Tuesday, January 1, 2013

NIC readies for transhuman future

Just under one month ago, the National Intelligence Council released a report that states, among other things, that individuals will be increasingly pitted against national states.

And many of these individuals may be augmented by transhuman means.

In the report, the NIC cites cybernetic limbs, prosthetics, implants, and powered exoskeletons as being the critical agents in security for future societies.  A great many of these developments can be seen right now in the current military of our own and other nations.  Exoskeleton suits enhance the natural strength of soldiers and help them to carry heavy loads.  By 2030, the NIC sees servicemen and women being given psychostimulants that will keep them sharp and awake for longer periods of time.  Imagine drugs that make you smarter, not dumber!  Implants will...well, geez, what won't implants let one do?

Cybernetic eye implants could give a soldier permanent night vision or even allow them to scan ranges of the spectrum that are invisible to the plain and wimpy human eye.  Additionally, one might be able to view their surroundings in a nigh permanent state of augmented reality.  Neural interfaces could allow for direct, cybernetic computer links that would allow for the processing and downloading of information faster than a meat human brain could even dare hope for achieving.  Additionally, neural implants could allow people to remotely control objects as is already being done with body prosthetics in a number of cases.  Exoskeletons will not only increase in complexity in terms of capability and battery life, but will allow humans to be both stronger and faster.  Or fly.  Imagine a suit of Iron Man armor that is not geek fantasy, but totally real.

As I have ever maintained, I am very excited about these advancements in transhumanism and cybernetics.  There is, however, cause for concern and a need to approach such developments with a certain even-handedness.  We don't know what the potential pitfalls are and you can bet that there will be certain unscrupulous individuals out there who will use this new and miraculous transhuman technology to nefarious ends.  That has been the story throughout history.  We can't always foresee exactly what might go wrong, but that does not mean we should not attempt to preclude such cases as much as we can.

By the same instance, this does not mean throw the baby out with the bathwater.  We must pursue this technology or at the very least be prepared to deal with it as a regular part of life.  The NIC report places this theoretical future as the year 2030.  That's only 18 years(!) away.  Think back to where you were and what the world was like 18 years ago.  Doesn't seem that distant, does it?

Be ready for the future is here...it just hasn't been evenly distributed yet.  The first chance I get to shed my human body, I'm taking it.

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1 comment:

  1. On a related note, check this out...http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/12/pentagon-prepare-mutant-future/


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