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Owing to the ever changing environment will humans evolve to better adapt or will they rather use technology to do it for them? Which option is better?

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closed as too broad by James, PipperChip, Scott Downey, ArtOfCode, Serban Tanasa Mar 30 '15 at 11:45

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  • $\begingroup$ Human had long abandoned evolution and in favour of upgrade by either genetically or mechanically enhancement. Unless a broke out of nuclear holocaust which could set us back to bronze age we will be having lithium battery for breakfast soon. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Mar 30 '15 at 5:51
  • $\begingroup$ I understand , we are more likely to modify the environment unfavourable to us rather than undergo natural selection to develop traits to survive . $\endgroup$ – Abhishek Mar 30 '15 at 6:13
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Humans will always evolve, short of a strictly regulated, global eugenics program that would have to be combined with a near-omniscient level of knowledge: it's not something that we can make a choice about as a species. However, the way that we interact with technology will certainly be part of what influences how humans evolve. People already have replaced much of the labour of previous generations with machinery, to give one example. Living in cities close to each other makes people more susceptible to quickly-spreading infections, and in response, they evolve forms of resistance against these pathogens. As the modern world and the skills needed for it change, it's entirely possible that mental and behavioral traits will evolve as well. However, we don't even have a full understanding of the current behavior and minds of humans or how we got to be this way; we know even less the specific ways in which we will evolve in the future.

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  • $\begingroup$ We have not stopped evolving. It's just slow. $\endgroup$ – RedSonja Oct 30 '15 at 9:54
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First off, humans will evolve, no matter what. That is simply due to the fact that in reproduction, the genes are always shuffled (yes, this is a very rough description). When comparing evolution to technology, technology will always win, at least short- to mid-term.

The reason: A human will reproduce every 20 years if in a hurry, while 30 years seems to be a more common figure. That is how long one iteration takes. Even if we eliminated randomness, for example by some sort of "breeding plans", you could not speed up the process (much).

With technology, you can not only have much shorter improvement cycles, you can also combine efforts from different sources o achieve a better result.

As a result, the answer to your question is: We will use technology to solve our problems, and will most likely evolve more or less independently from that.

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We will likely evolve to better use our technology.

Those with more sensitive nerves on their fingers/thumbs and better dexterity will have advantages in environments where everyone uses touch-screen phones and computers.

When it comes to evolution vs technology, no option is better. Evolution is short-sighted and greedy, but it is brutally efficient. Evolution, or rather, natural-selection invariably favours evolutionary advantages that have short-term benefits, even if they have disastrous effects in the long-term.

Because of this, you may think technology is better. In some regards it is, but evolution applies to human behaviour as well. We're inclined to use our technology for short-term gain, at our long-term expense.

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Neither option is 'better'. But evolution, in general, is extremely slow. As such, we've mainly used technology to better adapt to this world. This has been fairly true since the beginning and is perhaps one of the defining aspects that makes us human. In fact, when technology enables us to do things, it eliminates the need to evolve to to do it directly. We figured out how planes work, so no need for us to evolve wings any time soon, for example.

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In my opinion (backed by a little research, but not extensive):

Unlike the other answers suggest, humans do not evolve any more.

Evolution means (simplified), that the species which can adapt best, has the most (or most generations of) [surviving] offspring. This doens't work with humans.

For humans, there is no evolutionary pressure. Success is no more coupled to reproduction.

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Evolution also means selection to adapt to the environment the organism is living in. Humans can move quite long distances (even without technology; our distant ancestors literally walked across the entire planet), so we are less likely to be stuck in one place and forced to adapt to a singular diet, climactic condition or other factor which drives organisms to specialize. This also means humans can choose to find mates almost anywhere, so even if your ancestors lived in Peru and are somewhat adapted to high altitudes, you might have moved to the United States to go to school and have children with someone who's ancestors came from the plains of Europe...

The future driver of human evolution will be space travel. Since it will be very expensive and time consuming for centuries, populations will become isolated for long periods of time in alien environments (one of the preconditions for evolving). Even without technological intervention, people who are naturally more resistant to radiation or bone loss or whatever conditions obtain in distant moons or asteroids will pass that on to their children.

Technology, especially genetic engineering will simply speed things up. Differences in conditions will force genetic engineers to make different choices in different environments, and of course there will also be different preferences among the various populations which will also drive changes.

So look for a burst in human evolution starting late in the 21rst century when populations start settling on places like Mars, the asteroid belt, the moons of Jupiter and into deep space.

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