3 MINUTE READ

Closing the page on the much engrossing Sapiens recently left me with a lot more angst than desired.

The book was at times sensational, but overall a fascinating read; providing nuggets of facts that left you reassessing the world that you live in and your knowledge of humanity to date. It chronologically covered  how we’ve evolved from one of six human species 70,000 years ago into the last remaining dominant force that we are today, with thanks to several significant revolutions – the Cognitive, Agricultural and now Scientific.

The author, Yuval Noah Harahi, almost prophetically finishes on the notion that The Scientific Revolution will be our last. Envisioning that the pace of technology and science will become so exponential that it will be our unravelling, changing us from Homo sapiens to unrecognisible beings.  

To add to my anxiety, he gave exemplars of this happening today, in the shape of future genetics and human cyborgs. Imagining the worst, I thought it best to finish the book and move on. But was swiftly reminded, when cracking open a 2017 trend report.

Big this year: gene editing and human cyborgs.

2016 saw China complete the first human trials in DNA editing and the US are set to follow suit this year. The tests focus on altering or disabling existing genes to tackle disease. It’s the dawn of a new way of applying science to save lives. It’s also the beginning of manmade evolution, where we get to choose our own blueprints.

Cyborg Nest, a biohacking start up, are taking wearables to the next level this year with their new integrated product. Implanted into its consumers, their external sensor will vibrate every time its wearer faces north; a niche offer, but with huge implications. Their technology could be taken by forward-thinking companies and applied at a mass level to boost our physical and mental capabilities. Imagine a world where payments could be made at the swipe of a hand instead of a credit card? No more pick-pocket worries that’s for sure.

It seemed Harahi had a point. Clichéd as it sounds; we’re on the cusp of unconceivable advancements to our existence. Whether this will change what it means to be human is unclear, but, by Darwin’s theory, Evolution is inevitable and that’s not a bad thing. Uncomfortable as it feels, it’s progress and I like that.  (One caveat:  let’s just make sure we get the ethics right, though there’s a whole other blog in that).