Poll Position: There can be only one … billion.

This week's Poll Position puts the fate of Homo Sapiens in your hands. Meaning we're all screwed.


Discussion after the jump.

One of the first things that occurred to me after thinking of this question was, "What happens to all the normals in the world once a major mutation takes hold?" So I'm going to have to bake that into my thinking on this one.

  • Dimensional travel: The potential for vast good and vast evil comes with this one. Someone could accidentally bring through a horrific virus that kills everyone, or some source of limitless energy that makes life a thousand times better. You never know what's lurking behind Door Number 3, which for me makes this one too scary to consider. But if you're more tolerant of risk than I am, this might usher in an incredibly cool set of changes.
  • Flight: Basically a harmless choice. It's not a threat to the non-flighted remnants of humanity, but also wouldn't really change all that much. It'd be neat, though.
  • Hyperintelligence: Like Dimensional Travel, this could either be great or disastrous, though not to the same degree. The thing is, there would still be variation among the hyperintelligent, so although normal humans would basically be relegated to the dustbin of history, once that's done the world would basically be like it is today, with people of varying degrees of intelligence all competing. Granted, the low end of the curve would be waaaay ahead of the high end of the current IQ distribution, but it doesn't seem like the fundamentals would change all that much.
  • Immortality: Talk about huge changes ... imagine billions of immortals all running around consuming. If they keep breeding, how long is it before the world basically fills up and can't support any more people? Of course it might be different if people could still be killed, if they're not invulnerable, just immortal assuming nothing actually slaughters them. Still, looking at eons to fill and learn instead of our current scant handful of decades would lead to some pretty radical changes.
  • Invulnerability: I imagine daredevils would be pretty much out of business. Still though, I kind of like the idea of kids who won't have to feel pain or wither away from disease. Imagine staying 100% healthy until you finally die of old age. Of course, being invulnerable doesn't mean people wouldn't still harm each other, it'd just be non-physical. I bet after a while, kind of like with hyperintelligence, things would average out and you'd end up with basically the same types of societies you have now.
  • Lie detection: Infallible lie detection ... wow. This is a subtle ability but, I think, in some ways the most profound possible change. Our culture is built on lies, from the little white ones we tell to smooth things over to the whoppers told to cover up crimes. It's hard for me to imagine a world full of people who could not lie to each other, and what changes that would wreak.
  • Polymorph (able to take different shapes): One hopes people wouldn't have to also be green, like Chameleon Boy. This would be a fun change, but ultimately sort of pointless, I think.
  • Super healing: People could still be hurt, still feel pain, but they'd heal super-fast, like Wolverine. Again I think you'd end up with a world similar to this one, only without the fear of disease or disfigurement. Which would be kind of neat.
  • Telepathy: Like lie detection on steroids. What kind of a society would result where you couldn't keep your thoughts to yourself? Absolute honesty would be just the beginning; I doubt we'd even recognize what such a world would look like.

So thinking about all of those facets, and knowing I'd have to live out the remainder of my life in a world filled with these next-generation humans, I'd probably have to choose ... telepathy. It would change the world the most dramatically, and (he thought optimistically) I'd like to see what we could do in a world where we were totally honest and open to each other.

Which would you choose, and why?

17 Responses to Poll Position: There can be only one … billion.