Further Evolution beyond the Human?

Brian Davison (davison@tyco.net.au)
Sat, 05 Oct 1996 16:24:48 +0800

I have an interesting theory on evolution to consider. It seems most
likely that the natural process of evolution is finished, and mankind is
the final product of that evolution. So the question remains, what
comes next?

Is mankind destined to live until the end of the Earth, the final and
most advanced product of our planet? It seems unlikely, humans after
all have only occupied the planet for a fraction of its history. We
also seem to have this urge of self-destruction, the results of which
are now being played out before us. Instead of becoming extinct through
an outside event like the Dinosaurs (if they were indeed killed off by a
meteorite) the human race would probably destroy itself.

If you accept this, the question becomes- was this self-destructive urge
in built? Was it part of the evolutionary `program' so that eventually
we would die out in preperation for the next step? Now what would this
next step become?

If you can allow me to delve into this a little bit, and I hope you will
not think this is going too far into the realm of science fiction, the
next step could be silicon based life forms instead of carbon based life
forms as human beings are. In other words (at least regarding the
current standards of technology) electronic, or computer life forms.

This is not as far fetched as you may believe, if you accept that the
human brain is very similar to a computer (albeit in a far more complex
design than our current levels of technology), in that our senses take
in the data, our minds process the data through electric signals in
brain connections.

As everybody on the internet is surely aware of, computer development is
advancing at a phenemonal rate, perhaps faster than any other technology
in history. It is surely not too far into the future that we can
develop computers which approach the complexity of the human brain and
are `self-aware'. Computer developers admit that the next generation of
processors being designed are done so with the aid of the previous
generation, and they do not fully understand the processes they are
using to achieve such astounding results. A computer with the
complexity of the human brain, able to think intelligently, with the
ability to process data at levels way faster than humans can comprehend,
would obviously dwarf the human race! (shades of The Terminator here).

I watched a very interesting documentary the other night, and a computer
designer was speculating the possiblities of simulating the evolutionary
process on a computer. An intelligent computer, could undergo the
natural selection (the method of choosing the best characteristics to
ensure the best chance of survival and efficiency) process in a time
period phenomanally faster than the evolution of the human race! And
the human race evolved very rapidly, compared to the development of life

So if this scenario is to be accepted, human beings would only become
another link in the evolutionary path, the end product of natural
evolution, but responsible for kicking off the next evolutionary period.

Of course I am not proclaiming that this is definately going to happen,
but it is interesting to speculate on the possibilities.....