February 22, 2010
Here Is How It’s Going To Happen…
One billion years from now there will be no such thing as biological life. The Earth could potentially wipe humans out (Volcano, Earthquake, Snowpacalypse, etc.), but I think we have beaten back Mother Nature enough times already. We know she doesn’t have the willpower to defeat us.
We won’t evolve much physically. Technology has essentially eliminated any credible threat that would cause our bodies to adapt out of necessity. Our evolution will instead stem from culture and technology going forward. Medicines have curtailed our biological motivation to adapt naturally against bacteria. We’ve invented weapons to kill our natural predators. “In short, evolution may now be memetic -involving ideas- rather than genetic.” – Peter Ward Scientific American Jan. 2009
Ideas and intelligence will shape human evolution instead of our need to grow another leg muscle so we can run away from bears in the forest? That’s a comforting thought.
Ideas have helped us evolve already. Humans have been able to harness the gene and breed different types of animals and plants to aid in our survival. We’ve created a hypoallergenic dog for Pete’s Sake. Instead of being subject to the whims of nature, why can’t we take over the steering wheel with our own destiny? Why can’t we make hypoallergenic people? We could. But should we?
Genetic engineering will become a reality and to be honest, as much as I hate the idea of a service that would essentially homogenize the entire human race, it would be pretty sweet. Flick a switch and make your baby strong, smart, and beautiful. How could you live with yourself if you didn’t make that happen? Especially when your kid turns out to be Flava-Flav. Wouldn’t you feel bad for dooming your progeny to that fate?
A species evolves when one small group segments itself off from the larger population. This little group then begins to procreate amongst themselves exclusively. Maybe a small colony of people with genetically engineered genomes would section themselves off and just do the freak-nasty with each other because they’re all beautiful and consequently stuck up.
They could probably do “it” for a while too. Their prime reproductive window could last a very long time. Old age is not a gradual erosion of your body’s tissues and organs; it’s a programmed decay that your body goes through. Therefore enhancing a person’s DNA could delay the changing of young into old indefinitely. No word yet on if it will prevent ear-hair growth though.
This race of super-intelligent, freakishly strong, 85 year old hotties will have lots of time to make lots of babies; backgammon-playing, symmetrical-faced, hulk-babies who will in turn make more babies. Homo-sapiens will eventually become extinct. Something different would remain.
That’s all just internal factors though. What about the machines, man? Eventhough we’ve ignored all warning signs from Terminator 2, we are already precariously close to becoming one with machines. Humans use technology, right? Sure, but no one seems to realize that its a symbiotic relationship. We advance it just as much as it advances us. Don’t think computers have control over rational, sentient beings like humans?
Between wireless internet and the nearly available prospect of wireless electricity, I just don’t know what could stop us becoming fully integrated. Eventually, we’ll completely transcend our Earthly physics all together and just be floating blobs of information packets.
It seems to me that right now we’re no different than the single-celled amoeba’s that populated Earth’s surface billions of years ago. We’re just a little farther down the line. Eventually we will form a giant collective and become a more complex organism, just like the amoebas did.
In 4.5 billion years the Sun’s fuel will be spent and the yellow star will turn into a red giant, engulfing our planet. The Earth, by then an actual living thing, comprised of trillions of amoeba’s that were once known as humans, will perhaps exercise free will and escape the Sun’s violent end, traveling farther in space to make new Planet-sized friends.
Don’t read Scientific American. This is what it does to you.