Between heaven and hell: the future of the human race

For the first time in hundreds of thousands of years we have reached a turning point in the story of human evolution.

by Joel Garreau
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Technology is enabling humans to switch from evolution which modifies their environment to a radical evolution which modifies their minds, memories, metabolisms, personalities and progeny. Four technologies (GRIN: genetics, robotics, information and nanotechnology) are driving the change. There are already plenty of examples of the change occurring; a man can send an e-mail with his head after having a chip implant; and an exoskeleton suit designed for US infantry soldiers makes carrying 180lbs feel like lifting 5lbs.

The future holds three scenarios: the heaven, hell and prevail possibilities. The first means we will conquer stupidity, ignorance, ugliness, disease, pain, suffering, being fat, forgetfulness and even death. The hell scenario holds the possibility of the eventual wiping out of the human race if the technologies get into the wrong hands. The prevail law is not about the ‘gear’ (ie. how many transistors you can get to talk to each other), it is about how many human beings you can get to talk to one another. In this way, we might be able to co-evolve, developing new social forms and social agreements to cope with the change. The prevail course is based on a faith on human beings coming together to be ‘unpredictably clever’.

Source: Radical Evolution
Business at Oxford, the magazine of the Said Business School, summer 2006

Review by Morice Mendoza

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