The recent film “Transcendence” starring Johnny Depp, explores the idea of transhumanism; improving on the human condition through the symbiosis of human flesh and technology.
Don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers here in case you haven’t seen it, as we haven’t either.
But from the trailer we can glean that Johnny Depp’s character’s consciousness being transferred into a computer doesn’t work out well, turning evil, spreading across the world hurting people. But that’s kind of to be expected in a big Hollywood thriller, not many people would care to see the movie where his consciousness is happy to stay put on their home PC, blissfully wiling away it’s time merely controlling the air conditioning and mood lighting of the house; even though he would be controlling it like a total boss!
So we thought we’d focus on some more practical aspects of transhumanism and what it could mean for your future. While right now you may scoff at the idea of altering the sheer perfection that is your very own self; but eventually that resolve will fade and you’ll look at your paltry memory banks and your need to quote verbatim whole episodes of dialogue from The Big Bang Theory and realise you need an upgrade.
Right now the terms computer and virus are pretty synonymous with each other, much like humans and viruses. But whereas computer viruses only target computers and biological viruses only target living tissue, with transcendence this won’t always be the case.
While the phrase I’m pretty tired my batteries are running low is currently only a metaphor, it won’t be in the future! Unless they find a way to use our metabolised energy to power bionic enhancements, batteries will most likely have to be relied upon. But for many right now battery life is one of the most frustrating aspects of portable devices, most specifically smartphones, which due to their constant use just can’t keep up.
Sure battery technology is constantly improving, but something like a bionic arm will suck up a lot of juice. How many times a day would you have to charge it? There won’t be anything sadder than when everyone goes up for a high five and all you can do is mumble;
“Sorry I can’t, I’ve got my arm on power saver mode, that high five is non-critical to operations.”
When your new transhuman components crash it won’t be called a blue screen of death, it’ll be called a black screen of death because you’ll be performing an alt-crtl-del on a processor, which is inside your head and running some pretty important processes, like your heart. You’d have to be pretty confident in technology to be the guinea pig in this experiment, I don’t even trust my smartphone to be able to make calls every time, so I’m not sure I’d trust it’s offspring to process my thoughts.
People love to play pranks on each other, and as our bodies become more sophisticated, so too will the pranks. Not many will be able to turn down the prospect of hacking into their friends bionic limb and giving them a funny walk or making their overly macho friend skip gaily wherever they go.
One note to future technologists though, if you want to keep people efforts away from hacking into other’s implants, then halt any development into implants for the bowel right now, as it is just too tempting for the mischievous among humanity.
The question of where should we focus our attention first is a big one, while work has already been done in regard to robotic hand and foot replacements, it could still be a while before they get to other aspects of the body. However if email spam is any way to gauge what is the most burning issue of our existence, then one of the first improvements will have to be made on men’s downstairs. Women often credit men with having a tiny brain down there, and in the future that could be true in the form of a tiny micro-processor.
Even though a lot of advancements will be made with technology to help those suffering from illnesses or disfigurement, there will also be a cosmetic market to enhance performance. But being released from the constraints of your genes and the requirement to put in hard work to acquire knowledge will make for a slippery slope for anyone with disposable cash in their bionic hip pocket.
Just think in the future, people won’t just be envying your new flying Ferrari, but also your bicep 3000 actuators and assplant XT. While these might seem like warranted enhancements to us now, in a future where we won’t need to squat or curl anything because robots will be doing everything, it will be purely cosmetic, but still your PBs will be off the charts.
While the technology still isn’t at the point where we can stick an extra bit of memory in your computer, it is at the point where we can stick an extra bit of memory in your computer, so to see what’s available check out the SuperGeek Shop.