Get ready to update those drawings of human evolution from an ape-like creature to a Homo sapien. A leading futurologist believes the technology that is allowing humans to physically merge with computers will turn Homo sapiens into the next evolution of the species - Homo optimus - and it could happen by 2050.
This bold prediction was made by Dr. Ian Pearson as part of the upcoming Big Bang Fair 2016, a program of presentations, workshops and exhibits in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for young scientists and engineers to be held in Birmingham, UK, March 16-19. Dr. Pearson is a futurologist at Futurizon – an institute researching technology-driven future developments in business, society and other areas.
Here’s what Dr. Pearson says 2050 is going to look like:
With optimized genomes and bodies enhanced by links to external technology, people could be more beautiful...more intelligent, more emotionally sophisticated, more physically able, more socially connected, generally healthier and happier all round.
That should get the kids to attend his workshop on “The Future Human Report.” Dr. Pearson forecasts a number of developments in the next few years that will gradually add enough electronics to homo sapiens to turn them into Homo Optimus. Interfacing with devices will become seamless when cellular implants turn skin into ‘electronic skin’. Muscles will become wearable via electronic tights threaded with polymer gel muscles. Bodies will contain nanodevices to monitor heath, treat illnesses and repair problems. Beauty will no longer be skin deep when interchangeable membranes cover faces and give wearers custom looks, with the membranes someday being upgraded to wearable video displays. (Better sell your stock in that makeup company now.)
To appeal to the younger engineers, Pearson also predicts that dogs could become Rover Optimus as the same types of nanotechnology and computer interfaces are developed for pets. He also agrees with many other researchers that transferring the contents of a human brain to a computer or a robot is coming soon, giving humans a form of immortality.
Will wearable and implantable technology cause humans to evolve into some new form as Dr. Pearson predicts? It’s tough to pass an implanted chip from parents to baby but changes in cellular structures caused by wearing those implants to enable new interfaces could certainly be transferred to the next or future generations. The same may be true with changes in skin to better adapt to wearable membranes.
Much of this technology is still in early development or on the drawing board. The rest will be up to the lucky future engineers attending The Big Bang Fair 2016.