Cyborgs and Enhancement Technology
Received: 12 October 2016 / Revised: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 2 January 2017 / Published: 16 January 2017
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As we move deeper into the twenty-first century there is a major trend to enhance the body with “cyborg technology”. In fact, due to medical necessity, there are currently millions of people worldwide equipped with prosthetic devices to restore lost functions, and there
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As we move deeper into the twenty-first century there is a major trend to enhance the body with “cyborg technology”. In fact, due to medical necessity, there are currently millions of people worldwide equipped with prosthetic devices to restore lost functions, and there is a growing DIY movement to self-enhance the body to create new senses or to enhance current senses to “beyond normal” levels of performance. From prosthetic limbs, artificial heart pacers and defibrillators, implants creating brain–computer interfaces, cochlear implants, retinal prosthesis, magnets as implants, exoskeletons, and a host of other enhancement technologies, the human body is becoming more mechanical and computational and thus less biological. This trend will continue to accelerate as the body becomes transformed into an information processing technology, which ultimately will challenge one’s sense of identity and what it means to be human. This paper reviews “cyborg enhancement technologies”, with an emphasis placed on technological enhancements to the brain and the creation of new senses—the benefits of which may allow information to be directly implanted into the brain, memories to be edited, wireless brain-to-brain (i.e., thought-to-thought) communication, and a broad range of sensory information to be explored and experienced. The paper concludes with musings on the future direction of cyborgs and the meaning and implications of becoming more cyborg and less human in an age of rapid advances in the design and use of computing technologies.