Recent evolution and future evolution10 Apr 2006
Wired has a short article by Annalee Newitz about recent evolutionary changes and their implications for futurists:
"I think my work is changing people's ideas about evolution, because now natural selection seems to have continued all the way up to the present day," said [Jonathan] Pritchard. "There's no reason to think it stops now."
That's why futurists like [Ray] Kurzweil are excited about Lahn and Pritchard's work -- it could lay the foundations for a new understanding of evolution that's more tolerant of the idea that humans should intervene in their own genetic transformation.
[Bruce] Lahn is comfortable with this idea. "If there's an evolutionary advantage to be had by using technology, then people will do it," he said. "People are going to start changing the game in evolution in ways Darwin never anticipated."
Trans-humanist pundit James Hughes, author of Citizen Cyborg, thinks it's time to speed up the evolutionary process.
"You can take what nature gave you, but there's no good reason to take nature as a guide for where you should go in the future," Hughes said.
Now, that's an angle I hadn't thought of, and I've been thinking about this a lot. But it does make sense -- there's nothing inviolate about being human in the way we are now, since humans keep on changing.