Homo Evolutis: The Future of Humanity

Posted by Ian on Feb 23, 2009 in blog | No Comments

The wave of technological development is rapidly increasing in size, acceleration and ubiquity. A recent talk by Juan Enriquez at TED in February 2009 highlighted some of the dramatic technological changes we are engineering today and the possible future we are crashing towards, reminding us that despite the current crises we must remember to pay attention to the futures we are creating beyond these crises.

Enriquez’s talk is sensational, and it is increasingly important to have people publicise the steps scientists are taking world-wide which are generally not publically scrutinized. His core assertion is that the rapidly increasingly developments in bio-tech, medical science and robotics are creating a vibrant ecology from which a new version of humans may evolve – homo evolutis.

Homo Evolutis, as Enriquez described, is a humanity that has taken control of its own evolution and those of other species and can engineer its and their evolutionary futures.

As part of project humedia, I have written about the same situation, describing the fusing of human bodies and experiences with ubiquitous techonology as humedia. (Read one article here and another article here) With the evident trend towards human physical enmeshment with computers (such as with Matthew Nagel’s brain-computer interface) and the creation of emotively based connections with screen and digital media (such as with Michael Highland’s ‘As Real as Your Life’), it is critical to consider broader socio-cultural & political implications on a global scale.

One concern that I have from listening to Enriquez’s talk is that in describing ‘homo evolutis’, he refers to them as ‘they’ – notably different from ‘us’. He rightly points out that many forms of ‘homo‘ existed simultaneously on earth and that homo sapiens won out and have lasted to today. The suggestion that Enriquez is making is that homo evolutis and homo sapiens will more than likely co-habitate on the earth, and in time, we may see the ecclipse of homo sapiens. My worry is that the triggering of homo evolutis‘s appearance on the earth is almost solely at the whim of Western developed nations. Far from being a universal shift globally, the homo evolutis (r)evolution may only increase the socio-economic divides between the peoples of developed and non-developed countries – enhancing this divide to the level of inter-spetial difference.

Surely the future of human evolution is one issue that should involve all people’s of the planet and not just the technological power-hungry Ivy League universities, military-industrial complexes and corporations of the world. Otherwise we may find that homo sapiens become extinct not by choice but by the willful choice of homo evolutis and with it we may see the simultaneous dawn of the full realisation of Western industrial-technological destiny and the ecclipse of culturally diverse, organic human life.

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