Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Beginning of the Next Evolution of Humankind Through Technology

Humanity has stopped evolving. To be more precise, we have stopped progressing forward in an evolutionary sense and thanks to medical technology and cultural constructs, we are actually de-evolving in certain ways. The unfortunate but simple truth is that Darwinism has been defeated by modern science. No longer do the strongest and most intelligent survive, we now keep alive the weak and ill and due to both technology and social constructs less desirable genes and traits are passed along more and more. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we shouldn't be doing these things, I am simply pointing out how technology has altered natural environmental pressures and we should expect to eventually see physiologic and physical changes in humanity as a result. Besides altering natural evolution, we are also developing our own version of evolution through technology.
We have seen a melding of humankind and machine for years in Sci-Fi books, movies, and television shows and are there more and more evidence that this could represent the future direction of the human race. We have already made significant progress in cyborg technology - prosthetic limbs, cochlear implants, eye implants, exoskeletons (and here), and other advancements. One of my favorite tech blogs, Engadget, has had a recent few posts that show some of the newer developments - targeted muscle reinnervation for prosthetic limbs to allow better control, and a brain implant that should allow a patient to speak again through a computer. Both DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Research Project) and Segway inventor, Dean Kamen have developed prosthetic arm prototypes that are revolutionary with incredible dexterity thus far unsurpassed function for a robotic limb.
The next 100 years will certainly be interesting for humanity - climate change, peak oil, superbugs, technoevolution, and who knows what else?


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