Sir David Attenborough says the future is going to totally suck

Illustration for article titled Sir David Attenborough says the future is going to totally suck

Speaking to Radio Times, he also said that China's one child policy wasn't a terrible idea, and that humanity has essentially stopped evolving.


As the Guardian reports, Sir David Attenborough, the famous broadcaster and naturalist, is becoming increasingly outspoken. Earlier this year he described humans as a "plague on Earth." Now he's saying that humans have stopped evolving physically and genetically on account of birth control and abortion; he's basically saying that we've put a halt to natural selection. At the same time, however, he believes that cultural evolution is proceeding with "extraordinary swiftness."

Looking to the future, he says "things are only going to get worse." From the Guardian:

I don't think we are going to become extinct. We're very clever and extremely resourceful – and we will find ways of preserving ourselves, of that I'm sure. But whether our lives will be as rich as they are now is another question.

We may reduce in numbers; that would actually be a help, though the chances of it happening within the next century is very small. I should think it's impossible, in fact.

...I think that in another 100 years people will look back at a world that was less crowded, full of natural wonders, and healthier.

He also told Radio Times about his qualified support for China's one-child policy, saying that "it's produced all kinds of personal tragedies," but that without it there "would be several million more mouths in the world today than there are now."


Personally, I think the greatest threats to humanity comes in the form of existential and catastrophic risks like deliberately engineered pandemics, out-of-control AI, and nanotechnology. Sustainability and population issues don't seem intractable to me, especially given the tremendous potential for renewable energy sources like solar.


And as for humanity not evolving — well, it's true that natural selection barely applies (aside from all the sexual selection that's still going on), but we're about to enter into the transhuman era where we will individually and deliberately re-engineer ourselves using a combination of nanotechnology, biotechnologies, information technologies, and cognitive science.


Our current biological state is just the beginning.

Read the entire article at the Guardian.

Image: The Wildlife Trust for Sheffield and Rotherham.


Faux Rich

I never ever thought I'd disagree with something that Sir David Attenborough says, but saying that "humans have stopped evolving physically and genetically" strikes me as quite uninformed scientifically (stupid, really).

Our genetic makeup and diversity are ever changing, as are those of the other species who we interact with and many of whom live in our bodies. Further, this has probably been accelerated by increasing inter-marriage and the globalization of the last century or so.

Respectfully, but bad on ya Sir David.

PS: on the other hand, he's probably right about the outcome and our future.