On a day when rejected History Channel personalities J. Hutton Pulitzer (once of Curse of Oak Island) and Scott F. Wolter (of America Unearthed) teamed up to launch their own private on-demand TV programming because they said they were just too smart for cable TV, it is a bit difficult to argue that they are wrong after watching yet another installment of Ancient Aliens. Tonight’s episode, S11E03 “The Next Humans,” is another entry in the series’ ongoing blurring of the words “ancient” and “aliens” to refer to anything vaguely science-fictional or techno-utopian.
This segment discusses transhumanism and cyborgs. The talking heads are particularly interested in genetic engineering and creating artificial genomes for “synthetic” children. This material is pretty much the same as the material form the second half of an August 2015 episode, “Aliens and Robots.” I’m not sure what more I can add to what I said last time. I guess I could add that essentially that this material has nothing much to do with anything ancient or alien but is rather part of the larger “ancient alien lifestyle” that we might charitably describe as a general interest in science, technology, and especially science fiction and fantasy.
After reviewing modern technology for eight minutes, we finally try to get to something ancient and alien. The show tells us that the myth of Hatshepsut’s divine birth at the hands of a god bearing an ankh that he, to be rather crude, shoved up her mother’s vagina must therefore be an artificial insemination from space. William Henry, self-styled religious expert, calls this an “immaculate conception,” confusing the Immaculate Conception of Mary free from the taint of Original Sin with the Virgin Birth.
This segment continues the transhumanist fantasizing, asking whether genetic therapies will give humans IQs of 1,000 and unlimited lifespans. The show repeats in yet another episode the false claim that human beings use only 10% of their brains, and they speculate that we could boost our brain efficiency to using 35% or more neurons. Nootropics are supposedly substances that will someday create immortality, so the show asserts that ancient aliens fought wars for various mythic substances like amrita, ambrosia, etc. that they claim were really nootropics. Nootropics are actually brain-boosting supplements designed to improve cognition, so it isn’t at all clear how this is supposed to relate to the food of the gods and its attendant immortality. There is no indication in myth that immortality is correlated with intelligence.
This segment deals with nanotechnology, summarizing what futurists hope miniature machines will be able to accomplish in terms of medical technology. Nothing here is unfamiliar to fans of science fiction, and the types of anti-aging and healing properties that the show describes I recall seeing on the Syfy Channel’s original programs a couple of times in the past year. But the conclusion that the arrival of such technology indicates our worthiness to rejoin the aliens is straight out of “Aliens and Robots.” The show asks us to believe that the Sumerian King List, an ancient account of the antediluvian rules and their long reigns, weren’t just myths with symbolic ages of the semi-divine (their ages are multiples of key astrological numbers like 3, 6, and 12) but rather were people kept alive by nanotechnology combatting the signs of aging—for tens of thousands of years per person! Did the nanotechnology simply choose to kill off each person at a symbolically appropriate round number—36,000; 43,200; 18,600; etc.?
This segment describes 3D printing of tissue and organs. David Wilcock hopes that such technology will be cheap enough that even the poor can have replacement organs, sparing us all from the future of Parts: The Clonus Horror, The Island, and Never Let Me Go—if only we can make artificial organs more cost effective than harvesting them from clones of the wealthy, or, as we do now, paying the poor to sell their organs on the black market. All this techno-futurism has nothing to do with aliens or ancient history, but the show does use another idea I saw on Syfy last year, in which humans will someday surf the stars by neural linking ourselves to robots that would experience travel for us. Giorgio Tsoukalos tells us that Heracles’ impenetrable lion skin and a similar covering in the Mahabharata are actually impervious artificial skin manufactured by aliens to be unbreakable. So why did they put a lion’s head and paws on it? I guess it was just the fashion back then, but then again I never got into skinny jeans so I guess I don’t really understand fashion trends.
This segment discusses a global effort to build a computer simulation of an entire human brain. Futurists think that supercomputers with human conscious would gain godlike powers of knowledge thanks to their ability to correlate data. But what data? Would computers be any better than people at distinguishing high quality data from ancient astronaut theories? David Wilcock says that humans could someday upload their personalities to the internet. They might try, but it wouldn’t be “them” in the sense that their consciousness would leave their bodies and enter the computer. At best, it would be a copy, as much “you” as your clone (essentially your twin) is you. The only way it might work is if somehow your brain could have each neuron replaced one by one until only technology remained. It’s an interesting philosophical question, but one that Ancient Aliens chooses not to engage with at all. As far as they care, our minds just pop out of our bodies become super-geniuses online.
The narrator tells us that aliens might be behind all this technology, but no one bothers to offer even token evidence for it. At this point in the series’ long run, it seems that the producers simply assume that audiences fill in the gaps with their own fan-wanks, or memories of past episodes. The bottom line is that no one believes humans are able to do anything on their own.
The final segment discusses the academic paper “Drugs, Space, and Cybernetics” by Nathan S. Kline and Manfred Clynes, which suggested that to survive in space we would need to engineer cyborgs. This segment repeats claims about aliens being cyborgs from “Aliens and Robots.” If you’ve seen that episode, you pretty much saw this one, which expanded two or three of its segments to hour-length and left out all the fun parts of the earlier episode.
5/20/2016 11:02:23 pm
I take comforting knowing that IF it were possible to upload an individual's consciousness, all of the AA crew would fit on a 3.5" floppy disk.
5/23/2016 10:30:58 am
"I see your Schwartz is as big as mine. Let's see how you handle it."
5/21/2016 03:15:01 pm
5/20/2016 11:08:23 pm
You bring up an issue I have thought of as well from seeing the fawning many people give to new age utopianism, where one does not need to learn, study or critically think. Rather, one must simply be open to the knowledge of the universe, and it enlightens. The disregard for tried and proven scientific and scholarly traditions and methods, well all of that just takes too much time. Similarly, with the internet, many now think they can just open up and download. No time, no need to think or critically evaluate. For example, they assume sacred geometry is ancient "secret knowledge" and find it hidden everywhere.
Ok, excuse my ignorance, but who is the creepy Ozymandias-meets-Johnny Winter dude in this episode? Did I miss his lower third? Oh, ok...I replayed it. Gray Scott. Still creepy. Please don't hate me for being honest. Oh crap he lives in NYC. Only a matter of time before I see him in the village mac-ing on an alter boy...I mean...he's just looking towards the future...kind of like a 401(k)
5/21/2016 11:33:34 am
Gray Scott strikes me as overly self promoting, a sort of invention of personality that puts the persona first rather than his subject matter. You can see how over time, he's been reconfiguring his appearance to become a sort of idealized, airbrushed android, a perfect wisdom god.
5/21/2016 11:49:44 am
How bizarre. I checked out his website and saw when he used to have regular person skin, dark hair and glasses. I have to agree that he seems to be trying to look like a sci-fi version of a future synthetic human.
5/21/2016 12:14:37 pm
I hate these technology episodes of Ancient Aliens. They are so boring and repetitive. At least when they are showing ancient ruins and such, I can ignore the stupid comments and enjoy the history. But episodes like this just insult my intelligence. The logic of "we can do it today so we must have been able to do in the past" is ridiculous. The present and future cannot affect the past!
5/21/2016 12:18:13 pm
Did this episode seem especially poorly edited? I noticed Jonathan Young claim that "the Mesopotamians had Soma", confusing them for Indo-Iranians.
5/21/2016 12:49:30 pm
I did catch that part about musculature. Either they accidentally edited out words like "aging of..." or else he misspoke and no one on staff was either smart enough or paying enough attention to catch it.
5/21/2016 01:00:21 pm
Episode did seem strange, drifting back and forth with few logical bridges between ideas. I would not want any aliens, either ancient or modern messing with my brain. It is my second most favorite organ.
5/21/2016 03:38:56 pm
with a title like "S11E03 “The Next Humans,”" I am somewhat surprised they didn't just pull out a copy of Bulwer-Lytton's "The Coming Race." Well, maybe next week and if they do I can start trading in Vril futures, maybe
5/21/2016 05:17:30 pm
The secret to watching AA is rather simple. Concentrate on the video and the narrator's intro to the location, subject, etc. As soon as one of the usual talking heads pops up, hit the mute button. Then just think about the real science, the locations, etc.
5/22/2016 01:51:30 pm
At this rate, I expect that at some point, AA will discover the JRPG Xenogears and declare that its creators were inspired by aliens/the Nephilim/King Arthur's toenails, given its use of nanotechnology, its questioning the relationship between mankind and god (in several flavors) and a very 'ancient aliens' premise, except that the aliens in question were humans. It wouldn't be any more ridiculous than what they've already come up with over the years.
6/2/2016 11:52:58 am
Lamech was the father of Noah ,not Methuselah as Mr Childress stated.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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