By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood
Timeline Story

Homo Sapiens: Transcendent Intelligence Emerges

Homo Sapiens: Transcendent Intelligence Emerges

When: 315,000 BCE
Absolute Years From Now: -315000
Story Reference Date: 06/20/2021
12,600 Generations Ago

The first humans evolved in Africa about 315,000 BCE. These first humans had most of the traits we identify as human including looking and thinking much as we do. They used brain power, innovation, and teamwork. They spoke and controlled fire. Their lives were complex. Over the next 250,000 years they evolved into us. By about 150,000 BCE our current capabilities were mostly evolved. Today’s humans have essentially the same DNA as humans from circa 60,000 BCE.

With the emergence of Homo sapiens, and likely neanderthals too, the landscape of consciousness witnessed the dawn of Transcendent Intelligence (TI)—a level of cognitive and cultural sophistication unmatched in the natural world. This era marked not just by the development of complex languages and profound knowledge systems but also by the capacity to engage in the active transmission of culture, art, and technology. Homo sapiens harnessed TI to shape their environment, conceive of the abstract and the future, and create societies with intricate social norms and belief systems. Similarly, Neanderthals, with their own complex behaviors and potential symbolic practices, may have approached the cusp of TI, suggesting a broader capacity within the genus Homo for such advanced cognitive achievements. As modern AI systems begin to mirror aspects of TI in information processing and communication, they reflect humanity’s ongoing quest to understand and replicate the depths of its own intelligence. However, the quintessential human experiences of consciousness, emotion, and cultural identity remain unparalleled, highlighting the profound mystery of human cognition and its evolution over millennia.


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