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Is Human evolution on-going?

May 14, 2013

The answer to the question of course depends on how you view evolution. The Jesuit philosopher, Tielhard de Chardin, has described the evolutionary  idea of the Omega Point as where the highest level of human consciousness and complexity would be achieved. To Tielhard this complexity or Noosphere, is the convergence of the evolution of matter into a geosphere, a biosphere, to human consciousness and then to a supreme consciousness called the Omega point. In some sense he believed that humankind would evolve into all- seeing and all-knowing angels. His radical theories were suppressed in his lifetime yet the meme lives on.


The dream of a distant, perfect Omega point was also taken up by scientist Frank Tipler. Tipler’s take on the Omega Point is of a cosmological state where intelligent life takes over, within five million years or so, the entire universe. When the far future universe collapses he speculates, ‘according to the laws of physics’, that the computational power of the universe expands to infinity and that all earthly space-time worlds and individuals throughout time simulated with that combinatorial capacity will last forever as the universe achieves a solidarity point cosmological singularity. In other words eternal life throughout the cosmos for all those (on Earth) who have lived, are living and are yet to live.

It’s all pretty far out stuff and perhaps more logically based renowned engineer and science writer Ray Kurzweil has outlined his vision of singularity. According to Kurzweil, who drew on the work of legendary technocrat John Von Neumann and science fiction writer Vernor Vinge, the technological singularity is the emergence of super-intelligence through an on-going intelligence explosion. These super-intelligences will, like the famed Von Neumann machines, design successive generations of ever more powerful artificial intelligence minds that will, in the not too distant future, surpass that of human intelligence. It all sounds very reasonable on the face of it although some have accused him of bad science.

Kurzweil has also spoken of his belief that the human life span will increase to virtual eternal youth. It may sound far- fetched to say the least but this man was also involved with the development of beta level AI in the i-phone Siri voice recognition system so his technical credibility is not in question. The man has stated often of his belief he will live for hundreds of years or more. More power to him and perhaps he may help us all live longer in the end.

I have been inspired by some of these theories and ideas in my fiction, including my recently released (Hot Digital Books, 2013) novel Gaia Redux. Both Tippler and Kurzweil are technophiles and have limitless faith in the power and prestige of science and some of my characters are similarly inclined. Perhaps Kurzweil is right and longevity and the complexity of technology will increasingly expand like our own universe. I imagine that only a privileged elite will attain a greatly expanded life span by being in the position to purchase such required alterations as stem cell based organ replacement and treatment. Whether this shall lead to an acceleration of human evolution could be for future generations to experience and deal with. Meanwhile science writers of fact and fiction will continue to press the envelope of human possibility.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2013 2:24 pm

    Hi David, though you imagine ” that only a privileged elite will attain a greatly expanded life span by being in the position to purchase such required alterations as stem cell based organ replacement and treatment”, in your new novel “Gaia Redux” you described a different society where money are absent and yet, everyone is offered an eternal life. What made you choose a very different scenario for your book?
    My warmest regards,
    Elena Ornig

    • June 14, 2013 2:57 pm

      Yes in this future of Gaia Redux the world is in a process of renewal with few survivors. With the life extension technology already established it only makes sense to give those left the chance to help revive a ruined planet. Using all the tool available would be the most common sense strategy. Earth Inc. today is structured rather differently. Thank you for your comment.

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