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Commercial Human Augmentation: Is It Happening Soon?

Looking at the history, many forms of modern technology have been inspired by video games. For instance, virtual reality, which you already know has started establishing its roots in the industry, not to mention the introduction of the state-of-the-art military equipment like exo-skeleton suits as well, all thanks to gaming.

Well, there’s that but another topic is brewing up and may become the most debatable forms of technology in the future, whose primary aim is to shape a better mankind. Well who knows? It has the potential to start a civil war to be frank! Let’s leave those debatable questions later, as for now we need to know where exactly we are today in the context of human augmentation.

Where human augmentation is today?

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So, far we have already seen a lot related to such type of futuristic technologies in movies and games like Deus: Ex. Maybe we are not so advanced to see those days yet but to be frank, they have been implemented already in various areas. Military soldiers having prosthetics, athletes using amputees, it’s all happening and evolving rapidly. Maybe by going through various examples, it might make us aware about certain things.

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One such good example is Oscar Pistorius, the ‘Blade Runner’, an ex-paralympics athelete. He is believed to be the ‘fastest man on earth without any legs’. The Paralympic champion made several attempts to register in non-disabled sprint competitions but the regulation committees denied him to do so. According to them, his amputated legs gave him an unfair advantage over non-disabled sprinters. According to the IAFF, his amputated limbs consumed 25% less energy as compared to non-disabled runners.

I hope, you must be familiar with BCIs (Brain Computer Interface) that implements the use of a neuro-chip inserted in the brain that enables a human to control objects just by thinking. For instance, Sam has a chip inserted on his brain. With the help of this chip, he can use his brain to operate a computer. Well, it’s just one specific use to be certain and to be frank; there are millions of possibilities that can be achieved with BCIs. Researches at Brown University, 3 years ago, invented the most evolutionary BCI chip ever. It’s implantable, wireless, highly durable and can be recharged as well.

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The university has reportedly showcased how paralyzed patients manage to feed themselves with their technology. Some companies like Blackrock Microsystems have been researching extensively to develop neural prosthetic technologies. Be happy to know that someday normal citizens might be able to avail neural prosthetics as well, thus imparting them with enhanced resonating abilities and thinking skills. Well, it might cost a fortune though.

Extensive research on retinal prostheses is ongoing too. Scientists at Germany have successfully managed to restore vision to various test-patients who were either blind or suffered from heavy optical nerve damage.

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To bring the concept of Deus Ex to actual reality, Eidos Montreal signed a contract with a robotic startup, Open Bionics. The company just recently revealed a prototype that was showcased in E3. The augmented arm which looks similar to that of Adam Jensen (protagonist, Mankind Divided) is a 3D-printed prototype, so as to make it more affordable for the general public.

With the Razer Stargazer streaming camera and motion sensors, people will be able to see a virtual demonstration of how their prosthetic hand would function in real life.

The primary goal of Open Bionics is create far more-affordable as well as reliable robotic prosthetics for the people. From the looks of it, we can clearly guess that it’s not long before we’ll be seeing their tech becoming popular in the market.

The future of world with human augmentation

Pessimistic people with their disabilities can be brought back to their active daily lives all thanks to augmentation techniques. The various fields of neuro genetic engineering can facilitate far more evolutionary and better forms of treatment thus extending the life-expectancies of individuals. People can have augmented reasoning abilities that would help them generate innovative ideas to shape a better world and tackle daily-life problems with ease. In short, we can become our own ‘gods’ in the future.

But as far as the human augmentation technology goes, most of the people won’t be able to afford human enhancements. Only people with adequate amount of resources will be able to afford them which will give them an unfair advantage over the normal people. This will probably result in an ethnic clash later leading to an all out civil war. Wrong people might want to set their hands on this technology leading to the formation of secret organizations and terror groups. To be frank, all these outcomes in such type of world have been depicted in the Deus Ex series. Well, these all are bound to happen because it’s completely evident for the dying thirst of people for power and oppression.

The way the concept of human augmentation has been progressing, it’s not possible to even ban the development and research on this field, all thanks to the positive outcomes it promises. Harmful diseases like various forms of cancer, physical disabilities, etc. can be effectively taken care of. The technology may even stimulate rapid development in third-world countries, if the governments manage to make human enhancements affordable as well as easily accessible to everyone. But that’s still a question for now. Hence, it’s a highly necessary advancement that humanity needs to adopt in the future, for it may guide us in our quest to create a better world.

So, considering these points, it’s evident that we are going to see its commercialization soon enough. The ethnic clash possibilities can only be ruled out if the commercial organizations and governments manage to take necessary precautions to stop those scenarios from even happening.


13565369_1023378934425548_995423539_nAbout The Author

Amlan Panigrahi is an avid tech and gaming enthusiast who is the Editor at Tech Legends. You would often find him hooked to his PC playing RPG games mostly. Apart from that he likes to watch snakes in his dreams.


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