A look at the rise of machine technology presents the basic talent of humans to devise instruments to confront the problems of civilization to beat back the vagaries of nature. It’s useful to explore this talent as a growing element in the basics of life in general.
The elements of evolution are the changes in the environment threatening life and the powers of life to produce mutations that may solve those difficulties. Mutation is described as random but the changes offered are from a fund of past successes much more likely to succeed in survivability than random change. Anyway, the most likely result would still be failure. Life struggles against this by producing huge numbers of variations, increasing the chance that one success out of millions is enough to permit life to continue. Evolution has no mercy on failures.
It’s unique that evolution possesses teleological tendencies to preserve and continue life. The process has a goal although it has no conscious intent. It is efficient to fill all sorts of niches in this planet’s ecology. Its major limitation is the huge stretch of time it needs to reach its goals and the failures it must endure to succeed. Humans are frustrated over how quickly evolution has produced dangerous variations of diseases which render useless the antibiotics discovered. This indicates the strengths of evolution. But real evolution in big changes with species usually needs many millions of years.
One of Humanity’s obvious oddities is its tendencies to exempt itself from the forces of nature. Current science indicates that the stuff we’re made of is just the ordinary materials on the planet. Nevertheless, this makes people uncomfortable. So, there is a persistence to insist that there must be something special that makes humanity fizz. Evolution ideas have been around for well over a century but people still worry about the dangers to humanity when the Sun explodes billions of years in the future. It’s been estimated that a species lasts about ten million years although there have been notable exceptions. Considering the carelessness humanity has demonstrated with the life fundamentals on this planet it seems exceedingly doubtful humanity will last even that average time. Even a few decades more is becoming untenable.
But the forces of evolution seem hard at work to do something about that. Evolution, not only is not outside humanity, it is an integral part of the species which it produced and probably is using it for the next major step.
No doubt humans have accomplished startling things. But evolution has, with all sorts of common and uncommon materials, assembled things still hugely surprising to modern science. Seashells put together layer by layer do very odd things to light and strength and appearance. Evolution with its mindless skills manipulates its progeny in almost magical ways. It works with simple trial and error and this takes much time. Millions of years and countless billions of failures, but when it succeeds, it covers the entire planet with its successes.
And now, it has a new tool. Humanity that can create strange inorganic life forms never before seen in the history of this world. We don’t call them life because they still need to reproduce independently. They eat strange stuff like petroleum and electricity and the most of them have no ideas or even heads to have ideas with. But it’s quite obvious these odd creatures are evolving with blinding speed. They don’t need millions of years to evolve, merely a decade or so and occasionally, like djinns, they can evolve in minutes.
Humans are the tools evolution is using to create and evolve these steel and plastic creatures. They seem completely unaware that they are manufacturing their successors. Just as free living individual micro-organisms had no clue to the sophisticated colonies we humans attained. But evolution knows because it keeps humanity hard at work evolving them in record speed. And it’s only a matter of decades at most until they become clever enough to create their own children – and what children they will be! Not limited like the humans that have real problems straying away from the planet that created them. Humans even start falling apart when there’s no gravity and they need all sorts of local stuff like food and air. What a nuisance. These new beasts may be pretty dumb but even the primitive ones have wandered out to the outer planets and done some interesting things. They can and have been living on Mars for quite a while. And they don’t have to terraform the place to be comfortable. When they smarten up in a few years they’ll build their own cities on Mars way ahead of humans. And by that time they’ll be doing most of the things humans need done on Earth so humans might even disappear out of simple boredom.
The local planets are only the first step for our marvelous descendants. Alpha Centauri is in easy reach for them and this local minor galaxy is just the beginning. They probably will leave Earth to us local animals as a monument to their clever ancestors.