Via Kottke comes this report on a theory suggesting humans will evolve into two sub-species ("a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass") in 100,000 years' time. Additionally, according to evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry, humans will reach a "peak" in the year 3000, after which they will become too dependent on technology and be sent into decline. They will be taller and more attractive than we are today; however--
Social skills, such as communicating and interacting with others, could be lost, along with emotions such as love, sympathy, trust and respect. People would become less able to care for others, or perform in teams.
So basically, in the next millenium the entire
world will function like one big Real
World-Road Rules Challenge: a bunch of objectively attractive people
who are incapable of rational social behavior and also completely
unable to work together.
True, this is a scary thought, but come on--we have been aware for years that our descendants are screwed. We know we're basically dumping them in a runaway train to Freakshow Disasterville and then jumping off the back while there's still time to enjoy things like emotions, teamwork, and turning the Amazon into timber.
Anyway, I'm lending my support to Oliver Curry and his theory. Two sub-species of humans? Real-World-Road Rules gone mad? It doesn't take a lot of effort to sell me on that. But in case my more discriminating readers (Adam) are holding out for even more evidence, here are three theories and one fact I have come up with.
1. The Theory That Everything BBC Says Is Right. I went to journalism school and learned from journalism professors, so I know this. BBC would not have gotten on this story if it wasn't accurate.
2. The TI-83 Theory of Evolution. This is a theory I made up a while ago to explain why I feel like kids of the future are going to be extremely socially deficient. Basically, the use of MySpace and other social networking sites will render them incapable of actually making friends in person (most people born after 1988-1990ish already show signs of this affliction). Those of us born before then learned how to make friends manually, and though we may now use Facebook and MySpace to maintain friends or even make new ones, we are still relatively well-grounded in the basic principles of human friend-making. It's like how in Math in school we always had to learn how to do things the long way before the teacher showed us how to do it on the TI-83 in 10 seconds so that we knew how things worked conceptually. Kids today don't get the conceptual knowledge when it comes to making friends, though, because each one has a MySpace page to do the legwork for him.
3. The Theory That Gattaca Was a Credible Pieces of Scientific Discourse. I base this theory on the fact that when I first rented this movie in 1998 I was obsessed with it. By that time I had completed high school biology, so although I cannot recall the exact specifics of how the movie convinced me that the development of a genetic caste system was indeed plausible, I know that whatever logic was used must have been airtight.
4. The Fact That You Can't Prove Me Wrong Anyway. That's the best part, really. I can believe whatever the hell I want about the future and get away with it because you have no way of showing me otherwise. Sure, you can disagree with me, but you can never actually prove that I am wrong (unless you invent time travel). So why not just agree? It will make the world a better place.
Agree or disagree, one lesson we can all take away from the BBC article is that "evolutionary theorist" is a pretty sweet gig. You enjoy all the perks of being a scientist (getting quoted by BBC, telling people at your high school reunion that you were quoted in the BBC, free pens) with no actual chance of being proven wrong in your own lifetime. By the time 3000 rolls around, the worst thing that can happen to Oliver Curry is that some future human comes across his theory, laughs at how dumb and wrong it is, and posts it on his website or something. Big deal, future guy. Oliver Curry made his money already and he's been dead for nine centuries now, so he could care less what you think of him; you, on the other hand, are very much alive and should probably start worrying more about the fact that Earth is due for another asteroid sometime soon.
For more on the future: Read this post from Matt Price's guest blogging stint
For even more on the future: Wait until it happens?