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National Geographic series Year Million explores the future of humanity

Plus, there’s even some dystopian commentary from Ars staffer Annalee Newitz.

 Annalee Newitz

 If you're interested in where science and technology might take humanity over the next million years, you might want to check out a new series from National Geographic called Year Million. Part science fiction, part speculative commentary, the show explores what could happen to humanity if we actually achieve some of today's scientific moonshots, like extreme longevity, human-equivalent AI, fully immersive VR, and space colonization.

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The series' advisers included futurists like George Dvorsky and Michio Kaku, as well as science fiction writers like N.K. Jemisin. Their commentary is interspersed with the story of a family whose members go through all the changes created by technology. Thanks to life extension, they get to live for a million years and see the Earth and humanity utterly transformed.
Though some of the predictions in Year Million may seem unrealistic, there is still plenty to think about in the series. Some of the episodes cover topics like the future of agriculture and cognitive enhancement, as well as what might happen if we could take control of our own evolution. We get to see the impact of some of these technologies on our family of protagonists, too. Even if you're a skeptic, these are still fun topics for debate—especially because many of these speculative technologies are under development, if only in the earliest stages.

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On a personal note, I had a blast being interviewed by series producer Elisabeth Jamison. I tried to offer the most realistic ideas I could, exploring the political and economic contexts where some of these crazy breakthroughs might take place. You can see me prognosticating, alongside much fancier commentators, in tonight's episode and the rest of the series.
New episodes of Year Million air on Mondays at 9pm on National Geographic.
National Geographic series Year Million explores the future of humanity Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 11:45 PM Rating: 5

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