We have culled through the scientific and speculative literature and assembled a tentative forecast of human evolution over the next few years. You are welcome to disagree with our predictions – so long as you don’t ignore them.
Nanotech, Biotech, Genetic Engineering…
Advances in nanotechnology, biotech, and genetic engineering furnish humankind with the power to influence its evolution and greatly expand its physical and sensory equipment.
Human beings now come standard with “synthetic telepathy,” optical AR implants, optogenetic neurological and anticancer therapy, and “cloud-based” cerebral augmentation.
The selective use of ectogenesis and CRISPR-like genetic engineering technology creates what might almost be called a brand new human species.
Humankind completely redesigns itself-enhanced senses, greater lifespans, delayed senescence, increased cerebral capacity, CISPR-based immune systems, and much else. Women now have complete control over ovum release and fertility, granting total sexual freedom to those who wish to experience the quaint novelty of pregnancy.
Increased intellect Through Gene Editing
By mid-millennium, the great human’s struggle is with new kinds of communicable neuropathic diseases-virulent pathogens evolved to debilitate the species’ greatest asset: it intellect. New forms of zika, encephalitis, and contagious prions spread as global warming has “tropicalized” much of the Earth’s surface.
Using gene editing tech to combat these diseases, scientists inadvertently discover genetic pathway that triggers threefold increase in the brain’s intellectual powers.
Web Mediated Human Worldmind
Humans seem largely the same taller and larger, perhaps, with exaggerated sexual dimorphism (sex is now purely for pleasure, not reproduction). Brains are not excessively large, since greater intelligence is achieved through neural redesign and cloud-based upgrades.
Economic and technological evolution leads to the establishment of a world-spanning Kardashev Type I civilization. Planetary and interstellar probes transmit data directly into the gestalt, web mediated human “worldmind.”
A More Powerful DNA for Humans
Humankind designs technological enhancements into its genome. Nanotech-based immune and self-repair system renders the species immune to disease, cancer, and death; and biological augmentation means unprecedented sensory acuity.
The very architecture of life is fully redesigned. DNA is replaced with a stabler, triply-redundant form of xDNA, capable of encoding more information and far less liable to errors and mutation. Humanity achieves evolutionary stasis.
Virtual Realities Are Life
After 14 uneventful millennia, humankind’s Type I civilization near its conclusion. The world encompassing society is devoted to hedonism-directed inward, rather than outward. Curiosity and initiative are nearly lost in the pursuit of new forms of pleasure, and the creation of virtual realities.
The energy efficiency of the future civilization has eliminated the specter of global warming; but the return of natural climatic cycles brings about the end of the current interglacial, and the onset of a new Glacial age.
20, 000 Years
New Engineered Hyper-Urban Human Species
Sensing impending extinction in the return of the glaciers, a less solipsistic branch of humanity undertakes the construction of huge “Redoubts”-immense, self-contained city-buildings designed to accommodate the human species so it can weather the Ice Ages.
A new human species is engineered – small, pale, uniracial creatures with an exaggeratedly gregarious instinct. They are designed to be hyper-social and hyper-urban-a species of human and ant prioritizing racial survival above all else.
1.4 Million Years
Humans Seek Refuge
The type I civilization is long since extinct; the human species, much reduced in numbers, survivors only in the colossal Redoubts scattered throughout the Ice Age World. Evolution returns with animal kingdom; but humankind is stagnant, unchanging-until the close passage of the small orange dwarf star Gliese 710 through the sun’s outer Oort cloud.
The star’s new passage triggers a cometary cascade into the inner solar system; one such comet strikes Alaska, near a coastal redoubt, damaging it and forcing its inhabitants to seek refuge in the wilderness. Most survivors perish, but some adapt-subjecting the species once more to Darwinian natural selection.
4.7 Million Years
Humans Become Vicious Wooly Hominid Predators
After the lapse of some three million years, the Alaskan refugees have evolved into many new forms. Human intelligence is now a recessive trait-Dormant, unused, but not extinct. Briefly, the human genus reacquires a four footed habit evolving into vicious wooly hominid predators and the gregarious hominid ruminants upon which they prey.
Among the many strange hominid species that evolve is a sleek, aquatic form with a thick layer of subcutaneous fat to survive in the frigid Arctic seas; an apex predator, it evolves into a kind of semi-sentient, humanoid leopard seal.
9.5 Million Years
Complete Digitization of Human Mind
The new human species rapidly ascends through the kardashev stages of civilization, achieving for Type I and Type II status. The planets are colonized, not by terraformation, but by engineering physical forms best suited to the extra terrestrial environment and “downloading” human minds into them.
The discovery of a true “computronium” substrate allows for the complete digitization of the human mind. Human existence, for those who so choose, can now be fully “extrasomatic.”
50 Million Years
Humankind Spreads Throughout The Galaxy
Humankind, an entity described now by intellectual-not genetic or somatic-inheritance, spreads throughout the galaxy and achieves a true Type III civilization.
The galaxies colonized by broadcasting small, light-powered computronium probes carrying digitized human minds. Once arrived, the nanoprobes assemble suitable bodies from local materials and download the human minds into the new vessels.
100 Million Years
Manufacturing Matrioshka brains
Having found no other form of intelligent life, the “human species” begins disassembling gas giants in almost every star system, harvesting all elements heavier than helium for the creation of more computronium. The helium is aggregated into “mini-suns”-sustained microsupernovae used to quickly create heavy elements for more computronium.
The new elements are used to manufacture “Matrioshka brains” (MBrains) around nearly every star in the Galaxy. MBrains are huge computronium shells nested in layers around a star, the exhaust heat of inner shells powering the other ones. These immense computers, performing computations in the sextillions of yottaflops, contain the disembodied intelligence of the human species.
1 Billion Years
Computronium Mbrains On Every Star in Every Galaxy
Human intelligence spreads throughout the observable universe, engineering computronium Mbrains around nearly every star in every galaxy. Humans no longer possess solid bodies of flesh and blood-they are digital, downloadable entities inhabiting computers the size of whole solar systems.
All stars larger than about 0.4 solar masses are disassembled and re-engineered to be low mass, M-class red dwarfs with potential lifespans in the trillions of years. This stop-gap measure delays the inevitable end of the Stelliferous Era.
100 Trillion Years
Entire Universe Is Programmable
The entire universe now consists of computronium and programmable matter-the universe is humankind. Every particle of matter and every quantum of energy is employed in the cosmos wide business of human thought.
As stars wink out, “humanity” resorts to new energy sources. The Hawking radiation of decaying black holes and cosmic shear energy fuels information processing, and eventually powers the encoding of Mind itself onto the spacetime quanta of the universe.
Godlike State of Infinity
After unthinkable kalpas of time, during which “humankind” has achieved complete control of all the laws of physics, this near godlike mind decides the time has come to rig its escape from a dying universe. It quantum tunnels into a myriad of multiple, daughter universes where history and time and evolution can be replayed in endless variation, and wisdom and knowledge approach Infinity. It is the Cosmic Singularity beyond which time and evolution have no meaning.