One Vision of Future Human Evolution

We find in much of the literature about the future of human evolution that while there are many predictions about enhancing the uniqueness of future individuals, there is a surprising tendency to envision a rather homogeneous evolutionary path for the human species. We see in this literature advances in technological and scientific disciplines extrapolated to the nth degree and applied to the human race in a wholesale fashion, and discussed in terms of their immediate social implications. We see a different, longer-term vision. We believe that diversity is the future of the humankind. We do not strive for this as a goal so much as we recognize it as a natural outgrowth of existing human nature, advancing technology enabling the acceleration of the evolutionary process, and our soon-to-be-achieved ability to spread beyond the confines of Cradle Earth.

All of the technological themes represented on this website are central to our diversified vision of human evolution. But it is human nature that will dictate how this technology is harnessed and applied to our species. Genetic engineering will be the first of the human advancement sciences to see practical deployment. The 21st century will be marked by the typical protests that accompany new technology along with the associated predictions of doom and the demise of society as we know it. Motivated self interest will prevail and research will continue despite attempts to ban germline genetic engineering. Some human experiments will fail renewing with vigor the religious, moral, and ethical arguments, but enough will succeed such that over the next 100 years we can predictable alter genetic traits to increase longevity, prevent disease, improve intelligence, and promote other characteristics desired by the decision making authority (research teams, foundations, governments, parents, eccentric millionaires, etc.). Some factions of society will categorically reject any genetic manipulation, even for the screening and elimination of 'preventable' genetic disorders.

With respect to the successful genetic exercises, we believe the terms "positive", "negative", "good", and "bad" are only applicable within the framework of today's cultural norms. Individuals with enhanced intelligence who are also perceived as being equipped with the faculties necessary to relate to the rest of society (i.e. possessing empathy, compassion, etc.) will be accepted and will most likely excel and propagate. Those possessing specialized traits (such as mathematical genius or unique physical characteristics) which are valued but whose overall personality and form are not viewed as socially acceptable because recognizable socially acceptable traits are absent or skewed, will not mix their genes to any great extent with the general population. These types of individuals may well coalesce into a social strata and begin to form the basis of a first new cospecies.

If during this next 100 years sufficient advances are not made in space colonization initiatives, growing diverseness in genetically differentiated races and the corresponding social dynamics created by evolutionary acceleration may well provide the impetus. The intelligence unlocked through the genetic engineering process and advances in AI may contribute to the needed scientific advances in physics necessary to make interstellar travel more accessible. Just as those seeking religious freedom or the escape from persecution fled the shores of Europe, analogous groups will seek the shores of distant stars. Genetic manipulation will allow for greater longevity and specialization both for the journey as well as the destinations.

Separate societies will evolve, political ideologies and social orders unique to the members' modified genetic characteristics and space-faring mentality will form. Speciation will occur. Branches of homo sapiens will evolve into being or be created in one generation for specific galactic conditions. Some will flourish, some will become extinct, their remains to be found millennia later by humanoid archeologists who will attempt to create a fossil record of our expansion.

At some point in the not too distant future, the promise of true, sentient Artificial Intelligence will come to fruition. Some of these sentient beings will choose to accompany humanoids on their journey. Some will seek their own path in the universe. There likely will be no doomsday, servant enslaving master scenario played out. Conflicting motivations and competing for limited resources will be archaic notions in this era thanks to the ability of nanotechnology to create sustenance from inorganic matter and valued items from refuse. Circuitry will become sufficiently complex to mirror the humanoid brain, and biological augmentation will be commonplace. Perhaps the entire download of the mind will be accomplished. But however widespread, it will not become the universal model for our species. There will be no universal model. There will be thousands, perhaps millions of variations of our current form spread throughout the galaxy and beyond. This is the future of human evolution, if we can avoid a single catastrophic event to prevent any future at all.

Please visit our Futures Portal for more on future scenarios and futuring methods.

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