Astronomy 321 - Spring 2013

The Future of Humanity

MWF 11-12 · RLM 15.216B · 48000



Monday, March 25

Singularity, Chapters 5, 6.

Extra Credit, 2%: attend an extracurricular lecture (Kaku, Krauss, etc) and write a two-page summary of the lecture and its relevance to the course.

Topic of final paper: what do you think the future of humanity will be in 100 years (a few generations), 1000 years (time since modern civilization), 10,000 years (time since agriculture, communities), 100,000 years (timescale of past human biological evolution) and beyond (geological, astronomical, cosmological timescales)?

In addition to this time line, you might consider some of the themes we have discussed in class:

What does it mean to be human?

Can machines be conscious?

Nature of work, economy after the putative "singularity."

Draft of 10 page paper on The Future of Humanity, oral reading to peers, Due Monday, April 22.

Revised draft for written peer review due Wednesday, April 24

Discuss draft with peers, Friday, April 26

Final paper due Monday, April 29.

Join the Facebook Group AST309N

Please see the 1st Day Handout [pdf].




J. Craig Wheeler

RLM 17.230 · (512) 471-6407 · email

Office Hours

TBA, or by appt


Chris Lindner


click to enlarge [2013 Scott Adams, Inc.]

click to enlarge [2014 Scott Adams, Inc.]