The Future of the Human Species

Can’t resist pointing this out: apparently we’re all going to be either elves or goblins in 100,000 years time. It’s been suggested to me that this makes you wonder if the guy who did this study played a bit too much Dungeons & Dragons when he was younger. Equally, it makes you wonder if he shouldn’t be reading a bit more science fiction now. All science is speculative fiction when it comes to the far distant future of the human species, but this strikes me as a particularly dull, unimaginative version. Do we seriously think that 100,000 years from now (that’ll be, oh, about 333 times as far into the future as the very first industrial steam engines are now in the past) the most dramatic changes in humanity are going to be that half of us are tall, pretty and bright and the other half are squat, ugly and dim? My money’s on something a bit more drastic having happened by then. Maybe we’ll all be disembodied minds living in elaborate tin cans, or genetically over-engineered 250-year-olds with too much time on our hands, or spindly giants trotting around a terraformed Mars. Or extinct, of course. To be honest, if this really is what the best of us are going to look like in the future, extinction doesn’t seem such a totally bad idea.

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