The ability to drink milk throughout our lifetime,known as lactose tolerance, evolved about 10 thousand years ago; over the last centuryand a half, the average height of a human being has increased by roughly 10 centimeters;and within the last 6 and a half decades the global life span has shot up nearly 20 yearslargely thanks to science. Breakthroughs in science have propelled ourspecies forward in fact, National Geographic and GE’s new series â€˜Breakthrough’ coverssome cutting edge innovations that are happening, today; from biology and technology merging,to solutions for our water crisis. But, what will humanity look like in 1000 years?
It’s already hard enough to remember a worldwithout smartphones, but scientists predict that within the next few decades, computerswill reach the computational speed of the human brain.Not only will they be able to speak and interact, but listen and remember. This also leads toa philosophy known as transhumanism. In the future, nanobots (or tiny robots) will besubtly integrated into our bodies enhancing our own abilities! No longer will we be limitedby our own physiology, but truly become a mixture of biology and machine on the inside. Ever heard of â€˜Utility Fog’? Imagine acloud of countless microscopic robots which
can be rearranged into virtually any configurationnearly instantaneously. Buildings could be constructed as necessary, and disassembledwhen space was needed for something else. Picture your house disassembling when youleave in the morning so that the space can be used for something else!With increased urbanization and globalization the 7000 languages that are spoken globallytoday will likely dip under 100. As we move even further into the future, theworld’s rising temperature and accompanying deterioration in the protective ozone layerwill play a major role. Added UV radiation reaching the planet may create a scenariowhere darker skin becomes an evolutionary
advantage, as it protects against UV damage.Increasing temperatures may also affect our size; taller and thinner bodies would be betterat dissipating excess body heat, as it creates the best body surface area to volume ratio.Of course, these types of changes take 10s or hundreds of thousands of years and willdepend on our ability to avoid or protect ourselves from nature. New traits from mutations may also arise perhapsa new eye colour, or unique abilities! Even today, one man has been documented with theability to consume and digest nearly anything, including metal, glass and even toxic chemicalsdue to a genetic mutation. Others live with
a condition called tetrachromacy, where theycan see 100 times more colours than the rest of us. But these traits are only likely topersist if they have some selective advantage so don’t expect a mutant like schoolforthegiftedany time soon. But artificial selection or human influencedchanges will likely drive most of our evolution. We’ll modify our babies genes before birthto eliminate diseases they may carry, or include desirable traits for our offspring. But, whileit may make us smarter, stronger, and better looking, such genetic similarity or lack ofhuman diversity leaves room for a single new disease of the future to wipe out the entirehuman race.
In the words of Stephen Hawking â€œSooneror later disasters such as an asteroid collision or a nuclear war could wipe us all out. Butonce we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should besafe.â€� Space colonization, it seems, is an inevitable part of our future.At the end of it all, we may even conquer death by scanning our brains atom by atom and transferring that information into computers. In this way we could travel at the speed oflight as information patterns, unrestricted by our bodies, and requiring no food. Whereour current human generational cycle takes around 20 years, a digital individual couldreplicate themselves in seconds or minutes.