A postulates in science shows that human evolution stopped 40,000 or 50,000 years ago with the emergence of culture and civilization. That will be the time when our species, Homo sapiens, stops biologically adapting to its environment and begins to use its sophisticated brain to cope with selection pressures. Hypothesis; however, that is not entirely true.
We know that 10,000 years ago, adult males acquired a tolerance for cow’s milk when they started raising cattle. Two centuries ago, with the Enlightenment and the industrialization of cities, our life expectancy increased from 30 years to more than 70 years—the current average, according to Our World in Data—. And, a century ago, our average height increased by almost 10 centimeters.
The changes are subtle in the mirror, but that’s how it is, we are the unlikely result of more than 300,000 years of development. We have changed so much in a very short time, but what will we be like in a millennium or so?
It is impossible to predict the future; however, experts make some guesses based on current technological advances and demographic changes.
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Man-machine, the promise of transhumanism
Cyborg (machine man) is no longer a typical science fiction character. Today, they live among us and fight for their own rights. In the future, their presence in society could increase to the point where they blur the lines that still distinguish Homo sapiens from their technology.
These individuals will be—or have been—the result of humans acknowledging their biology and psychology as obsolete entities in need of continuous improvement or expansion, various scientists and activists point out to transhumanism, a cultural current that supports the existence and rights of these hybrids. group.
Max More, a British philosopher and exponent of transhumanism, summed up this movement in these terms: “We thank nature for creating us, but she has crippled us. It seems that he lost interest in our evolution around 100,000 years ago or, perhaps, he has been waiting for us to take the next step ourselves.”
The world’s first recognized cyborg is Neil Harrison, a British artist who was born with achromatism, a disease that requires him to see in black and white. Inspired by the perception of insects, Harbisson installed antennae in his brain that allowed him to hear waves of the color spectrum with a characteristic hum; in other words, you can hear the colors.
Other attempts to completely modify humans and incorporate technology into their anatomy have been carried out in laboratories around the world. Perhaps the most important so far is neural link, the company of South African tycoon Elon Musk. The company is testing a brain chip that will allow the disabled to walk, the blind to see, and ordinary citizens to connect to the Internet from their minds.
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Gene-edited humans with CRISPR
Scientists also suggest that the future of the human species will be determined by increased use CRISPRknown as genetic scissors.
This genetic editing tool, invented by Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna – winners of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry – allows selective editing of DNA codes to correct unwanted hereditary mutations. For example, chronic disease.
To date, its efficacy has been demonstrated mainly in animal experiments, but its use is close to that of human anatomy.
A great example is David Bennett, who was able to briefly extend his life this year after receiving a gene-edited pig heart transplant. Although the patient died after two months of a hidden swine virus, the scientific community assured that it had been a significant step towards treatment.
Another use of genetic shears is trying to modify entire populations of animals to make them immune to certain diseases.
Of course, because of its ethical implications, CRISPR is still a controversial technology for its application to humans. This is because if in the future parents can request that their baby’s genes be changed so that they are born healthy, why can’t they choose their hair color, skin tone, eyes, and other features?
With CRISPR in hand, the range of modifications is so wide as to be unexpected.
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Men and women with darker skin
The emergence of future men can also be disentangled from migration flows and demographic trends in the world. Information is more open when even the human genome is almost 100% mapped.
Dr. Jason A. Hodgson, an anthropologist, evolutionary geneticist, and bioinformatics expert at New York University, says that urban and rural areas will become increasingly genetically diverse.
“All migration is from rural to urban areas, so you get an increase in genetic diversity in cities and a decrease in rural areas,” he said in a statement. BBC interview.
Hodgson also claims that as populations in Africa grow rapidly, their genes will increase more often. The opposite happened in the lighter skin tone group.
“It is almost certain that dark skin tone increases in frequency on a global scale in relation to light skin tone,” the expert said. “I hope the average person, the generation from now, will have a darker skin tone than they do now.”
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