Homo Evolutis

Ok, back to deep and meaningful posts. This time I will experiment with video and to begin I would like to point you to the video below and would like to follow it up with a bit of a commentary of my own.

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more about “Homo Evolutis“, posted with vodpod

Interesting stuff huh? Definitely a strong theme of transhumanism throughout that talk. However as much as I support what he is saying I can’t help but feel something is a little odd about this talk. The main reason I feel a little odd about it is that it is not very original. I’ve heard these things before, from a bunch of people who are currently busy hyping genomics. This group of people are all collaborators, including (importantly) Craig Venter. So my question is, why are these influential and somewhat famous figures doing flaunting these transhumanism ideals as inevitable futures? Perhaps more importantly, what do they have to gain from doing so.

One answer is that they are doing this to try and raise public acceptance of these technologies, by focusing on their positive elements. A commendable goal if it is theirs, but obviously motivated in no small way by their economic investments in these areas (the whole “focus on the future when in the flames” line just screams of “give us grant money”). But what do you think? I’d love to hear opinions on my speculation.

In any case, he has his factual evidence right although his speculation might be a bit far fetched at times. Times are changing and now is a good time to be going into this sort of business (at least thats what I’m hedging on). Things might not advance quite as quickly or in the manner Juan presents us, but it will certainly advance nonetheless – and at no small speed.

I do have one gripe though. The name “Homo Evolutis”. For a start it appears they have chosen this name with the goal of having it catch on. It doesn’t make sense to me though, it is not a logical name. For one thing “Evolutis” seems to imply that our entire species should be defined by our ability to work on evolution. As much as I like biology, this just isn’t a good representation (although it does seem awfully familiar to the Zerg (see previous blog)). But on a technical note, we should note that cybernetics and genetic modification/engineering are NOT forms of evolution. Evolution is a natural process, a process which we are now skipping through the use of technology. So not only is the name not appropriate, it is also pretty inaccurate.


~ by Myles O'Neill on March 5, 2009.

3 Responses to “Homo Evolutis”

  1. You are a naturalist? :O

    (I didn’t actually watch the video.. low quota) however I’m guessing that ‘Evolutis’ is the next species/subspecies of humanity?

    An idea that’s tied in with the world of cyberpunk?

    anywhos. “cybernetics and genetic modification/engineering are NOT forms of evolution.” yes, they are not a part of evolution however it would play a role in evolution, given that developments would allow curtain people to outlive their ‘Darwinian welcome’ weakening the traits within the gene pool, thus contributing to evolution… making it a part of evolutionary process?

    just my 2-cents worth 😀

  2. Hmm, I think you have a valid point. However we should consider the fact that humans aren’t actually evolving in any specific direction at the moment. Selection drives evolutionary direction, and humans have very little selection pressures on us at the moment. Odds are these advanced humans wouldn’t really be able to propagate themselves in any considerably advantageous manner to normal humans, and without selection pressure odds are there would be little effect.

  3. This was certainly a most interesting talk.
    Of course, I think the main reason that they hold these kind of talks is to ensure the financial future of their corporations. And indeed, perhaps in a small part also because they want to increase public acceptance, but I think that anybody visiting speeches like these either already accept them, or are so sceptical that they won’t accept them after this speech either.

    It is quite obvious to me however that the main drive behind this speech is to make sure that people keep investing in their kind of technology.

    The thing that struck me in this speech is the way in which he believes how soon all this will be happening. Yes, perhaps their technologies have progressed that far, and I believe they do. However, this kind of stuff will most certainly not be publically available in at least the coming few decades if you ask me. As hinted at before, public acceptance is currently way too low for these technologies to truly begin seeing the light of day. Looking at the heated debates that are currently flowing about regarding ‘regular’ stem cell therapy, I do not believe that these revolutionary technologies will be implemented on a larger than case-by-case scale before a few decades at least.

    What do you think?

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