A new species of higher intelligence?

In his comment to my blog about man dividing into two breeds, and possibly two species ultimately (“Will we become two species?” 26 February), Arthur Cordell reminds us of the brilliant science fiction writer, Kurt Vonnegut and his book, Player Piano written 50 years ago. It was then just a glimpse of an amazingly prescient mind. Today, we know from scientific research that it has happened in the past. There’s no reason why it might not happen again.

In fact, 50 years ago there were four different breeds of man — Homo erecctus, Home Neanderthalensis, Homo Denisova and Homo Sapiens. There is but one now but that would be able to divide into two different breeds if the environment threw in a new factor to which only one of the breeds could respond abundantly.

Today, when a highly complex economic system is overlaying the natural environment a new selective factor might be coming to the fore — high educability or intelligence. The signs are, in the advanced countries, that this is becoming important and a division is already occurring.

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