What will humans look like in 100 years? | Juan Enriquez


Here’s a question that matters. [Is it ethical to evolve the human body?] Because we’re beginning to get all
the tools together to evolve ourselves. And we can evolve bacteria
and we can evolve plants and we can evolve animals, and we’re now reaching a point
where we really have to ask, is it really ethical
and do we want to evolve human beings? And as you’re thinking about that, let me talk about that
in the context of prosthetics, prosthetics past, present, future. So this is the iron hand that belonged to one of the German counts. Loved to fight, lost his arm
in one of these battles. No problem, he just made a suit of armor, put it on, perfect prosthetic. That’s where the concept
of ruling with an iron fist comes from. And of course these prosthetics
have been getting more and more useful, more and more modern. You can hold soft-boiled eggs. You can have all types of controls,
and as you’re thinking about that, there are wonderful people like Hugh Herr who have been building
absolutely extraordinary prosthetics. So the wonderful Aimee Mullins
will go out and say, how tall do I want to be tonight? Or Hugh will say what type of cliff
do I want to climb? Or does somebody want to run a marathon,
or does somebody want to ballroom dance? And as you adapt these things, the interesting thing about prosthetics
is they’ve been coming inside the body. So these external prosthetics
have now become artificial knees. They’ve become artificial hips. And then they’ve evolved further to become not just nice to have but essential to have. So when you’re talking
about a heart pacemaker as a prosthetic, you’re talking about something
that isn’t just, “I’m missing my leg,” it’s, “if I don’t have this, I can die.” And at that point, a prosthetic
becomes a symbiotic relationship with the human body. And four of the smartest people
that I’ve ever met — Ed Boyden, Hugh Herr,
Joe Jacobson, Bob Lander — are working on a Center
for Extreme Bionics. And the interesting thing
of what you’re seeing here is these prosthetics
now get integrated into the bone. They get integrated into the skin. They get integrated into the muscle. And one of the other sides of Ed is he’s been thinking
about how to connect the brain using light or other mechanisms directly to things like these prosthetics. And if you can do that, then you can begin changing
fundamental aspects of humanity. So how quickly you react to something
depends on the diameter of a nerve. And of course, if you have nerves
that are external or prosthetic, say with light or liquid metal, then you can increase that diameter and you could even increase it
theoretically to the point where, as long as you could see the muzzle flash,
you could step out of the way of a bullet. Those are the order of magnitude
of changes you’re talking about. This is a fourth
sort of level of prosthetics. These are Phonak hearing aids, and the reason
why these are so interesting is because they cross the threshold
from where prosthetics are something for somebody who is “disabled” and they become something
that somebody who is “normal” might want to actually have, because what this prosthetic does,
which is really interesting, is not only does it help you hear, you can focus your hearing, so it can hear the conversation
going on over there. You can have superhearing. You can have hearing in 360 degrees.
You can have white noise. You can record, and oh, by the way,
they also put a phone into this. So this functions as your hearing aid
and also as your phone. And at that point, somebody might actually
want to have a prosthetic voluntarily. All of these thousands
of loosely connected little pieces are coming together, and it’s about time we ask the question, how do we want to evolve human beings
over the next century or two? And for that we turn
to a great philosopher who was a very smart man
despite being a Yankee fan. (Laughter) And Yogi Berra used to say, of course,
that it’s very tough to make predictions, especially about the future. (Laughter) So instead of making a prediction
about the future to begin with, let’s take what’s happening in the present
with people like Tony Atala, who is redesigning 30-some-odd organs. And maybe the ultimate prosthetic
isn’t having something external, titanium. Maybe the ultimate prosthetic
is take your own gene code, remake your own body parts, because that’s a whole lot more effective
than any kind of a prosthetic. But while you’re at it, then you can take
the work of Craig Venter and Ham Smith. And one of the things
that we’ve been doing is trying to figure out
how to reprogram cells. And if you can reprogram a cell, then you can change the cells
in those organs. So if you can change
the cells in those organs, maybe you make those organs
more radiation-resistant. Maybe you make them absorb more oxygen. Maybe you make them more efficient to filter out stuff
that you don’t want in your body. And over the last few weeks,
George Church has been in the news a lot because he’s been talking about taking
one of these programmable cells and inserting an entire human genome into that cell. And once you can insert
an entire human genome into a cell, then you begin to ask the question, would you want
to enhance any of that genome? Do you want to enhance a human body? How would you want
to enhance a human body? Where is it ethical
to enhance a human body and where is it not ethical
to enhance a human body? And all of a sudden, what we’re doing is we’ve got this
multidimensional chess board where we can change
human genetics by using viruses to attack things like AIDS, or we can change the gene code
through gene therapy to do away with some hereditary diseases, or we can change the environment, and change the expression
of those genes in the epigenome and pass that on to the next generations. And all of a sudden,
it’s not just one little bit, it’s all these stacked little bits that allow you
to take little portions of it until all the portions coming together lead you to something
that’s very different. And a lot of people
are very scared by this stuff. And it does sound scary,
and there are risks to this stuff. So why in the world would you
ever want to do this stuff? Why would we really want
to alter the human body in a fundamental way? The answer lies in part with Lord Rees, astronomer royal of Great Britain. And one of his favorite sayings
is the universe is 100 percent malevolent. So what does that mean? It means if you take
any one of your bodies at random, drop it anywhere in the universe, drop it in space, you die. Drop it on the Sun, you die. Drop it on the surface
of Mercury, you die. Drop it near a supernova, you die. But fortunately, it’s only
about 80 percent effective. So as a great physicist once said, there’s these little
upstream eddies of biology that create order
in this rapid torrent of entropy. So as the universe dissipates energy, there’s these upstream eddies
that create biological order. Now, the problem with eddies is, they tend to disappear. They shift. They move in rivers. And because of that, when an eddy shifts, when the Earth becomes a snowball,
when the Earth becomes very hot, when the Earth gets hit by an asteroid,
when you have supervolcanoes, when you have solar flares, when you have potentially
extinction-level events like the next election — (Laughter) then all of a sudden,
you can have periodic extinctions. And by the way, that’s happened
five times on Earth, and therefore it is very likely that the human species on Earth
is going to go extinct someday. Not next week, not next month, maybe in November,
but maybe 10,000 years after that. As you’re thinking
of the consequence of that, if you believe that extinctions
are common and natural and normal and occur periodically, it becomes a moral imperative
to diversify our species. And it becomes a moral imperative because it’s going to be
really hard to live on Mars if we don’t fundamentally
modify the human body. Right? You go from one cell, mom and dad coming together
to make one cell, in a cascade to 10 trillion cells. We don’t know, if you change
the gravity substantially, if the same thing will happen
to create your body. We do know that if you expose
our bodies as they currently are to a lot of radiation, we will die. So as you’re thinking of that,
you have to really redesign things just to get to Mars. Forget about the moons
of Neptune or Jupiter. And to borrow from Nikolai Kardashev, let’s think about life
in a series of scales. So Life One civilization is a civilization that begins
to alter his or her looks. And we’ve been doing that
for thousands of years. You’ve got tummy tucks
and you’ve got this and you’ve got that. You alter your looks, and I’m told that not all of those alterations
take place for medical reasons. (Laughter) Seems odd. A Life Two civilization
is a different civilization. A Life Two civilization alters
fundamental aspects of the body. So you put human growth hormone in,
the person grows taller, or you put x in and the person
gets fatter or loses metabolism or does a whole series of things, but you’re altering the functions
in a fundamental way. To become an intrasolar civilization, we’re going to have to create
a Life Three civilization, and that looks very different
from what we’ve got here. Maybe you splice in
Deinococcus radiodurans so that the cells can resplice
after a lot of exposure to radiation. Maybe you breathe by having oxygen
flow through your blood instead of through your lungs. But you’re talking about
really radical redesigns, and one of the interesting things
that’s happened in the last decade is we’ve discovered
a whole lot of planets out there. And some of them may be Earth-like. The problem is, if we ever
want to get to these planets, the fastest human objects — Juno and Voyager
and the rest of this stuff — take tens of thousands of years to get from here
to the nearest solar system. So if you want to start exploring
beaches somewhere else, or you want to see two-sun sunsets, then you’re talking
about something that is very different, because you have to change
the timescale and the body of humans in ways which may be
absolutely unrecognizable. And that’s a Life Four civilization. Now, we can’t even begin
to imagine what that might look like, but we’re beginning to get glimpses of instruments that might
take us even that far. And let me give you two examples. So this is the wonderful Floyd Romesberg, and one of the things
that Floyd’s been doing is he’s been playing
with the basic chemistry of life. So all life on this planet
is made in ATCGs, the four letters of DNA. All bacteria, all plants,
all animals, all humans, all cows, everything else. And what Floyd did is he changed out
two of those base pairs, so it’s ATXY. And that means that you now have
a parallel system to make life, to make babies, to reproduce, to evolve, that doesn’t mate
with most things on Earth or in fact maybe with nothing on Earth. Maybe you make plants
that are immune to all bacteria. Maybe you make plants
that are immune to all viruses. But why is that so interesting? It means that we
are not a unique solution. It means you can create
alternate chemistries to us that could be chemistries
adaptable to a very different planet that could create life and heredity. The second experiment, or the other implication
of this experiment, is that all of you, all life
is based on 20 amino acids. If you don’t substitute two amino acids, if you don’t say ATXY,
if you say ATCG + XY, then you go from
20 building blocks to 172, and all of a sudden you’ve got
172 building blocks of amino acids to build life-forms
in very different shapes. The second experiment to think about
is a really weird experiment that’s been taking place in China. So this guy has been transplanting
hundreds of mouse heads. Right? And why is that an interesting experiment? Well, think of the first
heart transplants. One of the things they used to do is they used to bring in
the wife or the daughter of the donor so the donee could tell the doctors, “Do you recognize this person?
Do you love this person? Do you feel anything for this person?” We laugh about that today. We laugh because we know
the heart is a muscle, but for hundreds of thousands of years,
or tens of thousands of years, “I gave her my heart.
She took my heart. She broke my heart.” We thought this was emotion and we thought maybe emotions
were transplanted with the heart. Nope. So how about the brain? Two possible outcomes to this experiment. If you can get a mouse that is functional, then you can see, is the new brain a blank slate? And boy, does that have implications. Second option: the new mouse recognizes Minnie Mouse. The new mouse
remembers what it’s afraid of, remembers how to navigate the maze, and if that is true, then you can transplant
memory and consciousness. And then the really
interesting question is, if you can transplant this,
is the only input-output mechanism this down here? Or could you transplant
that consciousness into something that would be very different, that would last in space, that would last
tens of thousands of years, that would be a completely redesigned body that could hold consciousness
for a long, long period of time? And let’s come back to the first question: Why would you ever want to do that? Well, I’ll tell you why. Because this is the ultimate selfie. (Laughter) This is taken from six billion miles away, and that’s Earth. And that’s all of us. And if that little thing goes,
all of humanity goes. And the reason you want
to alter the human body is because you eventually
want a picture that says, that’s us, and that’s us, and that’s us, because that’s the way humanity
survives long-term extinction. And that’s the reason why it turns out it’s actually unethical
not to evolve the human body even though it can be scary,
even though it can be challenging, but it’s what’s going
to allow us to explore, live and get to places
we can’t even dream of today, but which our great-great-great-great-
grandchildren might someday. Thank you very much. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “What will humans look like in 100 years? | Juan Enriquez”

  1. The ethical imperative is for humans to stop their own cruelty, exploitation, destruction, toxification and destruction. That's primary. All this stuff is vanity and arrogance to me.

  2. humans will look green due to chlorophyll in their cells which give them rid of eating food and made them autotrophic by introducing photosynthetic genes in them.

  3. if there is an evolution that big in human society it wont work cuz it would make a small amount of ppl superior to others, the others will either go to war to the elite or be enslaved~ thats how human works

  4. The question is, why should we keep humanity going? Why would it be unethical to "let" ourselves die?

  5. All living things are fantastic electro-chemical machines to begin with. If and when we become better mechanics than evolution, and can make better machines, we should do it. As long as upgrades are available to everyone, there is no question of ethics, other than things like rules for sports, etc.

  6. Functionality of our natural body can be still attested with man-made bodily structure in order to enhance human body and or may be entire gene can be changed. it's just amazing to know, but will it really help the growing human structure change or it will demolish the long lasting existence of original humanir on earth? Big Question

  7. but what if we're starting to become a kind of cancer in the universe and so we are destroying it. Is that all a good idea?

  8. I know I'm late but…
    If we start modifying our genes in the future how will babes be born?
    Will people still be able to have kids of their own?

  9. There is no moral imperative for continuance and therefore evolving.
    Also, science has now shown the heart to be much more than a pump and contains the second highest concentration of neurons after the brain.
    His logic is flawed and his bias is obvious.

  10. Before I watch this, I'm going to preemptively state, "The same as they looked one hundred years ago, only with smartest phones and arguably stupider clothes".

  11. around 14 minutes things got very interesting. I'm going to be up all night thinking about this now.

  12. 10:10 "maybe you breath by having oxygen flow through your blood instead of your lungs"
    Wait I thought oxygen was already filtered and passed through the entire body through the blood.

  13. Am I the only one also impressed by the slideshow quality? The design is really good, most TED talks are simply accompanied by everyday PowerPoints…

  14. The game halo is pro transhumanism (the genetic and technological enhancement of humans, forced evolution). The spartan project was the result of enhancing the human genome to create super soldiers. Giving the children the traits of being very tall, having highly effective muscles per volume, so their muscles are stronger per inch than your muscle, and they have a lot more of it. Denser bones less prone to breakage from combat, and more capable of carrying their enhanced size and weight. Slower aging (life span can exceed 500 years if we modify the pituitary gland's hormonal excretion to continue at the same rate beyond age 25), zero genetic diseases, Faster reflexes, higher intelligence, faster blood clotting and healing, much stronger natural immunity. That was all from genetic modification. Even without the billion dollar combat suit, a spartan soldier from halo could likely kill just about any human being alive today with their bare hands rather easily. Due to multiple factors. If that project were to create about 1000 humans with those base traits from different ethnic backgrounds and set them up on the world to breed, mankind would evolve almost overnight. Into freaking Gods compared to what we are now.

  15. There is two ways to talk about ethics here. There is not ethics without a creator…so why bother? Or If there is a creator, then this is entirely unethical. The non predictable future of humanity is not an ethical reason to tamper with biology's code now. All manner of evil can come from playing with the foundation of a skyscraper. I find it funny people talking about ethics, then go ahead and do whatever they feel like because HUMANITY MIGHT DIE!!!! So it's now ethical!!! Give us your money and let's put a rocket engine on your bicycle. Ridiculous.

  16. this is really cool because it implys that we could eventually enhance a human brain with a computer or grow a computer out of brain matter. then we could quite possibly comunicate with each other in all sorts of unimaginable new ways. very intresting

  17. For this to take place we need to evolve into new economic system because capitalism is not suited for this kind of thinking. We need to open source technology and create a global government to at least think about these phenomena.

  18. The benefit of this idea (to be able to exist for a long period of time) seems very brilliant, beautiful and golden. But the way they do it, I believe, will always be gore.

  19. reading youtube comments is such a waste of time… and humans still exist, wow, what an annoying species we are, arent we

  20. Self-improvement is part of our DNA. People use plastic surgery and make-up. At one point, the genetic modification or prosthetics will be as same as make-up or plastic surgery.

  21. "thats us, thats us, thats also us…" suddenly I understand why Ego did what he did in Guardians of Galaxy….

  22. Entiendo a la perfección las altas miras que mi compatriota tiene sobre este tema pero me parece que es algo que tiene miras lejanas en un planeta donde nuestra civilización es gobernada por mentes del tamaño de Trump, Putin, May, Kim Jong, Maduro y cuanta escoria quiera sumarle a la lista , por eso aunque desde ese ángulo puedo compartir a la perfección su perspectiva me parece errado y que se sale completamente de una realidad social con la que vivimos día a día , de ahí que me parezca más que pertinente las monstruosas y dantescas advertencias que pensadores de la talla de Harari hacen respecto a estos temas ya que esta charla engloba a la perfección lo que el bautizo como " dataista genetico " de la nueva religión global , sueña bonito y súper cool pero se nos olvida que con dar un simple flashazo' al pasado , apenas un parpadeo que cosas así aniquilaron a millones de seres sintientes y eso es algo que no menciona Enríquez y si Harari que el primer paso de esta revolución irónicamente a lo que pueda tener en mente traera como consecuencia la mayor diferenciación de castas jamás vista en la historia del ser humano…¿ cuántos millones sufrirán si es parte del ' proceso ' mismo ? …acaso esas mentes nivel 4 kardashevianas que propone…¿ algún día sentirán el dolor y humillación de los que perecieron en su pasado ? …

  23. Ok we can alter the human body for space exploration but how long til that human body isn't even human anymore.

  24. Ok I was really enjoying this until politics were thrown into it why can’t we just enjoy learning what new things this great people have found it’s sad really I was going through these videos to show students until politics were thrown into it “the next election 🙄come on these people have excellent minds why ruin it with throwing in there digs that think just because the room giggles they agree with the way they view politics I should of none better to even subscribe the thing is I n a lot of people want to look at these videos from these people with phenomenal minds n not have politics thrown into them n not all these speakers have done it just a few I just wish they would stick to what there good at

  25. This topic is called PHENOTYPE REVOLUTION. We may be approaching it and malevolent groups will definitely be interested.

  26. I am surprised/disappointed with the fact all information he talked about here is pretty like common knowledge…I looking for more breakthrough and disruptive ideas!

  27. He know's what we will look like. And he also know's that evolution isn't an option it's already in play. Sacrificing this form for that form to exist is where it becomes unethical. You know the conciousness doesn't transfer currently that's why Google and Facebook do analysis on us all. Just remember, we were drafted and never would have volunteered knowing how great and unethical the sacrifice.

  28. When you can't trust your government, Pharma and all kinds of other things, why in the world would ANYONE trust this kind of altercation? People should have freedom to 'self'….but not over babies. They should have to be 25 and over because the brain is not fully formed until that time. Let them make their own decision. To any pro there is a CON and most times that CON is way worse than the 'pro'. This stuff is very, very dangerous and that is a fact.

  29. I love the ideas, the ethical questions he brings up, and interesting perspective he brings to it… I say it's generally ethical, within careful boundaries… but I would caution against the danger of "the greater good". There are many terribly evil things that could be done in the name of preserving humanity for its own sake*, and not for the individual's sake — so I like that he takes the latter perspective in his talk.

    *[Read C.S. Lewis's "Out of the Silent Planet" for an interesting story about this]

  30. Current human biology is highly flawed, and we are subject to hundreds of vile diseases. "Prayer" has never healed anybody, nor relieved any person's suffering. Only Medical Science has done that. Nor do we need to rely on Nature for improvements; we have science: James Watson, (Watson & Crick),: "If we don't play God, who will?" We already have it: We have Artificial Intelligence in the form of digital computers that can process information thousands of times faster than any human, but even more important, our conventional silicon microchip computing is being far outstripped by the new Quantum Computers. Artificial brains are today, are already far superior to any human brain. Artificial Intelligence not only solves problems, but with lightning speed they now do their own learning! They do their own research, and come up with new questions never thought of before by humans. A self-enhancing process has been set in motion, that will not only benefit Humanity with tremendous new tools, but this new technology promises to transform human existence altogether: Throughout the millennia, fragile and defective human biology has been the main source of human suffering. Humans want healing, they want the paid to stop! In the near future, (is already taking place), there will be a seamless marriage between human bio-genetics, and human micro-technology. Today we wear our technology; tomorrow, technology will more likely wear us. By far, the biggest problem Humans have faced for centuries, has been the human vulnerability to disease. We want to live longer, better, healthier, and pain-free. We need to either destroy all disease, or re-design our faulty biology and make ourselves immune from all sickness. These two scientific goals will soon be focused together. It is only a matter of time before the sciences of Bio-genetics, and Bionic-Microelectronics come together to create a totally new Human Race!

  31. The narcissism of human beings knows absolutely no bounds. It's unclear to me what is so much greater about a human than every other living thing on this planet that we not only need to consume and destroy the entire world but we should then CARRY ON on another planet or in other systems in space! People are just not all that great. What would be so bad about just letting them go extinct and what gives them the audacity to imagine solar systems are now there for their conquest and consumption! People are pretty awful characters. Under the best of conditions they treat each other, meh . . .for almost every human on earth life is brutal, painful and miserable and then you die an agonizing death..Tbis white, ivy league, special person talks about human life like its all fun and games. Only for the one percent, pal. Trees and sheep and birds are much finer life forms. I say we drink the kool aid and get out of the way of the rest of the natural world.

    By the way this guy is no saint he's an angel investor looking to make a huge financial killing, he's not a philosopher or a humanitarian so not sure why everyone is gaga over his talks which are primarily sales pitches which are intended to bring in investors and promote his projects. Is anyone paying attention?.

  32. Doll body needed for space / IS-BE body/https://alieninterview.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/cropped-AI-BLOG-THEME-BANNER-2015.jpg

  33. Nature always wants/ensures that change, change, change and rapid exponential change always takes place in this multiverse. Biological orders ( humans on the earth are the epitome in this solar system) can bring rapid exponential changes in this multiverse when compared with a simple dead matter. So the matter, soul, living beings – non living beings, ethics, morality, purpose of life becomes obsolete if you take the larger picture and understand this nature…

  34. Perhaps we are those aliens 👽
    Our future selves- modified – advanced
    Or they are separate beings more advanced than us & they’ve already went down the path of advanced tech, AI, robotics, altered genetics, etc 🤔

  35. I love this talk- very interesting info 🤔
    I believe we will advance- there’s no stopping progression of the future. The thing we can do is do it carefully- with proper regulations. Best case scenario.

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