Rich 'may evolve into separate species'
2009-10-30 0:00

By Amy Willis |

The super-rich may evolve into a separate species entirely in the future due to enhancements in biotechnology and robotic engineering, American futurologist Paul Saffo has said.

Mr Saffo, from San Francisco, says in the future people will be able to grow their own replacement organs, take specially tailored drugs, and use genetic research tools to alert them from any possible hereditary health dangers.

He adds that tomorrow's world will be a fusion of biology and technology, where robots do the chores, cars drive themselves and artificial limbs are better than real ones.

Mr Saffo's comments reflect claims by American scientist Ray Kurzweil who only a few months ago said immortality was only 20 years away due to the speed of advancements in nanotechnology.

But Mr Saffo says these improvements would only be affordable to the super-rich. And because of this, he says, advancements may lead to a divide between the classes and eventually could lead to the super-rich evolving into a different species entirely, leaving his not-so-rich counterpart behind.

"In the 1980s it was the personal computer - came out of the garage, changed the world. In the 1990s it was the web. The next big device to wander into our lives is robots,” he told the Sunday Times.

"We may find we are absolutely dependent upon these electronic insects and that we don't even know we are dependent upon them until something breaks.

"I sometimes wonder if the very rich can live, on average, 20 years longer than the poor. That's 20 more years of earning and saving. Think about wealth and power and the advantages that you pass on to your children."


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