If you ever grokked the illustrated features on future human evolution they used to run in Omni and such speculative magazines—which always seemed to envision a future where everybody was either a big-eyed monkeyman or a quasi-grey with an enormous cranium and a shrimpy little body too feeble to support the head (which at the most fanciful meant that our serene descendants would be levitating around on thought waves)—you'll be saddened to know that even this once-thriving field of speculation has turned out to be a disappointment. According to this BBC article, "Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics expects a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass to emerge."
On the plus side, things will be looking up for the next 1,000 years or so, which the Beeb relates in Cinemax-ready detail:
[M]en will exhibit symmetrical facial features, look athletic, and have squarer jaws, deeper voices and bigger penises.
Women, on the other hand, will develop lighter, smooth, hairless skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, and even features, he adds. Racial differences will be ironed out by interbreeding, producing a uniform race of coffee-coloured people.
Count me in! But it starts to head south after that, your arms hanging limp at your sides, your legs got nothing to do, some machine doing that for you, while you pick your son, pick your daughter too, from the bottom of a long glass tube. Whoa-oh. In what sounds suspiciously like an eat-some-vegetables-put-down-the-remote-and-go-out-and-play scolding, this chilling vision of the future goes on to warn of our increasing complacency and techno-dehumanization:
Social skills, such as communicating and interacting with others, could be lost, along with emotions such as love, sympathy, trust and respect. People would become less able to care for others, or perform in teams.
Physically, they would start to appear more juvenile. Chins would recede, as a result of having to chew less on processed food.
There could also be health problems caused by reliance on medicine, resulting in weak immune systems. Preventing deaths would also help to preserve the genetic defects that cause cancer.
I think this passage really demands to be read aloud in a Captain Kirk voice ("…emotions such as love, sympathy, trust, respect. People would become less able to care for others…"). Anyway, dig the unattractive results:
So get a sonogram for Zog's sake!
Richard Dawkins notes that prudent evolutionists steer clear from speculation about this kind of stuff, but when did that ever stop anybody? Here are a bunch of variations on our post-human future, and a really far-out trip about the future of animals. I always had more sympathy for the Morlocks then the Eloi, a bunch of candy-ass communists. But let this crackpot look ahead be reminder that even when mind and strength had gone, gratitude and a mutual tenderness still lived on in the heart of man.
Courtesy of Arts & Letters Daily