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The Future of Human Evolution

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The Future of Human
Evolution
Mary Pham
Anthropology 01
Summer 2007
Introduction
Upon studying evolution (especially studying
our ancestors and primate relatives) in our
class, a question popped up in my mind…
What will happen to the future of the
human species???
(i.e. Will we still survive? Branch off into
different species? Become extinct???)
Ladies and gentleman, today I will offer to
you several hypotheses proposed by
evolutionary theorists on the future of our
human species.
An Overview: Six Hypotheses
In the future, the human race may:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Become two sub-species
Become survivalists, creating many different species that
will be able to cope with doomsday
Depend on genetic modification to improve our
intelligence and physique
Become less diverse, more homogenous as a whole
Assimilate machinery to ourselves and become cyborgs
Become an alien species suited to space travel
Hypothesis #1: Humans Split into
Two Sub-Species
пЃ¬
Evolutionary theorist Oliver
Curry expects a genetic
upper class and a dimwitted underclass to
emerge.
пЃ¬
Humans will become more
choosier about their sexual
partners
пЃ¬
Upper-class: Slim, intelligent,
attractive
пЃ¬
Underclass: Ugly, dim-witted,
goblin-like
Hypothesis #1: Other Changes
пЃ¬
Humans will evolve between 6ft
and 7ft tall
пЃ¬
Life-spans will have extended
to 120 years
пЃ¬
Social skills (e.g. interacting
with others) could be lost.
пЃ¬
Chins would recede, as a result
of having to chew less on
processed food.
From this…to this?
Hypothesis #2: Playing evolution
with genetic modification
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
We will be genetically modified to
become a smarter, stronger
species
We already have been wrestling
with real-world aspects of future
human development
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
Stem-cell research
Implantation of biocompatible
computer chips
We are making ourselves virtually
extinction-proof by bending
Earth's flora and fauna to our will.
DNA and drugs enhance
intellect and physique.
Hypothesis #3: Survivalistians
Many different species will cope with Doomsday
пЃ¬
Humans will no longer threatened
by predators their own size
пЃ¬
Different populations develop in
isolation over many thousands of
generations, separate species
would emerge.
пЃ¬
Humans will survive in different
ways, both through genetics and
medicine
пЃ¬ For example, that virus-resistant
strain of post-humans might
eventually thrive in the wake of a
global bioterror crisis
пЃ¬ Less hardy humans would find
themselves quarantined in the
world’s safe havens.
Protective brow and skin
layer contribute to
"radiation hardening."
Hypothesis #4: Unihumans
Blending Together as One
пЃ¬
Cultural diversity, is
fading as human
society becomes more
interconnected
globally
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
Already seen now by
decline of linguistic
diversity
People become much
more homogenous
Races will “blend”
Skin tones blend. Larger eyes
are associated with greater
"domestication."
Hypothesis #5: Cyborgs
Man vs. Machine…or Man + Machine?
пЃ¬
Some experts worry that artificial
intelligence may outpace Homo
sapiens’ natural smarts.
пЃ¬
Or perhaps we’ll join with them.
We could become part-robot
ourselves
пЃ¬
пЃ¬
We’re already making
assimilated machinery
пЃ¬
Prosthetic limbs
пЃ¬
Mechanical hearts
пЃ¬
Artificial retinas.
Why couldn’t brain augmentation
be added to the list?
Cyborg: Hardware enhances
humans. Eventually
the devices look more elegant.
Hypothesis #6: Turning into an
alien race
пЃ¬
If humans survive long enough, people
may have to spread out to new planets.
пЃ¬
SETI Institute has proposed several ways
to get to outer space and survive
пЃ¬
Build a big ark: Build a spaceship big
enough to carry an entire civilization to
the destination star system.
пЃ¬
Go to warp speed: Somehow we
discover a wormhole or find a way to
travel at relativistic speeds.
пЃ¬
Enter the Astrans: Humans are
genetically engineered to tolerate ultra
long-term hibernation aboard robotic
ships.
Body hair just gets in
the way during
interstellar trips.
In Conclusion…
There are so many different possibilities for the future of our
human race. Although there are different hypotheses that have been
conjured up by experts in leading fields of social and biological
sciences, it can be reasonably presumed that the progression
humankind will not stop. We will certainly continue to evolve naturally
in small ways, but our technology—in genetics, in artificial
intelligence, in aeronautical travel, in medicine—may exert the
greatest influence on how we will evolve.
I have presented to you six of the many hypotheses out there in
regards to the future of human evolution.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Splitting into two sub-species
Becoming survivialists
Genetically modifying our intelligence and physique
Becoming less diverse, more homogenous
Assimilating machinery to ourselves
Becoming an alien species suited to space travel
I hope my presentation enlightened you to different ideas about
the future of our evolution.
Works Cited
пЃ¬
Boyle, Alan. “Human evolution at the crossroads.”
MSNBC. (2005) 16 July 2007
<http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7103668/>.
пЃ¬
BBC News. “Human species may split in two.” (2006) 19
July 2007
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6057734.stm>.
пЃ¬
Scientific American. “The Future of Human Evolution.”
(2001) 19 July 2007
<http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0002BA8D8222-1C70-84A9809EC588EF21>.
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