How Humans Are Shaping Our Own Evolution

Like other species, we are the products of millions of years of adaptation. Now we're taking matters into our own hands.

When I met the cyborg Neil Harbisson, in Barcelona, he looked like any local hipster, except for the black antenna arching impressively from the back of his skull over his mop of blond hair.

It was December, and Harbisson, 34, was wearing a zippered gray shirt under a black peacoat, with narrow gray pants. Born in Belfast and raised in Spain, he has a rare condition called achromatopsia; he cannot perceive color. His antenna, which ends in a fiber-optic sensor that hovers right above his eyes, has changed that.

Harbisson never felt that living in a black-and-white world was a disability. “I see longer distances. Also I memorize shapes more easily because color doesn’t distract me,” he told me, in his careful, neutral English.

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