Rise of the cyborgs

By John Hewitt on January 14, 2013 at 7:31 am

Of all the powers that we have imagined for the cyborg, which do we most covet? Their ability to see and sense detail in the environment? The ability manipulate things with the dexterity and power of a machine? Or perhaps it would be to command vast amounts of information which can be processed at tremendous speed?

If you chose none of those, you chose as any cyborg likely would have. The cyborg’s greatest power, that from which it derives the most satisfaction (to use that term loosely), must be the ability to see itself. As humans, we are a mystery unto ourselves. If we were suddenly presented with one of our own organs from beneath our skin, before the panic set in, we would be taken by the awe and mystery that a mother must feel after the delivery of her child. To know the mass inside our skull will be to know ourselves — and to control what we might become.

How are we to do this when the little that we really know of the brain today has come only after its peril? Without sufficient foresight and precaution we probably won’t. If care is taken to preserve existing structure and function while mapping and expanding the brain according to the principles which construct it, the addition of machine components which might interact at the level of the perceived mind, may give us the power we have imagined for the cyborg. The best hope we have of maintaining the integrity of our existing neural structure in the face of the onslaught of new computing machinery, is to bridge the two with additional, nonessential wetware which we can afford to radically and perhaps reversibly, modify.

Read more: Rise of the cyborgs | ExtremeTech.

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