Evolution Technology

I am just going to write a summary of what I looked at this week and will use this for a round of research.  Something interesting I have been looking at is the evolution of humans, how we evolved over thousand of years to fit our environment and how technology is influencing our evolution now.  “Natural selection can take us on different paths to reach the same outcome: survival” (Max).

 People who lived at higher altitudes evolved to be able breath normally in those circumstances, where as if we went to a place where there were higher altitudes we wouldn’t be as comfortable and our bodies would have to work harder at getting oxygen in.  We evolved to be able to process starch, lactose and fats. We even evolved into being able to cry and blush. Now we are evolving into something much more complicated...technology.

 Neil Harbisson is the first official cyborg.  He was born not being able to see colours at all.  After having an antenna installed in his head, he was able to see colours in a whole new perspective.  “The fiber-optic sensor picks up the colours in front of him, and a microchip implanted in his skull coverts their frequencies into vibrations on the back of his head.  Those become sound frequencies, turning his skull into a sort of third ear….another implant was a Bluetooth communication hub, so friends could send him colours through his smartphone.” (Max).   Would we be able to evolve around something like this? It seems like a strange question, but if it is a means of survival, could we? “Clearly Harbisson’s antenna is merely a beginning. But are we on the slow grind of natural selection spreading desirable genes, but also everything that we can do to amplify our powers and the powers of the things we make, a union of genes, culture, and technology?  And if so, where is it taking us?....Evolution is relentless; when the chance of survival can be increased, it finds a way to make a change” (Max). 

 Technology has helped us in so many ways and the ways to use it is only increasing.  An example would be reproductive success. Technology can help us speed up the process of evolution.  New technology is allowing us to “bring about human-directed evolution” (Max). As we have been altering genes in other organisms, such as a mosquitos and changing its genes so it cannot carry malaria.  We are able to use those same techniques to design are own babies. There seems to be many wanting to use this technology to improve human intelligence. But does it seem worth it when technology will be able to “outperform even the most enhanced humans” (Max) in a couple of years? 

 There seems to be a human evolution and a technology evolution.  Human evolution happens very slowly, it happens over a few generations.  Technology evolution happens fast, we are able to use this technology to speed up processes.  The two are starting to merge which is creating a faster evolution. The merge of technology and people has many advantages.  “Parkinson’s disease sufferers worldwide have implants, so called brain pacemakers, to control symptoms of their malady. Artificial retinas for some types of blindness and cochlear implants for hearing loss are common….The University of Southern California's Centre for Neural Engineering is testing chip implants in the brain to recover lost memories.  The protocol might one day be applied to Alzheimer's patients and those who have suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury….hundreds of people have radio-frequency identification devices embedded in their bodies that allow them to unlock their doors or log on to their computers without touching anything.” (Max). As this evolution increases, it is important to make sure we are taking the right safety precautions as well, or else evolution could bring on a whole new meaning.  “Neil Harbisson sees a future vastly improved by widening our senses with such technology. “Night vision,” he says, “would give us the ability to adapt to the environment: design ourselves instead of the planet. Designing the planet is harming it.” (Max).

 

Bibliography:

Max, D.T. National Geographic, The Next Human. National Geographic Society, 2017, pp. 40-63.

Original Post

 Hello Haley, 

 I really enjoyed reading this post, for a topic I know so little about it was interesting to me.

 While it may not be the overall focus of your project, I found it really important that you brought up natural selection, because humans have invented technology that has stopped natural selection over the years. In a class we talked about how the invention of glasses has stopped natural selection: since glasses have been invented, humans who otherwise would've had poor vision and not survived have manages to survive and reproduce and such. As well, I thought it was interesting how you brought up reproductive success - technology has helped with solutions to infertility as well as saved newborns who may not have otherwise survived - which has huge impact on natural selection. I know this may not be what you're honing in on, but I found it really interesting to read about. 

 It was really interesting how you mentioned Neil Harbisson's experience. The antenna and the microchip in his head seem like really interesting inventions. I also like how you mentioned the potential dangers and disadvantages of this technology - it's important to look at both sides - perhaps this is something to look into more? 

 Here's a link about the general study of cyborgs and evolution, you may find it helpful! 

 https://www.nationalgeographic...n-technology-cyborg/

  Great round of research and good luck! 

Hi Haley,

Great first round of research! I like how you compared developing technology and cybernetics to human evolution. It's not something I'd ever really thought about before, but now that I think about it, we are in a way evolving through technological advancements that will enhance certain human abilities. I'm really curious as to how far these advancements will take the human race, and how quickly these changes will happen. I also wonder how dependent we will be on technology in the future; that is, would we be able to survive without it? Like Sophie mentioned, evolving technology has a big impact on natural selection, as some technology acts like a handicap and allows us to survive when natural selection might normally have prevented survival and reproduction for some people.

Here are some websites you might find useful for future research:

https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/e...nce-and-cybernetics/

http://www.pangaro.com/definition-cybernetics.html

https://www.realclearscience.c...nce_enhancement.html

Good luck!

Hi Haley!

I think your research is really interesting because I feel like most students on this site were born during the peak of technology and we don't really know life without it - I think your inquiry will be very fascinating for you to effectuate and for us to read.  Reading about the first human cyborg was definitely super fascinating and if it is something you're interested in too, it might be worth doing more research on and seeing how it is affecting his life thus far.

Here are some sources that may be of use to you:

https://www.mnn.com/leaderboar...l-life-human-cyborgs

https://news.nationalgeographi...n-evolution-science/

Good luck!

Hey Haley,  great research so far!  I really enjoyed reading your post, it was super interesting and well organized. The way Neil Harbisson was turned into a “cyborg” is honestly so cool and it has shown how far technology has come now.  It makes me really wonder if we can do all that from now, in the near future, what could change? In the past, one of my inquiry questions was “How might our world change in the 100 years?” and your research really reminds me of my own with that question. As I was researching about it, cyborgs was definitely a topic I touched on and many websites talked about.  I did a bit of research on how it could change in upcoming future and far future as well but cyborgs wasn’t the main focus in that research so I only have a brief idea. However, I think it would still be interesting if you looked into that. 

Here is a website to help you out:

https://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/s...e-future-of-cyborgs/

 

Hello Haley,

Your round really made me think about just what we could do with technology, you mentioned that some people have identification devices implanted in their hands and they use this to be able to unlock doors or computers without having to touch them, which is quite a interesting thing, this concept/technology actually seems to be predicted to appear in a lot of books and movies, an example of this could be how they had identification bracelets in the movie passenger, and they used these to unlock their rooms, pay for meals, open rooms, and to use every thing on the ship, another example could be a short story that we read in grade 9 of a person who had walked from home without their identification bracelet and they had been tracked down by a drone cause they had no identification, and so the drone ordered them home and made them put on their identification. In both examples said tags, control just about every aspect of your life, which kind of poses one question that keeps coming to mind for me, at what point is it too much; all of these implants would be electronic and easily tracked so at when do these “improvements” actually start to become considered bad, or abused by the people with the power to do so. I really did enjoy reading your round.

It’s possible that some of these websites might be of use to you in your future round:

Hi Haley, 

WOW! Your research round is amazing! I learned a lot from it, and what you researched so far is making even more interested in your inquiry question! I really enjoyed how you talked about the evolution of humans, and how you tied it in with the development of technology + evolution. Tying in what you said about how people living at higher altitudes evolved to be able to breath normally under those circumstances, I just learned about what happens in our body in my Biology class. Our body just commences to produce red blood cells to supply oxygen to our body that we are lacking. It’s super cool how adaption and evolution work!  

It’s intriguing how you mentioned that technology holds the potential to speed up the process of evolution. I’m looking into this new sort of technology for gene modifications called CRISPR for another inquiry project I’m working on at school. To begin with, gene engineering has so much potential. Not only is it capable of making gene adjustments in mosquitos for it to not carry malaria, it holds a wide section of possible applications ranging in various fields from human biology, agriculture and microbiology. Some researchers are even looking at embryos, so that they can apply the CRISPR technology on to it. I agree with you, there will be a point where we ask ourselves: is worth it when technology will be able to “outperform even the most enhanced humans” in a couple of years? Should we be striving for the creation of “super humans” when working with embryos? Evidently, there are many social, legal and ethical implications about cybernetics. In your future rounds, I believe that it would be beneficial to look at such. I’m also curious about how far these advancements will even take the human race. Technology is changing our society at a rapid pace. The first iPhone came out in 2007, and now all you have to do is look around you... and you would see a lot of people carrying their iPhones with them by the hand. Thus, it is seen that we are all so connected and dependent on technology in our lives. With the creation and development of the cybernetics domain, our dependence on technology is growing to such an extent where we must question what would occur when if technology simply disappeared. What would happen to us? One step you can take to improve your research round is to maybe include what you will be doing in your next post. :-) 

 

Websites to look into: 

http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/EVOLCYB.html  

http://complexsystems.org/publ...olution-of-politics/  

https://waset.org/conference/2018/06/paris/ICCE  

 

Good luck! 

-Alison

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