The Next Generation of Humans
By Purav Shah
As humans have progressed over the ages, many have wondered what the next step
of human evolution would be, if any. While the process of evolution is a lengthy one,
advances in science have allowed us to take matters into our own hands. A recent example of this is
the experiment recently conducted in China.
According to the article, Scientists were able to modify the genes of embryos in order to make them
HIV resistant. Although the study serves as an important proof of concept for the science
behind gene editing, it is important to remember that the experiment was carried out on embryos
that would have never come to term. In contrast, Swedish scientists hope to be able to
edit the genes of live eggs.
According to the article, the researcher hope to "edit genes in human embryos to learn more
about how the genes regulate early embryonic development." The results in turn would give us better
knowledge of diseases that affect children at birth. Ultimately, genetic editing will allow humans
to develop new immunities and enhance ourselves biologically. This in turn sets out a new path of human
While the science seems promising, it is widely surrounded in controversy with many fearing it will
be used to create "designer babies." The term refers to the concept of hand picking "favorable" traits
for babies and modifying embryos to deliver "superior" children. This is a concern shared by many in
the scientific community and has led regulatory bodies to limit or ban research into the topic. In
areas where researching genetic modifications is not banned, scientists are required to request an
exemption before doing anything. Due to slow progress in the field, the technology required for human
gene editing still remains in its early stages.
As a result of the restrictive nature of gene editing, other forms of human progression have been
considered in order to maintain human relevance on the planet. Human augmentation through robotic
means has recently gained tractions, mainly fueled by progress in artificial intelligence and biomedical
technology. This topic has gained traction recently due to interest from several famous figured
including Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and Elon Musk. Musk in particular has been critical of human
superiority compared to computers.
In a recent article,
he asserts that humans and robots must merge in order for us to compete with robots.
Ultimately, advances in medical and metchanical technologies will bring about changes to humans in a way
that many would not have prediced before. In many ways, technology has allowed humans to ignore
environmental stressors. As a result, humans must rely on technology to take control of the future
of human evolution. It will be interesting to see how research in this field progresses and how
the scientific community will regulate this field in the near future.