Large green eyes suggest that human vision might be more cat-like.
Forget cyborgs — humans of the future might look more like Pokémon characters.
In 100,000 years, people might have larger heads, Google Glass type contact lenses and sideways-blinking oversized Disney eyes that glow green with cat-like night vision. At least, that is what two researchers say could happen in "one possible timeline."
"This is speculation based on reason," artist Nickolay Lamm told the Daily News. "When I designed it I wasn't thinking of anime, but I can see the resemblance. It's kind of a coincidence that that happened."
Lamm teamed up with computational geneticist Alan Kwan to envision a future where zygotic genome engineering technology develops to the point where humans will be able to control their own evolution the way we control electrons today.
Larger heads, the teams suggest, would accommodate larger brains.
"In this future," Kwan said, "humankind has wrested control of the human form from natural evolution and are able to bend human biology to human needs."
This ability, the team says in their report, could result in more facial features that humans find intrinsically attractive: strong lines, straight nose, intense eyes and perfect symmetry. But other changes will be driven by function, they suggest.
Kwan thinks that the human head might expand to accommodate a larger brain as our knowledge of the universe increases. This future human would appear to have a "subtly too large" forehead, he said, if we could ever live to see one.
They also "hazard a guess" that millennia of space colonization could also produce larger eyes to account for dimmer environments when humans live farther from the sun and darker skin in general to protect against UV radiation beyond the Earth's ozone.
Thicker eyelids and a more prominent superciliary arch, the bone above the eye socket, could offset the same kind of disorientation that today's astronauts sometimes feel aboard the International Space Station, they added.
But perhaps their most remarkable conjecture is that future humans could start to blink sideways like owls to "protect from cosmic ray effects," they added.
It is no surprise that humans 100,000 years could look remarkably different from contemporary humans. After all, our physiology differs significantly from our early modern human ancestors. But what is surprising is that anyone envisioned what these changes might be.
Matthew Herper, a science writer at Forbes, criticized the report for being "dreaming, not science," though he did admit that he finds it "conceptually cool."
"Lamm's vision is science fiction that belongs in the same category as the big-headed aliens from the first ‘Star Trek’ pilot," Lamm wrote.
Leonid Kruglyak, an evolutionary biologist at Princeton University, shared his thoughts on the experiment with the Daily News.
"In short, this is one person's unscientific guess of what humans might look like in the future; no more, no less."
Kwan and Lamm insist that their experiment was always intended to be more existential than scientific.
"I just tried to do this for fun," Lamm said. "This project was more for entertainment purposes."