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Daryan Sankar

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Is evolution always biological?

Evolution occurs when a mutation is beneficial to survival right? Well with us humans, we have civilizations and surviving in our time means being educated and getting a job and making money. Well could the next stage of our evolution be us merging with technology to make us more efficient? Or on a scarier thought, could we create computers and robots that surpass us, take us all out, and those robots continuously build more robots that surpass the last in an exponential growth of inteligence?Could that be the future of human evolution?

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  • Jon Ho

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    Sep 17 2012: Ok bro, let me try this again. ;)

    The answer is still no, evolution is not always biological. First we need to define evolution, which is:
    1. The process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth and
    2. The gradual development of something, esp. from a simple to a more complex form

    Now, our Arcturian's plan for human evolution consist of:
    Stage 1 : Human Cyborg, Part Biological, Part Mechanical
    This stage is almost done. We have some humans all over the world using mechanical prosthesis.

    Stage 2 : Pure Mechanical Humans
    Fancy being Optimus Prime, Jazz, or Bumble Bee? In a few hundred years, you can!

    Stage 3 : Humans of Pure Energy or Consciousness
    To help humans discard all physical trappings and live as pure consciousness in the fifth dimension with us. ;)
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      Sep 17 2012: Ok when you said no i thought it meant that no you dont think that evolution can be artificial.. but then i read back my own question :p my mistake bro! hahaha. btw stage 3 sounds kinds scary hahaha
  • Sep 16 2012: Daryan, I am not qualified to continue into the topic deeper, but I just wanted to ask if changing thoughts and ideals affect biological evolution. Your question at the end mentions scientific revolution---it seems scientific is defined as material human discovery of knowledge and is not an actual part of material, physical changes. Also, its difficult to imagine the fact of changing thoughts or conclusions as revolutionary. Thought is not biological as you say; I agree.

    Keep thinking. Thoughts over the next many decades could astonish you if you are curious and are willing to act to find answers. Let us know if you find a way to merge biologic bodies with technology. Technology is broadly available, but merging with biologic evolution? Hard to imagine.

    What do others say?
  • Sep 16 2012: Daryan, could you include evolution of thought in your question? My answer would be no, if you include mind and experience. Evolution of thought apparently was involved in John Ho's responses below. Now, given changes in ideas and thought, I would ask you if these thought evolutionary details would affect biologic evolution?

    Thank you for the question.
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      Sep 16 2012: I think I see what you're saying, but i think that evolution of thought isnt biologic evolution. I think our brains physically have stayed the same but we learn to do things more efficient as time goes by. i believe it's been Revolutions in our ways of thinking rather than Evolution in our capability to think. but in those revolutions in our way of thinking, that could lead to our biologic bodies merging with technology which would then increase our ability to think and do things. Would you consider this artificial evolution of our species or just another scientific revolution.
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    Sep 16 2012: Technically, yes we could. It depends on how you define the evolutionary change that occurs.

    Darwinian evolution is based on "natural selection". Nature decides which mutations get selected. Man-made technology does not play a role in determining the mutation(s) that get selected as "beneficial to survival" using pure Darwinian evolution.

    But with an ability created by ourselves to "merge with technology to make us more efficient" as you stated in your question, we ourselves could influence our own course of evolution in the future using non-pure "natural" selection processes. We have reached the point where our own future evolution may not be strictly biological anymore, but rather a combination of biology/natural selection and technology changes to our own biological organism to become "more efficient". From that point on, if the "more efficient" organism is the one that survives to reproduce, while the "less efficient" organisms die off, we have a new definition (criteria) that is making the evolutionary selection.
  • Jon Ho

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    Sep 16 2012: No.

    Let's take for example, computer programming. Initially we did programming using punch cards. Soon we evolved to using computer languages called assembly. Next we evolved to using hybrids called third generation programming like C/C++, Pascal, etc. Fourth generation programming languages soon evolved out of that where the syntax is much more understandable. In the future, we will do programming with normal English.
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      Sep 16 2012: Yea bro I see where you're coming from, I been practicing VB.net for the past 5 months that's the only reason I could relate to your example haha, but i'm talking about acctual human beings not the programming languages we create. I'm saying could we "evolve" as a species by physically merging our bodies with technology to lets say...increased senses, higher mortality, faster thinking etc.? but thanks for your feed back man!
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    Sep 20 2012: No it does not have to be biological. Many believe that the "6th" sense or precognition is our next evolutionary step. I personally think that all precognition is being able to see the out come of different choices and then realizing the future if said choices are made.
  • Sep 17 2012: Does anyone else care about the English language any more? We had better. The language is changing so quickly that your grandchildren will not be able to read and understand your emails or TED contributions. And I mean this literally.

    This is completely an issue of the definition of the word. There is a simple criterion for defining words, and that is usefulness. "Evolution" and "evolve" are now being used in so many ways that the word is in danger of becoming useless. Personally, I would prefer to limit the word to biological, Darwinian evolution. Some people speak of chemical evolution as though it continues today, and I have no idea if they are referring to a natural or technological process. I have heard the word evolution applied to marketing concepts. Using words allegorically and metaphorically is common in English, and usually I have no problem with it. But today I think there are many people who use "evolve" and have no idea of its original, biological meaning.

    Everyone has the right to use any words in any way they want. I certainly do not want to put any limits on poets. But in our everyday discourse, and especially in conversations like these at TED, it would benefit everyone to have USEFUL definitions that we can all understand and use. I much prefer to discuss actual issues than going off on sidetracks about definitions.
    • Jon Ho

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      Sep 19 2012: EXCELLENT!

      Cultural evolution! ;)
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    Sep 17 2012: There are social , technological, chemical evolution as well....but yes this term is mostly used in biology....
  • Sep 17 2012: "Is evolution always biological?"

    The answer to that question really comes down to your definition of "evolution". All the artificial "enhancements" of humans you mention are possible and you could call that evolution if your definition of the word allows for artificially induced changes.
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    Sep 16 2012: http://www.npr.org/2011/11/29/142717081/physics-of-the-future-how-well-live-in-2100

    Above is one example of how we can start to merge our bodies with technology to make us more efficient. Contact lenses that can connect to the internet. At the moment this is obviously pretty far off but the idea is there. I'm not gunna act like i know a whole lot on the subject(because if i did i wouldnt be asking the question in the first place) but i'll be sure to do my research and findout whatever i can! But thanks for your input sir, i greatly appretiate it!
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    Sep 16 2012: This probably should of gone under questions instead of ideas :P My bad.