When the subject of Transhumanism and the transition into machines comes up in conversation, more often than not, the conversation is directed mainly at the transition (at least it ends up there). This is understandable, the topic of what we would be like is a little more difficult to conceptualize than the topic of how we become. But of course, nobody really knows the answer this, many can predict as Kurzweil does, but the answer fundamentally relies on how technology develops, which again relies on forces outside of the control of science. The Transition will take place at the whims of consumers and companies, indirectly dictating the course of technology based on the desires and needs of the consumer.
But even with these apparent uncontrollable forces, prediction is still possible, even in the sense of the desired path of research and development, if not the path of actual product. This is what I hope to explore in this post, examining the potential technologies which will be developed in the near future in preparation for the Transition, and perhaps exploring the technology and developments I, personally, hope to develop.
So how will the Transition begin in my view? It already started.
As explained my last post, I explored the concept of what humanity is, and I argued that Transhumanism had already begun in the way we use technology, and this argument is still relevant to this exploration. But more specifically, there are technologies coming out now which are far more related to this concept. Kevin Warwick has created hybrids of living tissue and robotics, using mice brain cells. He himself, has controlled an arm on the other side of the world by linking his nerves to a computer. All around the world, man is being integrated with machine to replace damaged body parts. The technology is here, and it is only a matter of years before robotics has reached such a stage that the new limbs and organs which currently replace damaged ones will be superior. This lands us squarely in the question of who would be willing to remove their own arm to be replaced by a superior robotic one? I would wager that many would, not necessarily straight away, but within a few years of the first voluntary replacement. This sets us down the round of acceptability, suddenly people around the western world would begin to consider replacing biological limbs and potentially organs with cybernetic ones, within less than half a decade, I wager it would be come relatively normal.
Running parallel to this, would be another development, that of integrating our brains with computers. As I argued before, our gadgets are almost part of us, if not physically connected. The development of technology to replaced certain brain functions is already underway, for medical purposes. Should brain damage occur, and a brain function is damaged, the medical implications of being able to replace said brain function with a computer chip (or similar) would be astounding. Of course, like the cybernetic limb situation, particularly if such a thing would allow the protection of memory, would become desirable.
Finally, the development of augmented reality. Google is set to release a pair of glasses which appear to use augmented reality, this is the first step down the road of such integration. I postulate that the development of bionic eyes, or a film to cover the eyes would be developed. This would integrate augmented reality directly into our vision, allowing us to connect with others, search the internet and send and receive files without ever lifting our hands. The technology would be integrated with our brain signals, removing the need to touch a button, and even if the artificial memory is not directly linked into our brain, we would be able to record information on a separate hard drive and replay certain pieces of information.
Of course, most of this is speculation, I intend to delve more into this later. Until then however, thank you for reading.