Have you heard? NPG, the folks behind Nature, the scientific journal, have banned Homo sapiens from submitting to their magazine:
To the dismay of many (yet to the delight of a few), Nature Publishing Group announced today that its flagship journal, Nature, will no longer accept submissions from humans (Homo sapiens). The new policy, which has been under editorial consideration for many years, was sparked by a growing sentiment in the scientific community that the heuristics and biases inherent in human decision-making preclude them from conducting reliable science. In an ironic twist of fate, the species has impeached itself by thorough research on its own shortcomings.
The ban takes effect on 12 September and will apply to those who self-identify as human. Authors will be required to include, in addition to the usual declaration of competing financial interests, the names of all humans consulted in preparation of the submitted work. Other journals are likely to adopt a similar policy.
Of course, the above is all a bit of humor, but can you blame them? When you read the whole thing, it starts to make a lot of sense. Why are humans doing all the science? We’re faulty fleshbags, after all!
But the real question is this:
Will we ever see a future in which machines/robots/half-humans/non-humans do all of the science for us?
I suspect yes, but it probably won’t be in my lifetime. Non-humans have been playing a major role in science for a long time, but humans have always been needed to parse out the details. We have to do the interpretation. But our reign will be short lived. Eventually someone will invent an AI or robot or not-quite-human who can do roughly the same work — only better. That will be an interesting day, no?