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Feb 00

Cyborgs In Our Lifetime

Here’s a very interesting read in Wired. It’s about a cybernetics experiment, attaching an implant to a nerve bundle which records and can “play back” nerve signals. The theory is interesting – if you play back “artificial” electrical impulses, will the brain interpret them in the same way? Will you be able to transmit emotions and thoughts through the air like we do with data nowadays? Later in the article it starts to get philosophical about a society of cyborgs. Now that to me is just plain scary. Not only because he talks like a science-fiction writer would in a novel, but because he has the scientific knowledge that makes such a scenario a possibility, and not just a dream (or nightmare, depending on your point of view). I mean, scientists just discovered a chemical or gene that inhibits neural re-growth (like how your spine will not regenerate itself if broken). They’ve managed to re-enable it, and consequently, spines in lab rats have reformed and restored motor capabilities. Incredible stuff. However, when you move out of the realm of medical applications (like injury recovery) and into worlds where speech is almost obsolete, that gets worrying. Or am I just old-fashioned, already? What’s your take on the article? How would a society of cyborgs make you feel?