More than 20 years ago, photographer James Balog captured the verge of human evolution through a photography series called “Techno Sapiens“. He featured how people have integrated technology in their lives back in the ’90s. Today, mankind’s evolution has come a long way.
Over the course of human history, who would’ve thought you’d see artificial intelligence beat the greatest minds that walked the earth? Or how computers and other electronics have evolved in such a way that using them practically connects you to the rest of the world?
Humans have shifted and disrupted the way we live; in this brand new decade, here’s how mankind have technologically evolved so far.
If you’ve lived through the ’90s, voice commands might seem like a fever dream that’s too good to be true. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to be like in a sci-fi movie?
Smart devices just simply make life more convenient. Want to dim the lights? Ask your digital assistant to do so. Remain comfortable in your home without paying too much in heating bills by adding a smart thermostat to efficiently manage the temperature. It’s hard to even leave your house without your trusty smartphone—from calendars to maps, everything fits into one place.
From merely doing menial tasks to being solidly dependable, robotics has advanced to a level where it can do most, if not all, industrial tasks and jobs efficiently, effectively and without human supervision. The manufacturing industry was never the same again.
For example, tech pioneer Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors utilizes robotics to create their iconic electric vehicles. These vehicles aren’t just smart cars; they’ve been programmed to be almost capable of autonomous driving. The eccentric Musk predicts their company will have “robotaxis” on the road by this year.
On the other hand, collaborative robot manufacturers and other developers of assistive robotics have paved the way for increased efficiency and effectiveness in some industries due to the combined efforts of man and machine. One such example is the AIR-Cobot project (or Aircraft Inspection Enhanced by Smart & Collaborative Robot), which aims to help improve preflight maintenance checks through nondestructive testing.
It used to be that amputees and people who are mobility-impaired have simple prosthetics made for them. Now, through bionics, you can replace your missing limbs with robotics-enhanced prosthetics. Before, bionic limbs were simplistic. But with the technological advancements over the years, some of these prostheses can be programmed to interact with the nerve endings of the body. This lets people control their arms and legs akin to how they used to before.
UK-based Open Bionics have pioneered creating bionic appendages at a significantly reduced cost. This company has partnered with various organizations to help impaired children feel like superheroes when using their bionic limbs.
Beyond Homo sapiens
One theoretical (and controversial) future for the human evolution involves the augmentation of humans. Transhumanism, or H+, is a social belief that aims to eradicate the most common problem mankind has: mortality and the limitations of the human body. They expect that in the near future, you’ll be augmented with cybernetics to enhance the functions of our organs. They can range from infrared-sensing eyes or improved cognitive functions to improved mobility and augmented ability learning.
While this remains out of reach for all of the world, the advancements the world has achieved over the years are no small feats. When technology is the norm, should human beings evolve along with it? Would this be the peak of mankind’s integration of technology into their daily lives?