Technolution – Evolution & Technology
As humans have evolved over the last five-hundred thousand years or so the laws of nature have played a predominate part in the evolution of man. For the majority of our time on earth, our very existence was based on our ability to hunt and forage. However over the last 10,000-20,000 years we have started making a dramatic shift toward an existence not dictated by a lack of food but of one dominated by technology. Farming has evolved as the primary source of subsistence and as such people don’t have to spend hours every day hunting for food. Water brought to cities via aqua-ducts allowed man to spread out to regions previously thought uninhabitable.
My point is that the very latter part of our existence has changed the rules of evolution so dramatically that the path for future changes is uncertain at best. Take for instance computers, every two years or so computers double in their computational capacity. As software keeps pace, the emergence of new applications are starting to blur the divide between reality and virtual.
As a better example one only has to look at young children and their daily activity. Children rarely go outside and play and instead the majority of their interaction with friends is done via the Internet or text messaging. What effect will this have on our evolutionary development? In the past the traits that helped a person run, jump and hunt better was good. Now those traits are not dominate or even relevant. BUT will that actually translate into physical changes?
What about people and their physical traits. For 99% of our history being fast, strong and having good vision was the key to survival and thus you survived and passed your genes on to future generations. But now with technology will that focus shift toward people with higher intellects and an aptitude for quicker adaptation (word used intentionally) of new technology?
Of course given modern medicine, even someone who isn’t very smart is likely to live as long as someone who is, so where does this lead us when it comes to evolution? Could modern medicine actually usher in the era of the decline of the human race? Interestingly enough I think nature has a way of fixing itself and we might wake up 500 years from now with rampant over population and people will have to abandon technology and revert back to the basics.