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H. G. Wells's own sketch of the Man of Tomorrow drawn as an autograph

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In 1893, H. G. Wells wrote an obscure little article called "The Man of the Year Million" in which he speculated about what the human race of the year 1,000,000 AD would look like.

It's not a very pretty picture.  According to Wells, the development of man's technology has meant that he relies less and less on his body and more and more on his brain.  Wells argued that just as the invention of the knife and fork has made the human jaw redundant when it comes to tearing and ripping food apart, eventually technology will produce machines that will take care of all of the chewing and digesting of food so that the human digestive system will be literally as simple as that of an intestinal parasite that soaks up its food by sitting in a bath of nutrients.

All the modern conveniences, motorised transportation, and the like will mean that legs, torsos, and practically all muscles will become useless and will wither away until our descendents become little more than huge brains that walk about (when they do walk) on their hands.

And it doesn't stop there.  Working on the principle that what can't be exploited is a competitor, Wells asserted that once man figures out how to recreate photosynthesis in the laboratory, then all plants and animals and even the microbes on the Earth will become pointless or a threat and will be eradicated in their turn until man is the only creature left on a dead world.

It isn't a very cosy place, the world of 1,000,000 AD.  In keeping with the best science of the day, Wells foresaw a planet that is cooling slowly and relentlessly until the human race is forced to retreat underground after the receding warmth of the Earth's core.  While the surface is a lifeless expanse of ice, the cities of our descendants live in reveal,

(A) dome of pure crystal across the translucent surface of which flushes of the most glorious and pure prismatic colours pass and fade and change.  In the centre of this transparent chameleon-tinted dome is a circular basin filled with some clear, mobile amber liquid, and in this plunge and float strange beings.  Are they birds?

They are the descendants of man-- at dinner.  Watch them as they hop on their hands-- a method of progression advocated by Bjrnsen-- about the pure white marble floor.  Great hands they have, enormous brains, soft, liquid, soulful eyes.  Their whole muscular system, their legs, their abdomens, are shriveled to nothing, a dangling degraded pendant to their minds.

If this is a condition that can only be bought at the price of giving up all pork chops and walks in the woods, I'll hold on to the chops and the trees, thank you.

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