Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This bionic life...

Evenin', everyone.
It's another day closer to the end of the world.  Let's get started, shall we?

I noticed that the BBC now has a page devoted solely to bionics and cybernetics.  While it might not be especially "new" news for researchers and followers in the field of transhumanism, I am simply pleased that such a major news outlet is devoting this kind of attention to the subject.  Of immediate interest is the interactive guide to building a human body through cybernetic parts.  I'm not just talking about arms and legs, either.  The guide includes truly innovative notions such as the bionic pancreas.  This is a hardware device that monitors blood sugar levels and then calculates the exact amount of insulin to inject to compensate.  No more guesswork.  There are also cybernetic pulse generators that send regular zaps of electricity into the brain, thus relieving the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.

Like I said, I spent a good deal of my time with the interactive bionic body builder but there are several other news stories on the page as well.  There is "A Day In the Life With My Bionic Body," the story of a 14 year-old boy who has both a bionic arm and a bionic leg.  A woman with no use of her right arm considers replacing it with a cybernetic one.  I do love the headline for that last story: "Cut Off My Hand?"  Well, it's not like the current one is doing her much good.  There's a bit about growing replacement skin and other organs for other people, an important and very transhuman step for medicine, but I am most captivated by the stories of research into wireless connection between bionics and the human nervous system.  In other words, allowing your thoughts to control your cybernetic implants.  A necessity to say the least if this sort of body augmentation is to become widespread and practical.

As is typical for any venue of the mass media, the BBC attempts to connect research like this to easily-digestible pop culture memes.  In this case of course it is The Six Million Dollar Man that gets the treatment.  I loved that show but could it really happen?

 "In physical terms, it's definitely feasible; in practical terms, I'd really question that, given the difficulties," an analyst with Intelligent Futures was quoted as saying.

Enhanced strength, hearing, and vision?  I don't see any reason why we could not eventually have those attributes but maybe I'm missing a bit of overlooked datum.  Thankfully, the focus of projects involving cybernetics and transhumanism has been on extending lifespan, renewing function, and alleviating pain.  Building "superhumans" isn't exactly a matter how much the detractors wish to kick, scream, and bully pulpit.

Ever noticed that the people who really go into conniptions over transhumanism are those with no medical disabilities?  Or perhaps even family members with those same said conditions?  And here I am, wanting to prevent it all from happening before I really begin heading downhill.

Is there a cybernetic solution for a broken heart and spirit?  If so, contact me.

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1 comment:

  1. On Facebook, Dr. Rich said: "Cyborgs are people too!"