The Future of Evolution
Compared with the progress of modern science, evolution is too slow and error prone. We are entering a period of time when scientists will be able to greatly surpass natural selection.
First, genetic engineering will allow doctors to modify existing genes or entirely replace genes to remove genetic defects, treat diseases, and augment natural abilities. For instance, plants and animals could be modified to yield better, healthier, and more food. What if your eyesight could be fixed without surgery? What if all your future children would be guaranteed not to get your original bad genes of poor vision or a genetic disease? What if people choose to have their vision enhanced to be far greater than the natural human range, such as a bird’s vision? How about people with the reflexes and speed of a cat? Now imagine if a large number of our children had perfect memory thanks to genetic modification. These children would find school very easy and would most likely be far more successful than their parents.
Second, cybernetics could artificially replace human body parts. People could replace limbs with fully functional machines that would seamlessly be directly connected to the human brain. The human brain could be enhanced too. Imagine if people could immediately look up information just by thinking about it. For example, people would instantly know what to do in medical emergencies or how to solve complex problems that they never encountered before, by relying on the knowledge and experience of other people. Eventually, people could become far more intelligent, knowledgeable, and capable than anybody who has ever lived before. Eventually this could lead to completely artificial and intelligent life forms that are not limited to evolution at all, since they would not have any organic parts. Instead, they could just upgrade themselves.
We already discussed forced evolution of plants and animals for the sake of humanity, such as better sources of food. Now consider modifying non-intelligence and non-sentient (sentient means self aware or self conscious) animals into becoming an intelligent and sentient species through the methods described above. This very possible idea is called "uplifting". Humanity could artificially uplift lowly species to the ranks of civilized and productive people, for better or worse. Imagine the philosophy, music, and literature that intelligent animals, such as cats and dolphins, would invent. I am sure they would be creative in ways that humans are not… yet.
These methods of leapfrogging evolution will ultimately create hyper-intelligent super beings that are far more capable than human beings. Hopefully these future people will care more for humanity than we do for less fortunate people. Maybe these super beings will be able to solve some of the world’s greatest problems, such as global warming, pollution free energy, diseases, etc.
The only problem that I see with these methods of artificial evolution is that the variety or diversity of people would lessen. The more people become alike, then the less likely we would have another Mozart or Einstein if we start restricting variation in our children before they are even born. As a result, our children will be geniuses but not unique.
Whatever methods that humanity will use to go beyond natural evolution, the purpose should always be to better humanity, our children, and ourselves.
by Phil B.