Some have suggested quite reasonably that the "next" really significant step in human evolution is the computerization of our brain functions, and that we'll usher in this downloadable brain era in about 30-70 years.
Once humans have a process to "download" our brains into machines, or perhaps simply create processes where machines have their own consciousnesses, many of the challenges facing humanity could go away – perhaps overnight. Concepts like health, water, food, fuel, and population will change as increasing numbers of societal participants will need few resources other than enough power to sustain their electronic consciousness .
For reasons I don't understand this sounds fanciful or even foolish to many who fail to realize or acknowledge the degree to which we NOW rely on machine intelligence. From simple calculators and spell checkers to satellite photos to internet searches and computer models of climate our information gathering and processing is enhanced via machine processes.
Sure, the leap to conscious machines is much larger but I'd suggest it will not prove qualitatively different from the subtle enhancements machines now bring to the table of conscious thought.
I'm just looking forward to playing perfect chess games every time.