Forget your retirement plan-what’s your 4 million year plan?


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Isn’t being a human great!?  I mean, we’re at the top of the food chain, we have blogs, we invented the wheel….we’ve come a long way.  But in this world of over achievers, we’ve got to think of our improvement as a species.  Luckily msnbc.com has posted a handy guide to how things are going to improve for us over the next four million years.  Actually, don’t get your hopes up, things look like they get worse before getting better.  I enjoy the subject of evolution so this site really caught my interest.  It’s not really science (more sci-fi) but still fascinating.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7348103

Here are their predictions for our future selves:

We’re doing fine but just check out a few of the reality shows on TV these days—as a species, we’ve got some work to do.

  • In 1 Million Years – Unihuman

By this time, it looks like the world will have become such a small place that all the different races on the planet have blended together to the point at which there is no longer much genetic diversity.  This is probably a bad thing.  Biodiversity is the spice of life!  If you think of the point of “life” simply in terms of evolution, your goal is to procreate and to make sure that your progeny is successful you need to mate with someone with genes different from yours. The more variety your spawn has, the more likely they are going to survive.  So to me, if this “Unihuman” idea were to come to fruition, I would bet that this would be the beginning of the end for the Homo sapiens.  My theory is less diversity = a less successful population = a lowering of population levels.  Nature will probably start to change things up at this point and a new dominant species will then evolve.  

  • At about 1.5 million years – The Survialistians – Postapocalypticus

Here’s where things start to get interesting.  At this point, they are suggesting some type of mass apocalyptic event occurs and forces dramatic evolution.  Species with certain beneficial attributes will survive and others will not make it.  Sounds like the future humans may have some cool new tricks up their sleeves such as night vision and skin that protects you from radiation.  Cool-no more sunscreen!

  • Fast forward 2 million years – The Numans – Homo genomicus

So by this time, it looks like things are starting to look up.  Whatever horrible mass extinction event occurred has passed and now there are a bunch of different new human species running around.  So now we’ve got the biodiversity back which is so important but with that comes more conflict….I guess we are still human after all.

  • Well, you knew these were coming – The Cyborgs – Homo robotics

My husband is deathly afraid of Skynet so he’ll be glad to know they don’t take over until about 3 million years from now.  The guess is that we become some sort of human/robot hybrid because we’ve developed a way for our bodies to accept computer implants with out our immune system rejecting them.  Then there’s the whole issue with the robots taking over the humans so you can watch the Terminator movies to see how that works out.  

  • And at 4 million years – The Astrans – Astranthropus

Here it looks like we finally become citizens of the universe, not just the milky way.  By this time, we’ve mastered the whole cyborg/genetic engineering thing and we’re ready to go road tripping!  Sounds like some long trips….apparently we’ll be able to put our selves to sleep for thousands of years while on our way to somewhere far, far away.  I personally was hoping we wouldn’t have to wait 4 million years for this but I guess we’ll just have to be patient.  At this point, I’ll be happy to have a flying car one day before I leave this planet.

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One thought on “Forget your retirement plan-what’s your 4 million year plan?

  1. Appreciate you posting this Ms Science. It reminds me that news orgs don’t do good science and, being the curmudgeon I am, I may take their bit of flash-fun out behind the woodshed on my blog.

    My main beef is with the numbers; not that there’s much of a difference between 1 million, 3 million, and 200 years when it comes to our ability to check their work, but they coulda put a couple more brain cells on the job here. They just took some decent postulations by real scientists and forced them into a sexy-sounding time scale.

    While we can’t exactly apply Moore’s Law directly, it does have quite an impact in shortening (imho) these millions into 10’s or, at most, 100’s of thousands of years – with one exception, that being the survivalistian which depends on a event, whether internal (mistake by humans), or external (big rock hurtling through space on just the right trajectory) By dropping it 1.5M into the future, though, it leverages odds. My money would be on humans and the timing sooner than later.

    Before I write a comment longer than the post (i tend to get lost in the details, hehe) I think you’re right that the lack of genetic diversity will be a bit of a rough patch for us nekkid apes.

    Oh! And tell your husband that as long as our robots are built with Asimov’s 3 laws then we should be fine…

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