Future Human Evolution

Becker stayed at my house until after 4:00am. Somehow we resisted the Xbox 360 with Burnout Paradise in the tray and just talked about stuff. Somehow we got on the subject of human evolution.

Will humans continue to evolve? Could human evolution possibly continue in the same way that got us to where we are now? Is it possible to prevent evolution?

Yes. No. No.

I envision a very distant future in which the evolution of technology has paralleled the evolution of man.


We develop technology such that most things have been automated (i.e. agriculture, manufacturing, cooking, etc.) and humans manipulate these automated systems via computers. Eventually we are no longer required to type commands because computers understand voice commands. Later we no longer have to voice our commands because the computers can read our brain waves.

Computer input does not evolve on it's own. Output evolves as well. Computers do not present information through peripherals anymore. The computer does not display an image of something on a screen which we view with our eyes; the computer sends the same signal our eyes would send to our brain directly to the brain. The same with the other senses.

Physically humans are diminished. We no longer need eyes, ears, taste buds, nerve endings to experience the world. Our technology can see and hear and taste and feel things for us, and send the signals to our brains.

This is not worse! It is better. Our current senses are limited to the area around our bodies because our sensory organs are attached, essentially, to our brains. In the future our "eyes" can be probes light years away; our "ears" can be speakers at the bottom of the ocean.

Our sensory organs are limited anyway. The human eye can only experience the electromagnetic spectrum between wavelengths of 400 and 700 nanometers. The human ear cannot sense sounds below 20 hertz or above 20 000 hertz. We currently have instruments that are more sensitive or are sensitive to a different range than human senses. If we could experience these aspects of the universe that we are missing in a more intuitive way, imagine how our understanding of the universe might progress.

By using technology as our senses, we would be able to visit distance galaxies and witness events such as the creation and annihilation of particle-antiparticle pairs. What could be more exciting or more beautiful than this?


Anonymous said...

Read 2001, by Arthur C. Clarke. There is an entire chapter where he philosophizes on human evolution and comes to the same conclusions. He also takes it one step further to suggest that there must be another evolutionary stage after the machines. This would be pure thought, which would escape even the limitations of machines and electronics. You can probably just read that chapter and skip the rest of the book as you are already familiar with the plot and its conclusion.


Anonymous said...

This quote from the dying replicant in Blade Runner came to mind. Not sure if it even applies, but w/e.

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die."

I'm 100% for these kinds of advances. However, many moral and ethical structures in society already exist that would probably actively fight this sort of thing. Many people already consider things like stem cell research and embryonic screening problematic. So we have a LONG way to go :)

Somewhat related, assuming that we (naturally) begin to actively use genetics and nanotechnology, what does it mean to be 'human' then? It's possible we could modify ourselves sufficiently so we couldn't reproduce with other humans, no? The resulting diversity and speciation would be fascinating. Imagine being able to adapt ourselves to live in space! We live in this huge universe, but so far we can only survive on a single known world, and even then only on a fraction of it. Oops, it looks like I'm blabbing. I love me that Sci-Fi stuff. Later!


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