Imagine a future in which a part of the world will be populated by super-technological Homo sapiens, who with their intelligence will control most of the planet. Elsewhere, underdeveloped and impoverished areas will be populated by a minority of “useless” sapiens, possessing our standard features. Is this a mere science-fiction scenario? Artificial intelligence, neuroscience, nanotechnology, and genetics are currently changing, with unprecedented speed, the relationship between man and nature. Although the future is unpredictable, our species will continue to rapidly evolve towards something completely different, never previously encountered in the entire history of humanity. These developments could even lead to the end of Homo sapiens. The author places Primo Levi’s fantastic tales at the centre of a similarly adventurous, ironic, and brilliant narrative detailing a new ecological niche in which we already dwell and our descendants will continue to live. We can only speculate, and perhaps worry, about the long-term consequences.
Gianfranco Pacchioni is a prorector of the Bicocca University in Milan, where he used to head the Material Sciences Department.