Oh, gosh. This week's vaguely scientific thought experiment posits that in a short 100,000 years, human beings will undergo drastic physiological changes like enlarged foreheads and eyeballs, effectively making us look like anime characters. Kawaii desu ne!
The rendering above is the result of a blog post by Nickolay Lamm, who enlisted the help of computational genomics researcher Dr. Alan Kwan of Washington University to produce "one set of possible changes to the human face in one possible timeline." Kwan writes:
As our understanding of the universe increases, I predict that the human head will trend larger to accommodate a larger brain. But instead of some orthogonal evolutionary path that ends up with the 210th century human a la Futurama's Morbo the anchor-alien, the rule of viable human biology will still apply and so the entire head will trend larger, though with a bias for a greater cranium growth than facial growth; the human 20,000 years from now would look to us like someone today except we would notice the forehead is subtly too large. [Source]
As for the Bratz eyes, the exercise imagines that "communications lenses will have replaced devices such as Google Glass," encouraging eye growth — though why the need for larger lenses is correlated with more computing power is beyond me. Furthermore, our skin will darken slightly due to "the damaging impact of much more harmful UV radiation outside of the Earth's protective ozone," because we'll all supposedly be floating around in space colonies.
It's probably best to treat the jarring facial renderings above with more than a healthy dose of skepticism. For starters, 100,000 years is an awfully short amount of time from an evolutionary standpoint: Our dorky human ancestor Au. sediba, for example, was trotting around the planet pigeon-toed just 2 million to 3 million years ago. And as science writer Matthew Herper at Forbes notes, existing research suggests that the human brain is actually shrinking as it streamlines and becomes more efficient.
Leonid Kruglyak, an evolutionary biologist at Princeton University, probably puts it best: "This is one person's unscientific guess of what humans might look like in the future; no more, no less."
But take heart, forlorn otakus! By the year 2045, we'll probably have our thoughts uploaded to Reddit or something, so you can digitally project yourself as a planet-saving Eva pilot or whatever from the warm comfort of your nutrient pod.
Lamm and Kwan's futuristic thought experiment was originally posted on My Voucher Codes, a U.K. website that aggregates coupon clippings.