• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Sapiens 17 The End of Homo Sapiens

Page history last edited by Ian Kimber 5 years, 10 months ago



Lecture 17 The End of Homo Sapiens


Segment 1

Homo sapiens will disappear it will not annihilate itself it will in some ways upgrade itself into a different sort of being.  we are still like the ancients.  This will start to change and our bodies and minds will change.  We will become something very different.  This is not the way most people see it because they see beings like us getting more and more higher technology.  how will this change happen


biological engineering 


Deliberate changes in the human genome or operation this has been used very much in the past.  e.g. castration!  bulls to Oxen who are quieter and can be used to plough and pull carts.   Sexual changes are now accepted for people who mentally feel they were the wrong sex.

We are also growing new tissues to make artificial organic structures for implanting in humans.   We are using genetic engineering to change the genomes of animals but this can be transferred to humans    We are also genetically engineering bacteria to create fuels and biological chemicals.

We have genetically engineering mice to become more intelligent.  We might be able to to this to people. Currently ethical rules  and a lack of total confidence in success prevent this,  

We are trying to eliminate diseases in people caused by genome errors including things like cancer. going further is more a matter of confidence in success 


Segment 2


cyborg engineering

Mixed biological and mechanical and electronic. We have already gone some way along this route with spectacles, hearing aids and computers.  Implanted devices like pacemakers and cochlear implants for hearing. Similar devices for sight are being designed. Bionic arms exist that run directly from the nervous system. Remote control complex tools are becoming commonplace.  Mentally controlled devices are being designed and operated initially by animals but this is being extended to humans.  “Locked in” syndrome patients who cannot move but are still conscious are learning to control devices and communicate much better than by simple eye movements.   Direct two way brain to computer interfaces are being designed.  This could lead to a form of telepathy.    


This has a radical effect on the ethics 


inorganic engineering

Completely non organic beings can be designed and created.  Learning programmes already exist and evolving programmes also exist.  A simple example of these exist are computer viruses.  More complex devices will follow and computers may develop themselves.  Also computers may be able to replicate the brain with all its details and we might download ourselves into a computer. True inorganic life may well be fully possible


Segment 3

What are the social and ethical implications of these possibilities? 

Genome mapping is now easy and cheap.  This offers the possibility of totally personalised medicine. However it does have other implications.  What effect should this have on the concept of insurance and employment.  Is genetic discrimination allowed.

How about increased longevity and improved faculties and abilities does that have an effect on basic equality principles?

Could we be creating real “upper classes” of mankind.  The sort of minds that we could not and never would be understandable by us.


The singularity is a point where our understanding of world collapses entirely by the existence of a totally different form of life that is totally alien to us


This is of course speculation and things may not turn out like this.  Past forecasting has been very poor.  What this lecture says is not a forecast but looks at the sort of things that will require serious consideration.


The most important question is “What do we want to become”?   


This not the usual question this is  What are we forbidden to do?


We cannot stop the march of technology we will be faced with another question What to we want to want?   in the longest term that we can understand.


This cannot be the whole truth it is mainly aimed to persuade you and others to think more about these things.



Further reading


If you wish to know more about the author's thinking on the potential future of humankind  consider reading   Homo Deus "A brief history of the future"   his follow up book on this subject.


This reviews briefly the first parts of this book looks into the later parts from a different angle and the final quarter is an extended analysis of the ideas presented in this chapter.


If members show some interest I will consider preparing notes and opening discussions on this book as well.





Return to  1 Index page Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.