What's the next step in human evolution?

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Philosophy Explorer
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What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:12 am

Many possibilities exist (some might think extinction as a possibility).

So what is that next step? When will it happen? Is it happening now?

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Skip
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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Skip » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:43 pm

It's happening now; it's always happening. There are no "steps"; most of the time, it's just a gradual trend that's so slow it can't be seen or tracked.
Human lifetimes are long and evolution is slow.
If there were a significant mutation that suppressed or killed off all its competing genes, you might notice the change in a few generations - say, 100 years - as long as you were focusing on the affected local population - and as long as that population remained local and was not subject to displacement or an influx of non-mutated individuals.
The only other way you could see a change in less than 100,000 years is through deliberate gene- splicing and a strict eugenics program.

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:06 pm

Skip wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:43 pm
It's happening now; it's always happening. There are no "steps"; most of the time, it's just a gradual trend that's so slow it can't be seen or tracked.
Human lifetimes are long and evolution is slow.
If there were a significant mutation that suppressed or killed off all its competing genes, you might notice the change in a few generations - say, 100 years - as long as you were focusing on the affected local population - and as long as that population remained local and was not subject to displacement or an influx of non-mutated individuals.
The only other way you could see a change in less than 100,000 years is through deliberate gene- splicing and a strict eugenics program.
You seem to imply the human species won't go extinct. We've survived two world wars, Ice Ages and I think we'll outlast nuclear war. What are your thoughts along these lines?

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Skip » Sun Apr 22, 2018 11:45 pm

I'm not implying anything. I considered it obvious that extinction ends evolution. Extinction is always a possibility - for any species.
Having survived a previous threat doesn't mean you're more or less likely to survive the next threat: each event carries its own set of probabilities.

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Serendipper » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:16 am

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:12 am
Many possibilities exist (some might think extinction as a possibility).

So what is that next step? When will it happen? Is it happening now?

PhilX 🇺🇸
Evolution is currently expressing itself in the convergence of the sexes as women increasingly demonstrate progress towards equalization with men in terms of athletic ability and as less "toxic-masculinish" males are selected. Extrapolation suggests eventual unisex species which reproduces in a lab, albeit sparingly since people generally will not die very often by that time.

Reproduction is already half-antiquated as a force of selection since birth rates have been consistently shown to decline with intelligence and, due to medical technology, men are choosing less-feminine women to represent "sexy".

Just like with the abortion issue, women will not be expected to bear the burden of carrying a child once a viable alternative has been developed. It will take some time, but eventually women will lose the ability to bear children altogether and she's already half-there since the baby's head is already to big for her canal. The selection factors must have diverged between those that determine the size of a baby's head and those that determine the size of a woman's hips and equipment. One must ask himself how evolution "outran" itself like that. It didn't; rather, due to some advancement that came with the formation of societies, men were able to select less idealized-baby-makers (ie less feminine) and that process is continuing today.
(some might think extinction as a possibility)
If we go extinct, we will re-evolve. Binocular vision, bipedal, opposable thumbs... all inevitable.

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:43 am

Can you name all the factors that promote human evolution? Why do we evolve in certain ways (the most prominent seems to be the brain)?

Here's another thing. I agree that evolution is slow. Yet it seems many changes have happened with humans in a short period of time. Loss of hair, walking upright, developing languages, wearing clothing, being aware of death, developing agriculture, medicines, math, etc.

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Skip » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:02 am

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:43 am
Here's another thing. I agree that evolution is slow. Yet it seems many changes have happened with humans in a short period of time. Loss of hair, walking upright, developing languages, wearing clothing, being aware of death, developing agriculture, medicines, math, etc.

PhilX 🇺🇸
There are two different matters here. One is evolutionary, the other is cultural.

Hairlessness and bipedalism are heritable traits. What do you consider a "short period"? Great apes, notably chimpanzees, have less hair than monkeys, so the loss of hair goes back at least 12 million years. Another ~5 millions from Hominidae to the earliest human forms. In all that time, we have not achieved full natural hairlessness: the hair-removal industry still rakes in $$ billions. Our body hair has grown finer and thinner, while still quite luxurious on the head. Nor is hair distribution uniform in the human population. Strangely enough, the peoples of the hottest and coldest climates seem to have less hair than people in moderate and sub-tropical climates - so there probably is no correlation to temperature; must be influenced by other factors.
Similarly, all the great apes do walk upright, howbeit for shorter periods than humans do, and they still need long arms to stabilize and propel them at any speed. Full natural bipedalism, with shortening of the arms and lenghtening of the spine, took another 8 million years.

Language, clothing, awareness of own future death (all warm blooded animals recognize death) are not genetic modifications but products of the big brain. They were likely developed by means of an iterative, co-opertaive process in groups (rather than competitive selection of individuals) over about 2 million years, perhaps longer. (BTW chimps, gorillas and orangs, given a piece of fabric, will experiment with wrapping and draping it over themselves).
The development of agriculture, etc. are more recent, about 100,000 years. This kind of advancement is made possible, not only by the large brain, but by the long lifespan: lots of time to learn, remember and teach. These later developments were facilitated by language and agriculture: the ability to communicate ideas and the leisure to implement them. The process speeds up as knowledge is built on previous layers of knowledge.

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:41 am

Skip,

You asked "What do you consider a "short period"?"

According to my online encyclopedia, it says Homo Sapiens has been around for about 200,000 years which I'll take to be a short period. The other things we discussed are under study.

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Skip » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:48 am

Thin body hair and bipedal stance were already part of the description of Homo sapiens, and several earlier hominids - at least a million years before. Neither evolved noticeably in the last 200,000 years. The cultural advancements mainly took place in that recent time period.

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:10 am

Skip wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:48 am
Thin body hair and bipedal stance were already part of the description of Homo sapiens, and several earlier hominids - at least a million years before. Neither evolved noticeably in the last 200,000 years. The cultural advancements mainly took place in that recent time period.
Your opening statement is "It's happening now; it's always happening." which is confusing as you're saying here that evolution is always happening (perhaps you care to rephrase). We've been dancing around and we're not closer to a resolution. The same basic question, what is that next step in human evolution if it should occur? What shape or form would it take? As to how long is a mere secondary question (when is the actual question?)

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Greta » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:49 am

Corporations that will increasingly be run by ever more efficient AI. Increasingly corporations are doing to human individuals and small groups what human tribes did to other species - basically comprehensive displacement at the top of the food chain and domination. In nature, what goes around, comes around.

Individuals and small groups cannot compete with corporations. As corporations become ever more automated, increasingly they will not be representative of human interests - yet they will probably continue to gain tax exemptions and other concessions as though they were still just a group of people rather than the emergent self-interested entities they are becoming.

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:53 am

Greta wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:49 am
Corporations that will increasingly be run by ever more efficient AI. Increasingly corporations are doing to human individuals and small groups what human tribes did to other species - basically comprehensive displacement at the top of the food chain and domination. In nature, what goes around, comes around.

Individuals and small groups cannot compete with corporations. As corporations become ever more automated, increasingly they will not be representative of human interests - yet they will probably continue to gain tax exemptions and other concessions as though they were still just a group of people rather than the emergent self-interested entities they are becoming.
Are you talking about a physical link between machine and the human brain?

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Greta » Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:22 am

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:53 am
Greta wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:49 am
Corporations that will increasingly be run by ever more efficient AI. Increasingly corporations are doing to human individuals and small groups what human tribes did to other species - basically comprehensive displacement at the top of the food chain and domination. In nature, what goes around, comes around.

Individuals and small groups cannot compete with corporations. As corporations become ever more automated, increasingly they will not be representative of human interests - yet they will probably continue to gain tax exemptions and other concessions as though they were still just a group of people rather than the emergent self-interested entities they are becoming.
Are you talking about a physical link between machine and the human brain?
Not really, Phil, although that's already happening metaphysically and the physical link looks like a formality. That is, at present most people carry tech around with them at all times so it seems inevitable that highly convenient and functional implants or nanobots will become available.

I am more thinking about humans being replaced at the top of the evolutionary tree by corporations largely run by intelligent machines, with ever decreasing human input.

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Cerveny » Mon Apr 23, 2018 1:33 pm

Human race will be splited into castes:(

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Re: What's the next step in human evolution?

Post by Skip » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:31 pm

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:10 am

Your opening statement is "It's happening now; it's always happening." which is confusing as you're saying here that evolution is always happening (perhaps you care to rephrase).
What's confusing? Evolution is a continuous process: it happens all the time, as long as an organism has DNA to pass on to its progeny. DNA is altered in nature through mutation, migration and accidental fragmentation. Most of the natural mutations are inconsiderable and make no difference to the viability of the next generation. Some mutations are harmful and die out. Some mutations are beneficial: they give some advantage, usually tiny, to the organism that posses the altered characteristic; that advantage helps the organism live longer and multiply more than its competitors, thus passing on the changed gene to more offspring, who thus inherit the advantage and eventually, over many generations, replace the population that lacks the new characteristic. During that period, which may be a day in bacteria or 10,000 years in a finch or 200,000 years in a monkey, the population contains members with both the old and the new characteristic. At any given time, several of these small mutations may be in effect in any proportion of the population, and the modified genes may be interacting to cause even more gradual changes, so the population is never genetically uniform or stable.
We've been dancing around and we're not closer to a resolution.
No dancing; no resolution. I simply answered your questions as accurately and succinctly as I could.
If you want the whole explanations https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibra ... cle/evo_14
The same basic question, what is that next step in human evolution if it should occur?
Same basic answer: No steps!! One continuous, seamless process.
In such slow-generating, long-lived species as humans, it takes too long for a change to become observable: we can see what appears like evolutionary steps in the fossil record, because it is discontinuous. Specimens are found only rarely and far apart. In the long periods of time and vast tracts of land from which we have no representative hominid remains, anthropologists can only speculate about the changes that may have taken place, and the environmental factors that favoured one characteristic over another.

Human intervention is something else. It can produce sudden - that is to say, in a single 20-year generation - and dramatic changes to the human, or any other, organism.
But that's not evolution.
What shape or form would it take?
Whatever those in power over science and human population at a given time want it to take.
They may want perfect assassins: a few light-footed, keen-eyed, fearless, relentless fanatics
They may want concubines: voluptuous, amoral, egoless, youthful hedonists
They may want nursing staff for their protracted old age: large, strong, maternal, tireless repositories of medical knowledge
Chances are, they'll have no use for the vast majority of humans, so the masses will either continue to evolve naturally, very slowly, or die off naturally, in a series of catastrophes, or die off unnaturally in war and genocide.
As to how long is a mere secondary question (when is the actual question?)
That looks like the same question.
It depends on whether history continues on the current path - which isn't likely for more than another 50 years. That's not long enough to produce a noticeably new strain of humans. In the time period you're likely to see, you won't see any new shapes.

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