Will humans merge with machines and become cyborgs? Yes, next question.
Ok I’ll elaborate a bit. A human being is the most adaptable entity we know of. Despite this, there are tasks that machines are better at. Granted they are nowhere near as versatile and they don’t have the vast amount of reasoning and cognitive power that humans have, but in specific tasks, machines are overtaking humans.
We already use artificial parts in our bodies. People get hip replacements, prosthetic limbs and hearing aids all the time. As computers get smaller and cheaper it makes sense that this information technology will make it into our artificial parts right? Just last week the FDA approved the first mentally controlled artificial arm called the DEKA.
Scientists are also learning how our brain functions and how to directly connect the mind to machines.
It seems likely that this process will continue and we will see these artificial body parts rapidly get better until they surpass human abilities. So what happens then?
- It is possible that certain classes of jobs will require cyborg implants.
- People who are enhanced are going to be different from people who aren’t. Will this create a different species of humans?
- Can this technology be used to read our minds? Not yet, but there seems to be no real reason why it can’t eventually be done.
- If we can get information out of our brains, can we put it back in? Could this be used to experience a type of virtual reality?
I used to teach a class on Virtual Reality so I have had quite a bit of time to think about it. In my opinion, the most accurate representation of VR in hollywood is the movie Matrix.
I don’t think we will be inserting big spikes into our heads but the idea that reality is just our brain interpreting electrical signals is exactly right. If a computer can perfectly simulate these signals then our brain would have no way to tell the difference from reality and simulation.
This merging of man and machine has already started. The implications of this is something our children will have to figure out.
So, in this type of world, do you really think we will still teach children like this?
Perhaps we will just download what we want to know?