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This is based partially on the novel of Philip K. Dick, Ubik.

Supposing that human evolution takes a step forward in an unexpected way - like instead of a physical mutation, the humans born have a brain mutation, although normal humans are still born. But this new race of human is slowly increasing its numbers.

This mutation on the humans allows them to have different mental capacities. One of them is a some kind of clairvoyance, but not as is a magical gift. It's more accurate to describe it that they percieve more 'data' from the world around them than normal humans, and when they process that information, they 'see' the outcome of what will happen next. Although that prediction is not 100% accurate, it would be still impressive for the regular humans.

Some other of these new humans have other type of mental gift. I could describe it as the closest that it could be to 'read' minds. They have developed a huge capacity for empathy, and reading body language comes more natural for them.

They are other types of feats that the new species of human can do (things like telepathy or telekinesis still not possible; my approach for the mental feat are more realistic as they can be).

Here are my questions:

What would be the initial reaction of the people/society/goverment/religions?

What would be the impact on the society, at least in the very first years of this discovery?

I think that the people in general would be divided in two sides. One will condemn them (the more conservative people would seem them as unnatural beings) and the other would accept them (they are more open).

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Aify, JDługosz, James, Frostfyre, o.m. Aug 21 '15 at 5:27

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Whatever the reaction, wouldn't they see it coming? The outward presentation would be gamed to avoid problems and work to their advantage. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Aug 20 '15 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz Who exactly is seeing that coming? i mean apart of those who can predict the future, also i was talking about the very first years of the discovery of these kind of people. $\endgroup$ – B.J. A.A. Aug 20 '15 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ I really appreciate this these abilities keep to the laws of physics as closely as possible. $\endgroup$ – Green Aug 20 '15 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ The plot of X-Men. $\endgroup$ – Dan Smolinske Aug 20 '15 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ @DanSmolinske not quite, i mean they don't have physical powers, but i get your point. $\endgroup$ – B.J. A.A. Aug 20 '15 at 20:10
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Since these kids don't have any outward markers of their new mutations, they will be indistinguishable from really smart kids till they reach a large enough portion of the population that everyone seems smarter. Really, these gifted kids are indistinguishable from incredibly smart people.

Let's assume that these gifted individuals happen in 1 in 1,000 births then increasing to 1 in 500 births in ten years. This means that in the EU with a population of 503 million that in one year 503,000 babies were born with some kind of gift. The next year total gifted children will roughly double.

It will take at least 3 to 5 years to detect that this new trend has started in the population because it will take that long for babies to grow up and start displaying the trait. In a large secondary ed school (ages 12 to 18) of 5000 students, only 5 students will be this kind of gifted, 10 at the most.

Perhaps discovery of this new mutation could be by a neurologist who is exploring a group of extremely gifted children. After the initial discovery, other branches of science would pile in to figure out exactly why the mutation started in so many places at the same time or exactly how the brain's structure works to make the gift possible. Cheap genome sequencing will make it much less difficult/expensive to detect the cause.

Race Relations

If they are most prevalent in oppressed minorities, they may be singled out for oppression by those in the ruling majority because they appear to be a threat. Smart or leadership prone individuals in a minority are often singled out for oppression or execution. However, if these gifted individuals appear in the privileged class then they may be honored and revered for their "talent".

Given that this is an internal characteristic instead of an external characteristic, those with the mutation will be able to hide their ability if they choose. Further, they will share whatever racial characteristics their parents have. It follows that if their parents are oppressed then these gifted children will also be oppressed, perhaps more.

Religion

Most religions will probably proclaim it as a "Gift from God" and treat it accordingly. Other, hopefully minor, religions will proclaim certain gifts as evil and try to "pray the devil out of them" for those with the gift. Some sects may do the responsible thing and teach the Gifted to be responsible with their powers and use them for good.

Government Regulations

Not much can be done. These gifts are spontaneous mutations, so there's no law that can be written (if there is, those legislators need to get kicked out of office as quickly as possible) to forbid this children from being born or how they grow up.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't know what would tip off a researcher that this new mutation has started in the population. Cheap genome sequencing will make it much less difficult/expensive to detect the cause. I was thinking of this, and maybe the discovery was tipped off not by the research of genetics but more likely by neurologist, the study of really outstanding gifted individuals. also kudos for the great answer $\endgroup$ – B.J. A.A. Aug 20 '15 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ @B.J.A.A., discovery by a neurologist would certainly do it. $\endgroup$ – Green Aug 20 '15 at 20:07
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Actually in the beginning, I don't think there will be much of an impact. I (and many INTJ's) often can accurately predict outcomes of many actions. Most people just rack it up to "I happened to pick the correct out come and now I just want to say I told you so". Never believing that it was pretty freaking obvious it was the only outcome possible. So I expect while the predictors will likely be more successful, most will just put it down to being 'very smart'.

Same with empathetic people, there are some very good ones out there, and some might even be close to what you are envisioning.

Now when the group starts getting large enough to be noticeable as a group and not just a few talented individuals (add on top some science to prove it) then is when things will start to get interesting in the reactions of the non-talented.

We have no problem with an individual, they can be the 'hero' we would like to be or admire. Now it turns out to be a 'race' of 'them'? We have a 'us' vs. 'them' situation and the 'them' appear to be a better model likely to 'wipe us out'. They will be blamed for 'taking our jobs' and other BS.

Of course the ones who can 'predict' the future will likely see it coming and take some precautions, but not everyone will be so forward informed.

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  • $\begingroup$ " I (and many INTJ's) often can accurately predict outcomes of many actions" Yes, of course people can do that, but how fast? and how exact would be? i'm not talking about almost obsviously predictable (for them) or based on previous experiencies scenarios like a + b => c, and something more complex. $\endgroup$ – B.J. A.A. Aug 20 '15 at 17:55
  • $\begingroup$ @B.J.A.A. I understand your people will be much better at it than I, the point was I've done some very decent predictions and I'm usually treated as a lucky guess. $\endgroup$ – bowlturner Aug 20 '15 at 18:13
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Based on the question, it sounds like the number of these humans as a percentage of the populace is steadily increasing. This bodes poorly for your average humans, but ultimately sounds like a great thing for the human race (assuming these biological changes don’t bring about too many nasty side effects).

Of course, individuals rarely care about the good of the species ahead of their own well being and that of their close relatives. These new super-humans sound vaguely reminiscent of Limitless, though perhaps a bit less extreme. They’re likely to have a non-trivial advantage in life that may propel them above other humans in professional careers and anything else of a competitive mental nature. These are great foundations for prejudice.

The problem with prejudice in this scenario, however, is that it would likely require substantial medical testing to detect which people are enhanced. There are a great many people out there of gifted intellect, and societally we are adjusted to the idea that some people get a better attribute roll in life than others. Even if these super humans far exceed typical human geniuses, it wouldn’t be difficult for them to hide their intelligence if necessary.

With a steadily increasing number of people with these traits, you’re probably going to start seeing people in powerful or influential positions that are of the super-human variety. Once that starts to happen, a Gattaca type of societal structure may occur. When jobs are filled, companies want the most qualified and the most talented candidates. Just from the two enhancements you’ve described, you’re looking at people who will be much more effective than normal humans in many career sectors. If this branch of super-humans had begun in a different century, it would probably become natural for normal humans to simply end up in more physical jobs where mental ability matters less. Unfortunately, today automation of physical tasks is skyrocketing and shows no signs of abating.

With that dystopian (or utopian, depending on perspective) possibility aside, there is another interesting path. In the early years, with well-educated humans not necessarily distinguishable from super-humans attempting to hide their gift, the population might begin perceiving all high intelligence negatively. This could have some scary ramifications on technological and scientific progress.

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