Evolution is something that creeps up on you over millions of years. We know quite a lot about our own evolutionary lineage, starting from sahelanthropus nearly six million years ago. So far, nature has been dictating the human evolutionary process.
But there is a high degree of chance that the future of human evolution may be dictated by humans themselves, thanks to advances in technology. Transhumanism, often abbreviated to H+, is the movement that advocates using technology to enhance the human body and mind.
Transhumanists are still very much a fringe group, but they count among them many brilliant scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs from the Silicon Valley. Some of them even launched political movements to raise awareness about the implications of H+ for future human society.
While they are still divided about many of the philosophical and political aspects of the idea, Transhumanists have no confusion regarding the major technologies that could spur the future of human evolution within our lifetimes.
Biotech and the Quest of Immortality
There are several ways in which we could significantly augment the human body and mind. Immortality has been a huge fantasy for humans over thousands of years. Kings and emperors have sought it to no avail.
In the modern era, we can see this same trend played out among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, who resort to advanced techniques like biohacking in a bid to stay alive as long as possible.
The field of biotechnology has already seen breakthroughs in our understanding of human metabolism and the enzymes that affect aging. But serious funding into any immortality project is still a distant dream.
What we could potentially see are accidental discoveries in other tangential fields, like Alzheimers and Dementia research, which are very well funded. Breakthroughs there could trigger massive changes, much like the discovery of penicillin in 1928.
Engineering and Neuroscience for Augmentations
The human body is incredibly “squishy” compared to other animals, which is why we have been trying to fortify it with shields and helmets since antiquity. There is already considerable funding for research into futuristic exoskeletons and battlesuits.
We have already seen the merging of the human body with machines, especially in the field of prosthetics with the arrival of bionic technology. Now used to provide lost mobility to the differently abled, this technology could in future be the stepping stone for the merging of the human and the machine.
Many transhumanism enthusiasts across the world are already implanting smart micro-chips in their own bodies. With the convergence of neuroscience, robotics, and engineering, we could see real-life versions of cyborgs on earth in the near future. These are all fields seeing a lot business interest in recent years, probably much more than in the biotech field.
Convergence Is the Key to the Future
As you can see, there are diverse pathways that offer ways to augment and improve the human body and mind. Transhumanism in the future will not be guided by any particular field of science or industry. Rather, it could be a convergence of the different fields leading to breakthroughs that push the human race.
At present, many of these technologies are still at the conceptual stage or have more pressing real world applications that are fueling funding and investment. But as we learn more, Transhumanism could end up being a viable business in its own right. How long that could take is anybody’s guess though.