolific author and inventor.
He believes, in the near future, humans will be able to extend their lives indefinitely.
To reach that point, he maintains a daily diet of over 100 different body and mind enhancing pills, called nootropics.
Nootropics are essentially drugs of one kind or another, chemicals if you like, that can change the way most of the body functions, but particularly how the brain functions.
SCOTT: Choline, for example, helps with memory, and so, people are using these nootropics to enhance their memory, to have better recall, to have better focus.
You're starting to see nootropics pop up everywhere, especially in Silicon Valley.
In the future, the idea of enhancing the cognitive ability in the human being is going to be sort of commonplace.
NARRATOR: Kurzweil and others predict nootropics will become a new multi-billion dollar industry as people turn to supplements to enhance their bodies and prolong their lives.
But ancient astronaut theorists believe that, like genetic manipulation, evidence of nootropic use can be found thousands of years ago.
Dating back to the fifth century BC, the Hindu Sanskrit epic known as The Mahabharata, tells the story of Samudra Manthana, a celestial battle between the gods for a rare substance that grants immortality.
The "Samudra Manthana" means the "churning of the ocean.
" And in this case, the ocean is visualized as a cosmic sea of milk.
It is, in essence, the Milky Way itself.
There were two primary forces at odds in the universe.
There were the Asuras and they were at odds with a new order of gods-- the Devas.
The gods went to Lord Vishnu and Vishnu said, why don't you try to cooperate with them? At the very depths of the ocean, there is a substance called Amrita, a divine nectar of immortality.
Churn the cosmic ocean of milk, and it will yield forth the nectar of immortality, and you can share it.
YOUNG: The gods and the demons start churning, in the heavens, the Milky Way, and what is produced by this is an elixir, an elixir that can grant immortality.
Well, there was a terrible war now, because everyone wanted this.
CHILDRESS: In order to win the battle for the gods, they decide they need this amrita, this elixir of life.
So you have to wonder if this story isn't about some kind of extraterrestrial war in heaven, where aliens are fighting over nootropics.
NARRATOR: Could the story of the Samudra Manthana be an ancient account of a celestial battle over a highly advanced nootropic? Ancient astronaut theorists say yes, and point to legends of immortality elixirs throughout antiquity.
The ancients had many stories of immortality-- that it was touchable or reachable.
The Chinese had the peaches of immortality.
The Greeks had ambrosia.
The Mesopotamians had the idea of "soma.
" In the Biblical tradition, there is the tree of life.
There is something that you can ingest and gain immortality.
CHILDRESS: This quest has been going on for thousands of years, around the world, by many different cultures.
This quest for these smart drugs, that will enhance our lifestyle and our mental clarity.
So you have to wonder, was this nootropic drug some kind of extraterrestrial elixir that was well-known in ancient times? NARRATOR: Could ancient accounts of elixirs of immortality really be descriptions of extraterrestrial nootropics? And might it soon be possible to unlock our full human potential simply with the right potion or pill, perhaps fulfilling a destiny to become like our alien ancestors? Ancient astronaut theorists say yes, and suggest molecular chemistry is only the beginning of the human upgrade.
WILCOCK: Nano-machines could actually heal the wounds in our bodies.
STOCK: The possibility of reversing human aging, is not a very big stretch.
NARRATOR: November 17, 2015.
A team of researchers from North Carolina State University, and Rice University, unveil the first motor-driven, submersible nanomachines ever created.
Molecular nano-technology is the idea of building devices, machines, at a molecular scale.
"Nano" refers to a billionth of a meter, so, very, very small.
We're getting down to atomic scale.
NARRATOR: Measuring only 244 atoms across, these miniature robots are designed to deliver specialized medicines throughout the body, using the bloodstream.
Scientists have created biobots that are the first of its kind.
These tiny little bio hybrids and bots are capable of tying to viscous material through our bodies.
SCOTT: They take submersible nanomachines that can be controlled with UV light, and using the UV light, they can control where these nanomachines take nutrients and take medicines into the body.
WARWICK: As long as we have a way of controlling them from the outside, they can move around very, very quickly, perform a function-- i-if we're looking at operating on a cancer, then, potentially, they could do that operation for you, from within.
WILCOCK: This could lead to huge advances in medicine, in healing, leading to nanomachines that could actually heal the wounds in our bodies, close things up much faster, repair damaged tissue, extend our lifespan, and literally bring us into a new level of human evolution.
NARRATOR: Transhumanists believe our bodies will soon be home to swarms of nanomachines, that will both heal, and also warn of disease.
And some propose this technology is advancing so rapidly that it will not just be future generations that will live tens or even hundreds of years longer, but people who are alive today.
STOCK: The possibility of reversing human aging, as opposed to just slowing it down, is not a very big stretch.
So if you understand aging and the fundamentals of the processes that are leading to it, it would be quite possible, both to slow it, and it would also be possible to reverse it.
SCOTT: An example of this is a study that has gone on at Harvard, by reversing the muscle tissue in mice.
We have actually reversed the age in these mice.
And so, if we can do that in the laboratory setting, it's only a matter of time before we're able to reverse our own aging process.
NARRATOR: Could millions of microscopic robots soon be swimming in our bloodstreams, augmenting our immune system, and even reversing the aging process entirely, as transhumanists believe? Ancient astronaut theorists suggest that if such a transformation does occur, it may be a sign that we're evolving to become more like our alien ancestors.
As evidence, they point to the Sumerian King List, a series of stone tablets that are believed to be over 4,000 years old, and record the reigns of ancient Mesopotamian kings that ruled for upwards of 43,000 years.
HENRY: The Sumerian Kings List was handed down to humanity by the gods.
What's extraordinary is that the reigns of these kings last into the thousands of years.
These people weren't making allegorical or metaphorical statements, these were accurate historical records.
CHILDRESS: Ancient texts, including the Bible and the Sumerian texts, talk about ancient kings and other people living incredibly long life spans.
Methuselah, who was supposedly the father of Noah, was said to have lived for 969 years.
JASON MARTELL: When we look into the past, there's a clear record of people who have lived a much longer life span than what we have today.
We have to wonder if these beings weren't given or had access to some type of nanotechnology.
And it fuels the idea and understanding, and our drive today, to be like the gods.
CHILDRESS: And this important nanotechnology is something that extraterrestrials and other advanced civilizations would already have.
And it would only make sense that, if extraterrestrials are coming to our planet, they would have brought this nanotechnology with them.
NARRATOR: Might our research into nanotechnology, nootropics and genetic engineering ascend us to the level of extraterrestrials that came to Earth thousands of years ago, as ancient astronaut theorists suggest? Perhaps further clues can be found by examining the technology that is being developed to upgrade not just our blood, but even our flesh.
SCOTT: We can use the power of our thoughts to control avatar robots.
HENRY: The engineers at MI are looking back into the ancient examples of the gods.
NARRATOR: New York City.
May 4, 2015.
At TechCrunch Disrupt New York, an annual new technologies conference, U.
biotech startup BioBots launches a desktop 3D printer for biomaterials which they use to print a replica of Van Gogh's ear.
Instead of plastic, special ink is combined with biomaterials-- like collagen and cultured cells-- to build living tissue and human organs.
So, right now, we're just at the beginning of understanding how to 3D-print organs.
It's a process called "biofabrication.
" So BioBots has created a biofabrication 3D printer that can print artificial tissue and small organs.
In the future, what we're going to see are 3D printers that are bio-fabricating our bodies and our organs.
WILCOCK: You could eventually have printable noses, lungs, ears, kidneys and, in certain ways, this technology is so extreme that it could make it democratic.
It could make it inexpensive.
So in the hands of skilled, trained medical professionals, it could be possible in the future to 3D print organs for people out of their own genetic material.
NARRATOR: Transhumanists believe we may soon transcend our biological limitations, as we embed machines directly into our own bodies.
DARPA, the agency of the U.
Department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military is currently designing neural implants that will improve cognitive speed and memory retention in soldiers.
And in 2014, scientists at Seoul National University in South Korea unveiled research on synthetic "smart skin"-- lifelike ultra-thin crystalline silicon designed to cover prosthetic limbs, giving the user all of the sensations of a natural limb.
They have now developed a-a skin which has touch senses embedded in it with a very fine matrix, which can be put around a prosthetic.
So you can actually feel what that arm is feeling or you can touch the floor, feel whether it's hot or cold, or applying pressure.
SCOTT: Future artificial limbs will look just like our skin, look just like our hands and our legs.
It's going to affect the entire world.
We're going to see people using smart prosthetics that are added to the body, that can be controlled directly through the brain.
And that really is the future of prosthetics.
WARWICK: I can speak from experience, because I've had one myself-- our implants that link either into the brain or into the human nervous system-- and what I had was 100 small electrodes fired into my nervous system to link my nervous system with a computer.
It was a bit like plugging a plug into an electric socket, but the socket was my nervous system.
I went to Columbia University in New York, we plugged my nervous system into the Internet, and I controlled a robot hand from my brain signals.
You can extend your nervous system by simply plugging into it.
SCOTT: If we can use just the power of our thought to control artificial limbs we can eventually, one day, use the power of our thoughts to control avatar robots.
(whirring) I think we're going to see that kind of technology used to control avatars on the Moon; we're going to see that kind of technology to control robotic humanoid avatars on Mars.
NARRATOR: Could we one day venture into the cosmos, not with our bodies, but by wirelessly controlling robotic avatars? And is it possible that extraterrestrials have utilized these same technologies to explore Earth in the distant past? Ancient astronaut theorists say yes, and point to technologies currently in development at MI that strongly resemble those in ancient accounts of gods who descended from the sky.
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, they are developing a new smart skin for our soldiers that would make them resistant to ballistic attack or chemical attack and also would instantly self-repair.
This is absolutely extraordinary, because in the ancient texts, we learn of the gods who wore a similar skin that seemed to make them impervious to any kind of human weaponry.
They couldn't die.
Now when I hear stories of semi-divine beings, such as Hercules, with his impenetrable lion skin, or in the Sanskrit Mahabharata, the story of Karna and his impenetrable armor, I have to ask the question whether or not these were all misunderstood technologies.
NARRATOR: Could the self-repairing skin being developed at MI be the same technology our ancestors wrote about when they described divine beings that were invincible? And are we on the verge of this incredible biological and evolutionary leap ourselves? Some believe that mankind's next step is not in augmenting our bodies with machines, but in becoming the machines ourselves.
HEATHER BERLIN: We can download every connection that we have in our brain onto a computer.
STOCK: These are the kinds of powers that would have been viewed as god-like at one previous time.
NARRATOR: Geneva, Switzerland.
Henry Markram founds the Human Brain Project-- a ten-year scientific venture funded by the EU, involving hundreds of researchers from 135 institutions in 26 countries.
The goal of this project is to create a fully simulated model of the human brain inside a computer.
A lot of people are really excited about the idea of: if we could map out the structure of the human brain, neuron for neuron, and every connection, then we can download every connection that we have in our brain, all that information, onto a computer.
NARRATOR: The Human Brain Project is only one of a number of brain-mapping ventures.
The next great American project, and that's what we're calling the BRAIN Initiative.
NARRATOR: In 2013, President Barack Obama unveiled a $4.
5 billion project called the BRAIN Initiative.
And Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has invested over $500 million in the Allen Institute for Brain Science.
Futurists speculate that if these initiatives are successful, the implications could be profound.
SCOTT: Imagine having every piece of knowledge that every human has ever collected.
And if you crunch that down into a digital consciousness that's going to unlock everything.
We can know things about the world and about life that no individuals have ever previously known, because they're all from the aggregation of all of human knowledge that's going together.
So these are the kinds of powers that would have been viewed as god-like in previous eras.
NARRATOR: Could we be on the verge of creating a superhuman intelligence, able to outperform a human at any task? And if so, are we at risk of being replaced by machines entirely? Transhumanists believe what lies ahead could actually be a merging of man and machine.
WARWICK: If we can map the human brain into technology, then I could take your brain or somebody else's brain and copy it into a computer.
A technological one that could potentially live forever.
WILCOCK: What happens if we gain the ability to upload our consciousness into some sort of cloud virtual Internet technology? It's not that far from the spectrum of a realizable goal, because we're already seeing neurological implants that can be put into the brain, that can be used to control the movement of an artificial arm.
What happens if those neural implants can actually take the true essence of what it means to be conscious, and break that down into some sort of pure information that could live apart from a biological substrate? It could make itself far more massive, far more intelligent, than any human ever had been before.
NARRATOR: Could extraterrestrials have steered our evolution towards technology, so that we may merge man directly with machine, eliminating our biological restraints? And if so, might our futures lie entirely in a digital realm of silicon and bits of code? Many believe the answer lies not in what we are becoming, but where we are going.
CHILDRESS: It won't be long before mankind has reached the point where we have the technology and the artificial intelligence to leave our planet and go into space, just like extraterrestrials before us.
So you've got to wonder: are extraterrestrials somehow guiding us and manipulating us into this new future, and this new human, that we are destined to be? NARRATOR: Is it possible that extraterrestrials have led us to a post-biological future, so that we can rejoin them in the cosmos? And if so, might they have used these same technologies to visit Earth in the distant past? Ancient astronaut theorists say yes, and look to NASA's own attempts at re-engineering man for space.
NARRATOR: New York City, 1961.
Psychopharmacologist Nathan S.
Kline and cybernetic mathematician Manfred Clynes co-publish a paper about human space travel entitled "Drugs, Space, and Cybernetics.
" The two coin the term "cyborg"-- an enhanced human being specifically doctored to survive in extraterrestrial environments without a space suit.
In their paper, they detailed various ways in which to modify the human body for survival beyond Earth, and later served as the inspiration for NASA's study "Engineering Man for Space.
" TSOUKALOS: Our bodies are not suited for living in space.
After only a few days, we experience muscle and bone loss.
One has to wonder if extraterrestrials experience the same type of problems.
I do think that any beings that are able to cross the cosmos and visit this planet will have learned how to self-direct their evolution, to survive in deep space for extraordinarily long periods of time.
Those beings, more than likely, will be, at least, bio-digital, meaning that they have merged with their technologies.
Or they will be pure digital beings.
These may be robots or cyborgs.
NARRATOR: Could extraterrestrials have used the same cyborg technologies we are just now developing? If so, might our push towards transhumanism really be inspired by an innate desire to travel further into space and seek out our creators? There has been a consistent path towards the fusion of human and machine throughout all of our history-- this idea that we could somehow advance ourselves for the betterment of humankind through this merger of technology and biology.
CHILDRESS: I think that what will happen is that our biological bodies will be able to be perfected, any imperfections corrected.
Our mental abilities and lifespan will be enhanced considerably.
And we will be ready, ourselves, to go into space and ultimately join our creators in the stars.
NARRATOR: Is it possible extraterrestrials left us with the tools to mold ourselves into a truly transhuman species one without any limits, capable of traveling the stars at will? Or could nanomachines, artificial intelligence, and the digital revolution render humans obsolete? Our lives and the very nature of our existence may balance on this choice, a choice that is coming much sooner than we think.
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