Humans are still evolving. It’s just easy to lose sight of that given the incredibly long span of time it takes over many generations for the changes to become apparent.
Given this its fun to think about: What will humans look like in 10,000 years? How will our bodies develop? How will our brains develop?
For a prediction on how our bodies will develop, Stephen Hawking predicts that there will be a feared race of “superhuman” capable of manipulating their own evolution:
“We are now entering a new phase of what might be called self-designed evolution, in which we will be able to change and improve our DNA,” Hawking writes. “We have now mapped DNA, which means we have read ‘the book of life’, so we can start writing in corrections.” In the early stages of these daunting capabilities – enabled by gene-editing technologies like CRISPR – Hawking suggests genetic changes “will be confined to the repair of genetic defects”.
In terms of what happens to our brains, Matthew Walker in his book Why We Sleep poses a question about whether or not the ability to lucid dream will be preferentially selected in the future:
It remains unclear whether lucid dreaming is beneficial or detrimental, since well over 80 percent of the general populace are not natural lucid dreamers. If gaining voluntary dream control were so useful, surely Mother Nature would have imbued the masses with such a skill. However, this argument makes the erroneous assumption that we have stopped evolving. It is possible that lucid dreamers represent the next iteration in Homo sapiens’ evolution. Will these individuals be preferentially selected for in the future, in part on the basis of this unusual dreaming ability—one that may allow them to turn the creative problem-solving spotlight of dreaming on the waking challenges faced by themselves or the human race, and advantageously harness its power more deliberately?
We won’t be around to see whether these predictions are true or not but it’s fascinating to think that future humans might view us today the same we we view our cavemen ancestors.