I have been seeing a trend for sometime now of humans applying their intelligence for the improvement of other species. You’re probably more than familiar with genetically tweaked fruits, insects, etc. Recently though, it seems to be more and more about us. That’s right! we are trying to improve the human condition by…(drum roll)…improving humans!
Here is my evidence that we are increasingly on the path to change our species:
- There is the recent viable embryos created out of a certain CEO’s cells. Creating a human being out of my own cells would allow me to potentially tweak the next generation’s attributes. Instead of having sons and daughters in the traditional sense, we might just create clones of ourselves, only “improved”. For example, say I’ve always wanted a fast metabolism, long life, and healthier teeth. It is only a matter of time (not much time) before I am able to plug- in a few parameters into a computer, and a few computational cycles (and a microwave ding) later obtain a better baby me.
- We are getting more and more comfortable messing with genes. In fact, we are making such fast advances that we are now able to not only understand gene functions, but we can add or remove specific genes, and even create entirely artificial genomes. To those of us who remember the old days of the computer world, when you had to make awesome looking games and demos from the ground up using x86 assembly, this is the genetic equivalent of inventing the C language. We are not yet to the point where we can create a modified human embryo with specific physical attributes (I want my clone male, buff, well endowed, and genius smart), but we are getting there in a hurry!
- Nature is helping us! Yes evolution is slow. Yes, mutations are almost always bad. Viruses are mostly bad for us. Yet, this 15 year old just changed her blood type and adopted a completely different immune system from a donor organ. It is only a matter of time before we discover and duplicate the processes involved in her “miracle”. When that happens, we will not only be able to receive donor organs (and limbs) from anyone, it may help us understand how to drastically improve the human body. I know a lot of women who would love to trade in some of their body parts for real better body parts. Forget silicone! Think real breast grown from your own cells!
- We will all be nearly immortal. Which means we will have more time to play scientists to improve the next generation. In case you haven’t noticed, the somewhat exponential growth in computer performance had all kinds of hardware limitations along the way that we promptly resolved using computers themselves. What I am trying to say here is that as we get smarter and better with each generation, so will our science, and therefore our ability to affect the next generation of humans.
Don’t be alarmed, you are already obsolete. There is no reason to panic. Your kids are already way smarter and more technologically savvy than you’ll ever be. Chalk it up to improved nutrition, or government experiments on the masses. Whatever makes you feel better about yourself. I am personally very excited to see all of this and I just hope I will live long enough to see humans control their environment by thought alone…what? already? I guess we can accomplish anything we imagine. Let’s just hope imagination can keep up.