The sad jar of atoms and the spaniel of destiny
Without God, 'nothing is permitted, and nothing prohibited', as Dostoyevsky more correctly puts it in Crime and Punishment, not the other one D'Souza hasn't read. Fictional characters may differ from their authors, although I would not be surprised to learn of such a cruciphile interviewing a teddy bear, thinking it Enid Blyton. But enough of argumentum ad author.
An action, a thought, and a feel, are the same thing, all actions. A dictionary is a frozen waterfall, words flowed before understanding. Some generosity in parsing is required. Nearly all life is invisible, but that word was made up earlier too. Pedantry stultifies.
Consciousness is an illusion in the generally understood sense. Who is deluded. To see this awake, I mean for a normal person, not a fractional self, or a multiple self, or a no-self - all of which are among us and well known - to see it awake, we are blessed with time, and the variable unfixed and fluid who, the whole that works fine at less than 100%. It requires no special skill, to cross-reference macro self-components, each in turn against another, and prove each false. The who is the whole stadium, parts of the crowd can look across at each other. You see it later in the persistence of envision, the mexican wave.
But that was an aside. Magic or machines it is. There are people who believe in ghosts, yes, but we needn't talk to them for long. Even they must admit machines can not-think better than humans can think. Let them play Humpty Dumpty with their words.
Futurology is simple, technology less predictable. Desire is known. The base and most powerful drives are short-coded once future-proof generalisations. This constitutes the soul of mankind. Rivers of thought, elaborate at estuary, are simple at source and can be read with a mirror, or maths and ESS. The percentages of billions of thoughts are available, not who, but how many. The global phenotype will express. The end of humanity is written in the base desire to survive.
Rocks do not live in a virtual reality, and refute it thus. We may not care about their well-being. People who don't see microwaves do live in a virtual reality. The inter-subjective consensus many-brained extended perception that is science sees microwaves, and though it can never be truly objective, it can work subjective magic, within physics. What will apes with magic do? Become as gods, we will answer our prayers. Savannah prayers. These are known. Savannah prayers to re-weave the rainbow. Like all good poets, we would seek to re-establish paradise lost.
By exaption, not design, immortality will be the death of us. Just as a confused person will tell you they wouldn't want to live in a virtual reality, the majority will always be against immortality. This is irrelevant. The same majority will always be pro medicine, and the machines will fix themselves completely, by exaption. Just as the confused person will tell you they prefer bodies, they will also be anti 'accidents'. Their hands can't feel, their noses can't smell, travel in bodies is popular, but for people who don't know where they are. These same people find broadening their horizons irresistible. And subjective reality is literally irresistible.
Thus minds will transfer to the new platform, the adjacent possible but decades away. Those who prefer to die, the better late than evers, may not influence future events. They discard their opinions.
By design, one could engineer x billion realities, such that each could achieve 'maximal well-being' - to piously parrot someone else. But evolution, not intelligent design, will prevail by democracy. Written further along the epitaph of humanity, is the base desire to communicate.
The incongruence of brains makes the buffering between skinless selfs precarious. Solvable in principle, it will not be by design. Lovers of humanity, as human lovers, desire to merge deeper than self. The integrity of thought requires discreteness as discretion. Self is lost in subsumption to the swarm.
Since birth, humanity has died nightly. Tomorrow there can be no resurrection, and none can mind.