Technological Singularity: I’m ready to be a Cyborg!

When most people hear the word “Cyborg” their minds fill with images of robots who look human, or the Terminator.  However, this isn’t entirely correct.  While the Terminator was living tissue over a metal endoskeleton, he was never a human to begin with, and had only mechanical parts.  A cyborg is actually a being with both biological and artificial parts, meaning that you are both human and robot/mechanical.  To most, the idea of a true cyborg in the sense that most of us think about is very far-fetched, but the reality is, it’s happening RIGHT NOW!

Recently, a Bionic Eye (actually a microchip placed into the back of the eye) was implanted into a human being, restoring a man’s sight after 10 years of blindness (link below).

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2138775/The-eye-borg-First-successful-implant-bionic-eye-restore-sight-blind.html

This is absolutely incredible, but only begins to skim the surface for what is happening in the realm of medical technology.  Amputees are being fitted with cybernetic arms which are controlled by the persons nervous system.  In the video below, you’ll see Jesse Sullivan.  Jesse suffered horrific burns in a work accident, costing him both of his arms, yet thanks to the advancements of modern robotics and medical science, he now has bionic arms which are controlled by his thoughts.  This is amazing!

And here’s another story with video about a shark attack survivor with a prosthetic bionic leg which has allowed him to have a more natural gait while walking, instead of the “dragging” which is common in normal prostheses.

http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2011/08/bionic-leg/

This all wonderful…but I’m ready for the next step.  I’m ready to see them combining stem cell research with cybernetic limbs.  What if you could implant a cybernetic heart holding stem cell and nanite technology combined with a full or partial positronic brain or postronic implant into the brain which would diagnose and repair any cellular damage within the human body.  Elimination of cancer cells, reconstruction and maintenance of damaged organs, fibers and tissue…and even cellular rejuvenation, potentially reversing aging effects and allowing for possible immortality.

While immortality may be a frightening and unwelcome premise for most people due to personal beliefs and feelings, there are some people, like myself, who would love to ride the rollercoaster of life for as long as we choose.  Sure, there are the downsides like watching everyone you know, friends and family members, die.  But once you’ve gotten past the premise of “everyone is supposed to die” you realize that the true evolution of our species will be figuring out how to live forever.  The arguments will arise over resource consumption and such, but realize this…if people have become bionic, most likely they have no need for sustenance, and if we can achieve that sort of technology, chances are great that we’ve moved beyond conventional non-renewable power sources and harnessed solar, wind and hydro power, along with creating alternative clean, safe and renewable energy sources.

Back to task at hand, becoming a full-fledged cyborg.  Imagine having the positronic brain, complete with neural downloading and uplink technology.  This would mean that not only could every person hold all of the collective knowledge of the KNOWN universe within each of their minds, but, should something happen to your body which may deemed irreparable, you could upload your mind to a neural net, and be downloaded into a completely new body.  This would be one mechanism which would allow humans to potentially live forever.  Along with the benefits of perfect health, super intelligence and strength…imagine not having to sleep or work anymore.

Now, for the social implications of what singularity might bring.  There seems to be an overwhelming concern that machines will overrun mankind, eventually turning on us and wiping us out.  However, this seems highly unlikely, as a machine, no matter how advanced and free-thinking it’s designed to be, if programmed with the 3 Laws of Robotics as stated by Isaac Asimov, and are programmed as “Read Only” and unable to be altered, no self-sustaining machine should be able to harm a human.  The 3 Laws of Robotics are as follows:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Now, with those out of the way, and a Mechanized Holocaust averted, we can focus on the real possibilities that singularity could bring.  Imagine a world of peace, enlightenment and understanding.  Where everyone is working together for betterment of each other and our world.  There would be no reason for wars, as the control of natural resources and religious persecution would become obsolete.  With everyone bearing the knowledge of the known universe, we would most likely finally reach a universal understanding of each other and the world around us and learn to live in harmony with not only each other, but nature as well.  It would allow us to focus all of our collective efforts, knowledge and individual research together for further exploration of the universe and potential terraforming and colonization of other planets.  Not to mention, inter-stellar and possibly inter-dimensional travel.  If you could travel the cosmos and experience not only our own Milky Way galaxy, but potentially the rest of the vast, uncharted universe…wouldn’t you want to?!?

There would be no illness, no diseases, no starvation, no sadness or depression, only people co-existing and helping each other advance.  Greed would essentially be wiped out by internal means once everyone possessed all universal knowledge together.  Not to mention, “working” in the sense that we are accustomed to, for someone else’s gain would become a thing of the past.  With the machines we could build and the intelligence supplied, most jobs would become completely automated, and there would be no need for any type of monetary system, as living could be provided at no cost based on that level of technology.  Some would argue that the human sense of “adventure” would disappear, but I disagree.  When you realized that the pettiness of human existence had deteriorated and there’s a great big universe for all of us to explore together, I would say the “adventure” has just begun.

This, however is just my theory on how complete singularity would benefit humanity.  Of course, it could backfire and lead to the overpowering of people, which would lead to us all destroying ourselves…but I just don’t see it playing out that way.  Feel free to comment and discuss below your ideas of what complete singularity would be like.  And for a fun reference of future speculation, I’ll leave you with one final website which I feel everyone should visit and read often, as it’s updated regularly to reflect actual happenings is Future Timeline.

http://www.futuretimeline.net

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