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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our Future is Now

The potentials of our cybernetic future are endless and unfathomable. Our technology has been developing at an alarming rate since the advent of computers. When I first read William Gibson's Neuromancer trilogy in my early 20s, it finally hit me what we were all heading towards.

While we are probably very far away from being able to download our memories into a black box as some characters do in Neuromancer, we have been accomplishing major feats with cybernetics. Scientists have given amputees new arms that move by the wills of their new owners while others are experimenting by implanting cybernetic devices in their own bodies.

One such scientist is Kevin Warwick, a Professor of Cybernetics at Reading University who apparently became the world's first cyborg back in 1998. His case is exciting, alarming and even romantic.

An article about Warwick was just published recently on Motherboard - I highly recommend you watch the related video. In Warwick's wrist is implanted a device that allows him to control various things around him with the flick of his fingers from simple lights to setting off the alarms in his building. This mini-documentary becomes even more interesting when it begins to describe the purpose of his wife's similar implant. What was to be a study in human empathy cum sympathy, has turned out to have erotic and romantic nuances. Warwick and his wife's candid description of their experience with their mutual robotic implants is extremely endearing...and makes anyone even remotely interested in sex start to consider the possibilities of this magical device.

Even today I am blindingly intrigued by what we may be capable of doing in the not-too-distant future. The sheer amount of science fiction stories exploring the possibilities shows that I'm not alone. Nor am I alone in my exploring what negative consequences may come about with such advances.

I wonder what the future holds (it's no wonder I'm working on this project with Dan and Jason)! More interesting cyber-links to come as I find them!

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