What Will the Human Face Look Like in 100,000 Years?

You can’t tell a lot about the distant future, but educated guesses can take you a long way. This was the thinking behind a project undertaken by artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm with help from Dr. Alan Kwan, who has a doctorate in computational genomics from Washington University. These wellness experts set out to answer the question: What do you think the human face might look like in 100,000 years and why?


Lamm and Kwan took the reasoning that, with our advanced genetic engineering technology, this may make more of an impact on human wellbeing over time, and take over the role that has so far been played by natural selection. From this reasoning, Lamm created a series of images that he believes will resemble something of the average human in 20,000 years, 60,000 years and 100,000 years time. Although the man and women used for the project are both Caucasian, Lamm was quick to point out that you shouldn’t read too much into that, as the decision to use these models simply came down to the fact that they were the best he could find.


20,000 years: From an image of a man and woman today, Lamm moves onto one that takes place in 20,000 years time. Although the couple is the same, their faces show a few minor changes. To accommodate larger brains, their heads are a little bit bigger. Lamm has also included yellow lenses on the models to indicate special lenses that act kind of like Google Glass does today, but in a much more powerful way.


60,000 years: Jumping forward another 40,000 years, the 60,000-year image shows the beginning of major changes. Not only are the heads even larger than the previous image, but the eyes have also grown. According to Lamm, this is based on the idea that humans have colonised the solar system in 60,000 years time, and are now living further away from the sun. This means that there’s less light, and so your skin pigmentation would change, but also your eyelids would become thicker as you’re outside the Earth’s protective ozone layer, and would need more protection against UV rays.


100,000 years: It’s at this point in our future that Lamm predicts big changes. The most shocking thing is that he predicts big Japanese Manga-style eyes that may feature ‘eye-shine enhance low-light vision and even a sideways blink from re-constituted plica semilunaris,’ offering extra protection against cosmic rays. Lamm believes the future human will follow the “golden ratio proportions” of a perfectly symmetrical face from left to right, as well as having larger nostrils to enhance off-planet environmental wellness. Denser hair is also predicted in the future, as this can help to contain heat loss from their even larger heads.


Michael Graham Richard, editor of TreeHugger’s Science & Technology and the Cars & Transportation categories, comments, ‘I would say that the timeline is probably too long. We’re already starting to have the ability to modify ourselves, so if we ever decide to do so (it’s probably a question of “when” rather than “if”), it probably won’t take thousands of years. Just in the past 100 years, we’ve gone from barely having mastered powered flight with the Wright Brothers to landing space probes on almost all planets and moons of the solar system, from Morse code telegraphs to a worldwide communication network made up of billions of electronic devices, each of which is more powerful than the supercomputers of a few decades ago…The human race’s capabilities in 50 years should be even more impressive to us today than today’s tech would be for someone from 50 years ago — and that’s saying something.’

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