Blog: The merging of Humans and Technology
Humans and Technology, Nature and industry. 2 sides that seem to be fighting each other constantly. However now there seems to be an intersection, a point in which both can work in harmony. In this article, the merging between humans and technology will be discussed. How far it has come and how far it will take us, and whether our future will be utopian or dystopian.
The merging of humans and technology has already come pretty far, however in subtler ways than the typical cyborg-like ideas. Our smartphones can be perceived as an extension of our brain, they grant almost all the information known to man. Are an extension to your memory through photos and video. They even give you the added ability of long-distance communication (or short distance if you’re lazy). Less subtle examples include smartwatches, allowing you to observe your heart rate, as well as how many calories you’ve burnt, steps you’ve taken, etc. Furthermore, we now have more traditional ‘cyborg-like’ technology, such as prosthetics for missing limbs, exoskeletons to increase the strength of someone. However it’s almost certain that we will go much further with these technologies, and there’s lots of speculation as to how they could work, let’s look at some possibilities.
It is likely that our lives will be integrated more and more technologies, there are a couple of ways we could do this such as nanobots inside the body, which could detect certain anomalies in the body, such as sicknesses and diseases. You would then be alerted about this, such as through an app on your phone, then you would get a recommendation such as to go to a doctor, or later on the robots would be your own personal doctor and tell you exactly what was necessary.
Now let us look at something a bit more controversial: the editing of human genes. In November of 2018, a man named He Jiankui in Southern University of Science and Technology of China. Had claimed through a series of youtube videos to have created the first genetically edited human children, twin girls, Lulu and Nana. There were no scientific papers, only the youtube videos, and he claimed to have edited their DNA through CRISPR-Cas9. He claims to have done this to stop transmission of HIV from their father. This had caused lots of ethical controversies, with many saying that it was unnecessary, and us having the power to do so would be terrible. Stephen Hawking even feared this would happen, with him saying “some people won’t be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as the size of memory, resistance to disease and length of life … Once such superhumans appear, there are going to be significant political problems with the unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete.” This could cause a sort of ethnic cleansing, with only improved humans living on. There would be objectively superior humans on this earth, and some may attempt to rule over the lesser humans, as humans are so infamous for doing. Because of this, if the technology gets out of hand, it would cause major problems, and it should only be used for necessary situations.
Now to something a bit more theoretical: the thought experiment of “The link”. A device that could communicate with your brain, probably installed into your ear, which could then allow you to visualize things, look up things in seconds, and essentially have your phone in your head. Instant communication, all the information in your head, and being able to look at the mysteries of your brain, being able to see dreams and memories as an AR visualization in front of you. We have already gotten to the point where humans can control other things with their brains, such as the aforementioned prosthetic arms, with the ability to receive sensory feedback from the arm. We have also achieved brain to brain communication. Companies such as kernel, Facebook, and Elon musk’s Neuralink. Are attempting to create connections between the brain and the digital world. In fact, you can already read your own brain’s data, through devices such as the muse, neurosky, and emotiv.
In conclusion, we have already become cyborgs, with our phones acting as our third arm and giving us the ability of instant communication and access to information. However we still have a long way to go, and there will be many ethical controversies as already seen, if these technologies are able to truly come to fruition, then we must find a way to ensure that it is used for good. For the risks are far too great.