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Using Technology to Enhance Humans

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the now-entering-transhuman-space dept.

Sci-Fi 293

Roland Piquepaille writes "It's a well-known fact that technology can improve our lives. For example, we can reach anyone and anywhere with our cellphones. And people who can't walk after an accident now can have smart prosthesis to help them. But what about designing our children on a computer or having a chip inside our brain to answer our email messages? Are we ready for such a future? In 'Robo-quandary,' the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that many researchers are working on the subject. And as a professor of neuroscience said, "We can grow neurons on silicone plates; we can make the blind see; the deaf hear; we can read minds." So will all we become cyborgs one day?"

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293 comments

Are they really improvements? (4, Insightful)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108685)

For example, we can reach anyone and anywhere with our cellphones
Depends how you define an "improvement."

Goatse! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19108843)

Guy Opening Anus To Show Everyone [goatse.ch]

You know you love it!

Re:Goatse! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109479)

Well, all these years later, I for one, still think this joke is funny... Now imagine the future malware that infects someone's cranial implant with a synthetic experience that makes them experience goatse in a way that is indistinguishable from really being there? or better yet, experience being goatse, bending over by the mirror, feeling the gapingness, and shoving things up there. If firewall tech is anything like it is today, I think I'll pass on the implants. But the possibilities for pushing people over the edge are tantalizing in the cybernetic future.

Re:Are they really improvements? (2)

AoMoe (1095449) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108847)

I would have to agree. There have been technological advantages that have made life more convenient, but has also made life less convenient. Where we have become to depend on the technology. However, there have been improvements to the quality of our live. Have we become the slaves to technology?

Oh good (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108883)

Oh great, here comes the "The next fucker who interrupts my evening out by yammering on their cellphone..." flame war.

Re:Oh good (4, Funny)

Miseph (979059) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109453)

Well, I don't know about the next one, but I saw on the 11 o' clock news earlier that the last one is currently listed as being in stable condition.

Star Trek linked to pedophilia? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109059)

This has very little to do with the article, but the L.A. Times recently published an article regarding the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit [torontopolice.on.ca] that focused on their fight against child pornography ("Sifting Clues to an Unsmiling Girl" [pqarchiver.com] ). They are the law enforcement organization that photoshopped the victims out of child porn photos in order to get the public's assistance in identifying the backgrounds (it worked). In any case, the article had this amazing claim:

On one wall is a "Star Trek" poster with investigators' faces substituted for the Starship Enterprise crew. But even that alludes to a dark fact of their work: All but one of the offenders they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core Trekkie.

Wow. All but one in four years. Seemed rather unlikely to me.

So, I called the Child Exploitation Section of the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit and spoke to Det. Ian Lamond, who was familiar with the Times article. He claims they were misquoted, or if that figure was given it was done so jokingly. Of course, even if the figure was given jokingly, shouldn't the Times reporter have clarified something that seems rather odd? Shouldn't her editors have questioned her sources?

Nevertheless, Det. Lamond does confirm that a majority of those arrested show "at least a passing interest in Star Trek, if not a strong interest." They've arrested well over one hundred people over the past four years and they can gauge this interest in Star Trek by the arrestees' "paraphenalia, books, videotapes and DVDs."

Det. Constable Warren Bulmer slips on a Klingon sash and shield they confiscated in a recent raid. "It has something to do with a fantasy world where mutants and monsters have power and where the usual rules don't apply," Bulmer reflects. "But beyond that, I can't really explain it."

I asked Det. Lamond if this wasn't simply a general interest in science fiction and fantasy, such as Star Wars or Harry Potter or similar. Paraphrasing his answer, he said, while there was sometimes other science fiction and fantasy paraphenalia, Star Trek was the most consistent and when he referred to a majority of the arrestees being Star Trek fans, it was Star Trek-specific.

Correction (4, Insightful)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109231)

We can reach anyone anywhere who wants to be contacted with our cellphones.

When you don't want to be contacted, turn it off. When someone you don't want contacting you calls, hit the ignore button, or ban them on your phone. It isn't that hard.

Re:Correction (3, Interesting)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109369)

Fair enough. However, when people know that you have a cellphone and you don't return their call within a reasonable amount of time (a day?), they know you're ignoring them. I intentionally tell friends/work that I don't have a cell phone, and I sometimes check my home voicemail. I return calls on my time, and people don't feel snubbed by my inaccessibility. Granted, I'm an academic and not many people can do this -- but many of my colleagues with cellphones envy me.

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109517)

However, when people know that you have a cellphone and you don't return their call within a reasonable amount of time (a day?), they know you're ignoring them.

Umm...

"The battery mysteriously died, so I thought it was fully charged and working when it wasn't. It was x days before I went to make a call, and found out."

"[provider] didn't cash my check (thru no fault of mine), and my caaount got suspended."

"Left it home before leaving for the weekend"

There you go, three quite plausible excuses, off the top of my head.

Re:Are they really improvements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109415)

"So will all we become cyborgs one day?"

And see the story below? and the Bill Gates Borg icon? Be afraid, very afraid...

Maybe it's just me, but for as much as I like computers and stuff, I don't want to have surgery, implants etc. All y'all can go ahead if you want. I'll wait this one out.

Cellphones (0, Offtopic)

Ice Wewe (936718) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108693)

For example, we can reach anyone and anywhere with our cellphones.

"Can you hear me now? No? How about now?"

Your Honor, I rest my case.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109025)

I couldn't agree more with you. My cell is useless while on the john.

Re:Cellphones (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109229)

"Can you hear me now? No? How about now?"
You live in the US, right?

communication (1, Troll)

froggero1 (848930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108699)

communication is a great thing, don't get me wrong... but who plans on being that important to justify being accesable 24/7 via a brain implant?

i don't have a mobile phone, and rarely is it the case that someone was trying to get ahold of me and couldn't... people can wait for me to return a message on the answering machine.

I think the source of this problem that researchers are trying to solve is the impatience that everyone seems to have nowadays...

Re:communication (4, Funny)

oculuses (862948) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108837)

...but who plans on being that important to justify being accesable 24/7 via a brain implant?
people can wait for me to return a message on the answering machine.
Do you mean say you're that important, other people should just wait for you? ;)

Re:communication (4, Funny)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108861)

True. Personally, I think I'd prefer slashdot if we had to write our posts long hand, and send them in by postal service.

Re:communication (2, Funny)

Stoutlimb (143245) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109047)

If you have a problem with that, just go into autistic mode.

Newb.

Re:communication (2, Funny)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109199)

but who plans on being that important to justify being accesable 24/7 via a brain implant?
I normally set mine to vibrate when someone calls. So, in ten years from now...

"Excuse me, sir, your head is shaking. Are you going to answer that?"

Pretty handy for answering incoming calls. However, pretty hard to carry on a live conversation with frothy bubbles spewing forth from your mouth. But, then again, I could always shave with it. I think I'm still undecided on this technology.

Re:communication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109373)

That isn't where the vibrator will be located

Re:communication (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109339)

I know several people who talk wear blue tooth headsets around with them everywhere.

They will start talking to someone who calls them without a word to you.

I think they could do with a brain implant.

Re:communication (2, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109357)

froggero1, you asked me about that high-paying coding job that you were so anxious to secure, and I was successful! The employer wanted to have a quick interview with you and with the other applicant, and he had a preference for you. But I couldn't reach you anywhere, and your answering machine is no help. Sorry, but the job is gone because the other applicant had a cell phone and was able to come.

(this is just an example, of course; my mentioning of "high-paying coding job" should be an obvious giveaway.)

Re:communication (5, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109387)

Don't think brain implant. It's a very crude method for a very advanced idea. When the time comes, the interface won't be physical (like in The Matrix). It'll be completely wireless. The technology/method behind this is called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcranial_magnetic _stimulation [wikipedia.org]

It's still very much in it's infancy, but this is the future of the human/silicon interface. No physical device to cause problems with biological systems. No need to "upgrade" the hardware in your head. And of course, it's not permanent.

I agree with your point that we shouldn't be accessible 24/7, but I also think that the next technological leap forward is going to be the result of increasing the data transfer rate between the brain and non-biological systems.

This question has been asked for ages (1)

Silverlancer (786390) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108707)

And its already been answered.

Yes, of course! [wikipedia.org] Its not complete without the robots [wikipedia.org] though.

And the answer was/will be: Resistence is Futile (1)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109065)

I could type a very long comment why it is/will be, but it has been said and written so many times before. Advancement is great, but if you start meddling with what makes us human, it doesn't matter how good, noble or ethically correct your intentions are. You will lose.

Better question: Will we remain human? (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108713)

Contact lenses, hearing aids, artificial limbs... tattoos, botox, piercings, breast augmentation... we've been modifying the crap out of ourselves ever since we invented clothing.

While I doubt we'll end up in some Ghost In The Shell - like world anytime soon, the urge to improve ourselves to the point of modification and beyond is a part of our own adaptability.

/P

Re:Better question: Will we remain human? (2, Funny)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108833)

Wake me up when I can get my eyes shined for a couple packs of Kool menthols.

Re:Better question: Will we remain human? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108971)

Eyes? Give it a couple of years.

Teeth? You can get that done right now ;)

/P

Re:Better question: Will we remain human? (1)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109411)

+1 Using Powers for Awesome.

I can still remember the glee I felt the first time someone checking out my eye colour asked "where'd you get those eyes?"

Re:Better question: Will we remain human? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19108915)

Define human.
On a biological basis the human genome represents the concept of humanity.
If you're talking about being able to perceive other spectra and ultra long-distance communication and maintaining the general shape but drastically altering physical details then 21st century man is far less human than his paleolithic forebears.

Re:Better question: Will we remain human? (1)

Zeussy (868062) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109501)

I don't know the submitter/article writter needs some kind of grammar chip implant:

" So will all we become cyborgs one day?"
Although, I doubt it will give you anything more than: "Fragment Consider Revising"

I'm using less technology these days (4, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108717)

I was a hardcore geek for a long time. I've been using less and less the last few years however due to personal choice and quality of life choices. The more technology we seem to use these days the less social we seem to become. Answer honestly, when was the last time you had a chat with your neighbor? Do you even know their names? In my sociology class less than 5% of the students could answer yes to that last question or remember the last conversation they had. In most countries it's normal to know those around you, to have a sense of community. Here in America we're becoming estranged from one another, not completely because of technology, but it's a large contributing factor. I'll pass on the transplants. I prefer the natural me. These all seem like breast implants for technology nerds anyway.

Re:I'm using less technology these days (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108897)

I'd attribute this more to urban lifestyle. Think it was different before the advent of the 'net?

In a village, everyone knows everyone. It's a small world and people know their neighbors, help them, gather together, whatever. Since the distance between villages also tend to be rather large, and mass transport usually is either nonexistant or laughable, kids also tend to form friendships in the neighborhood.

In larger towns, you usually have the luxury to choose your "neighborhood". You can pick your friends, simply because the pool is larger. The need to know your neighbor because, well, he's the most accessable person around, is not there.

Re:I'm using less technology these days (2, Insightful)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109473)

Growing up I spent some time in my grandma's village of about 20 houses. Of course those guys knew each other, what else were they going to do? It occured to me that they were like coworkers in this weird, geographically-induced corporation. Their work days were out in the fields, then they came home to the families.

And think about how many people you know at work-- they just don't happen to live next door.

Re:I'm using less technology these days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109039)

neighbor? what is this term? isn't everything here created by my chip-implant?
What? I seem to be replying to myself.

Re:I'm using less technology these days (4, Insightful)

lawaetf1 (613291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109127)

I have read that schizophrenics in less wealthy countries have a better prognosis than those in the US. One of the theorized reasons is that a stronger social fabric in the 2nd and 3rd world means a "crazy" person is still included in life in whatever ostracized way. "That's Uncle Yung, he talks to the palm trees a lot, it sure is funny." Here we lock them up and try to fix the issue on a molecular level (gross over generalization, I know). Ditto for a lot of depression and anxiety. What other country is so fascinated with yet removed from genuine "happiness" that we have written libraries about the subject and created an entirely new discipline - "positive psychology." Meanwhile the TV would have me believe that I can wake with a smile if I just throw down some ambien before I sleep.

Personally I think the borg issue is still more in the realm of philosophy than technology. Morbidity for cancer remains largely unchanged, half the nation is still eating itself to death, and leeches are still used in even the most advanced hospitals. Speech recognition is better but still clumsy and my brand-new Blackberry 7200c just rebooted tonight when I tried to delete an email. The world of tomorrow is today.

Re:I'm using less technology these days (2, Insightful)

rgaginol (950787) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109137)

These all seem like breast implants for technology nerds anyway.
You mean I can get a breast implant which is also a wireless network interface? Bring it on...

Seriously though, I foresee these kinds of things coming on (maybe not in the next 50 years though), but they'll be either completely external to the body (like a watch, mobile), or seamlessly integrated (like a pacemaker). No interface will be bought by consumers en-mass until it's aesthetically pleasing too - no one, except borg fetishists would want wires sticking out of them.

Being able to access search engines or things like maps at will is going to be too irritableness for most people. Think about the difference the Internet has made to the learning process for those who have it - no more heading to libraries for books which are loaned out. Similarly I'd imagine being able to access a news update like a normal memory would be a similar jump.

The big downside to this is it will further increase the divide between people who are plugged in and those who aren't. Further, any disassociation syndromes are only going to get worse - they'll probably even start bringing in health warnings and stuff like "no more then four hours a day of direct neural interface".

I guess all this just re-iterates the need for moderation... it's possible to have most of the latest gadgets now and also lead a normal life, so long as real contact with people is maintained. The same rules apply now as they will in 100 years time. That is unless the world is ruled by a neural super entity consciousness:)

Re:I'm using less technology these days (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109343)

"I guess all this just re-iterates the need for moderation..."

Yes, we all want moderated. But we always want it to be up.

Re:I'm using less technology these days (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109487)

except borg fetishists would want

Damn you! Now I have images of Jeri Ryan in my head. There goes the next hour of work!

Re:I'm using less technology these days (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109219)

"These all seem like breast implants for technology nerds anyway."

Tell that to me when your daughter is born blind or a boy is born autistic and there is no way for you to communicate to him, but with human augmentation we can make him healthy again or enable him to communicate directly with you via telepathic technology.

The next great advance will be the direct linking of human minds, imagine having access to a minds eye that you can both share when connected together, you can manipulate the data in the minds eye vis space of the other persons imagination and vice versa, it opens up a whole new level of personal and professional communication, not only that I have no doubt it would bring people closer together as they would have direct access to each others thoughts if they so allowed. IMHO, mankind in its current for is the reason war and poverty will never be wiped out, the are not constructed to be moral beings, they are for the most part tribal barbarians, who are stupid, inane, insipid, predatory and oppressively greedy.

Dont think so? In any economy the money supply is limited, so if you want to "eliminate poverty" then all you really need to do is redistribute the wealth from the top most to the bottom most. These facts never change, I laugh whenever I hear about "wiping out poverty" among countries like Canada and the US. The poor exist because of humans own barbaric and unethical nature, not because its impossible to achieve.

Re:I'm using less technology these days (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109447)

The next great advance will be the direct linking of human minds, imagine having access to a minds eye that you can both share when connected together, you can manipulate the data in the minds eye vis space of the other persons imagination and vice versa, it opens up a whole new level of personal and professional communication, not only that I have no doubt it would bring people closer together as they would have direct access to each others thoughts if they so allowed.

This will suck. Those who do will never know a moments peace, being connected to everyone else 24/7. And those who don't will feel or be 'left behind'.

In any economy the money supply is limited, so if you want to "eliminate poverty" then all you really need to do is redistribute the wealth from the top most to the bottom most.

Distribute 10 $10 million fortunes (a good size fortune) equally among the residents of a medium size city, and everyone gets $100. Whee! Now everyone is poor.
Nonsense. What you're saying is, the amount of 'money' is static. We have exactly the same amount of 'money' as we did in the 1920's. Or 1870's. Right.

Re:I'm using less technology these days (1)

Spikeles (972972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109461)

Tell that to me when your daughter is born blind or a boy is born autistic and there is no way for you to communicate to him, but with human augmentation we can make him healthy again or enable him to communicate directly with you via telepathic technology.
Ah, and this brings up the discussion on eugenics [wikipedia.org] . Should we improve the daughter or son so that they might live and be able to produce more offspring, that might also be genetically abnormal?

Of course, then comes the counter discussion on what is normal? What if that person who had the implants now becomes the forerunner of hyper intelligent people that provide insight into the mysteries of the universe?.. Stephen Hawkins is a perfect example.

I'm not going to say either is better, i don't really know enough about either to make a proper debate, but it is certainly an interesting discussion. Also, did you ever think that maybe the person preferred being blind? Or that the autistic boy likes being autistic?

These are large debates and decisions that must be made, and it seems that they will have to be made in our lifetime, and those decisions will not be easy to make.

Re:I'm using less technology these days (1)

rgaginol (950787) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109513)

If a person is born blind they can still speak. They can't see though, so this is where the future may hold a solution either biologically or cybernetically (or a cool combination of both). Autism is a different story in terms of a solution - from what little I know about Autism, that is a problem within the brain itself; the brain doesn't filter out unnecessary information leaving the afflicted individual shutting out everything except an absolute minimum. Most of the first cybernetic implants would probably treat the brain like a legacy module in an application (black box); a cybernetic solution to Autism would be equivalent to Aspect Orientated Programming for the brain: fixing a problem which goes across many different concerns, and is going to be a dogs breakfast to implement no matter what, let alone producing a solution for the masses. I guess this problem also exists for many types of blindness too - people who've had head trauma and cannot see may have perfect eyes, but if the parts of the brain which process images are stuffed then they're just as blind. So this kind of future will not be a one size fits all cybernetic repair module, at least not for a hell of a long time. But I agree that having these things out there as a choice will be better then not. Bring me one case on ethical questions about a parents right to modify a child and I'll bring you twenty cases of abusive parents. My point is that whilst modifying a child will have certain religious groups up in arms, nowadays even just having a parent genuinely interested in the welfare of their is probably better then your average bear. And besides, I want to modify my fetus to be able to play Eve Online with me - it's their right damnit. heh;)

Choice is great (4, Insightful)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109239)

We're no longer forced to socialize only with those in close proximity to me. I don't like my neighbours. I don't particularity want to socialize with them. They're fine people and I occasionally chat with them, but we have nothing in common aside from location, and they aren't terribly interesting.

Re:I'm using less technology these days (1)

manifoldronin (827401) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109363)

The more technology we seem to use these days the less social we seem to become. Answer honestly, when was the last time you had a chat with your neighbor? Do you even know their names?
But why does not knowing my neighbor's name make me less social? Why doesn't discussing on slashdot with people like you make me more social?

In other words, what makes my neighbor weigh more - way more - than those I interact with in the virtual world when it gets to deciding my "social karma"?

If technologies have enabled us to communicate with or without being face-to-face, shouldn't we also upgrade our definitions of "social" and "sense of community"?

First $6,000,000 Man reply (2, Funny)

Cheezymadman (1083175) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108721)

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better...stronger...faster."

Re:First $6,000,000 Man reply (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109097)

Bionic technology has followed Moore's law and has produced dramatic improvements over the 1970's six million dollar man. For roughly the same money, today's bionically rebuilt man can be given....

A PERSONALITY!

The first application (4, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108743)

will almost certainly involve adult entertainment.

Re:The first application (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108815)

If it's an implant, they can bypass all the naughty bits and just stimulate your happy-cells. Wire addicts will probably die within a week or two if the experiments with the mice are anything to go by.

Re:The first application (4, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108935)

Wire addicts will probably die within a week or two if the experiments with the mice are anything to go by
But they'll die happy

Re:The first application (2)

dj_tla (1048764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109249)

I think the most interesting part of transhumanism is life extension. Trying out new modifications is risky no doubt, but if I can upload my mind [wikipedia.org] before that, I might be a lot more cavalier in what I decide to do with my squishier vessel. It would bring me one step close to fulfilling my life-long dream of being able to save my game in real life.

Re:The first application (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109335)

It would bring me one step close to fulfilling my life-long dream of being able to save my game in real life.
Have you ever made a real-life mistake where your first instinct was "undo!"?

Re:The first application (1)

dj_tla (1048764) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109409)

I regret nothing! But, if I got the chance to play out certain situations over and over again, I totally would; see Groundhog Day [imdb.com] (do not see Click [imdb.com] )

Re:The first application (1, Offtopic)

yanyan (302849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108991)

I, for one, welcome our new technologically-enhanced cyborg pr0nstar overloards!

optional extra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19108751)

I hope they're working on growing a spam filter now, otherwise I doubt the trials will go well

Sex With Robots (2, Funny)

hexed_2050 (841538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108773)

Scientists are saying that in the future we will be able to have sex with robots. I tried that once. It was horrible. Right in the middle I had to call tech support.

the horrors of LoverBot tech support! (2, Funny)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108985)

{elevator music} [support]: Hello dearie {chewing gum sound} my name is Regina, {chewing gum sound} how may I help you?

[lonely geek]: Hello? Are you human?

[support]: Yes dearie, I am human...

[lonely geek]: Oh good, I'm speaking with a real techie girl! My LoverBot v6.2 beta just crashed in the middle of some awesome robolovin', and I can't get her rebooted. Can you help me?

[support]: {chewing gum sound} Have you tried plugging her in, givin' her some juice?

[lonely geek]: Oh yes, Lots!! but, for some reason she doesn't respond? Whats's going on???

[support]: ....I mean of the electricity kind...

[lonely geek]: oh yes, that too. But she won't start up!

[support]: haven't you tried readin' the manual?

[lonely geek]: You mean that damn phone book sized thing that came in the box? ...no...

[support]: Well, once you git 'round to readin' it', {chewing gum sound} give us a call, willya? Thanks... [CLICK, dead air...]

[lonely geek]: Noo!! Don't hang up on me, I only want to be carressed... that is all! Sigh, where's that manual?

Re:Sex With Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109401)

"I just found out that I'm being charged with assault."

"Why? What happened?"

"I was having sex with Phil Collins." ...

"Yeah, right in the middle of it, I realised I was having sex with Phil Collins." ... ..

"Oh, and then I just went berserk." .. give me robots any day..

eyeglasses (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108779)

Without artificial enhancement, my eyes can't focus on anything beyond 20 centimeters in front of my nose.


Now, what was that question, again?

Re:eyeglasses (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109311)

Good point. I suffer from the same, and am currently wearing my contacts. Like artificial prosthesis, ear implants, or even spinal implants, I think it's only a matter of time. Of course, I remember when the Jarvik heart came out, and it was pretty taboo back then, even more so than fiddling around with the brain - throughout human history, the heart was synonymous with the soul. However, when considering biotechnology procedures, I still think there's some undefined social barrier of tolerance or acceptance between what's necessary and what's convenient.

Re:eyeglasses (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109355)

Ten thousand years ago, people like you and me would be weeded out by predators or starvation. Now, the fitness function driving human evolution has changed. Spare a thought for the technology-blind among us, because within a hundred years they'll be as unable to comprehend the world around them as I am without my contact lenses... until and unless we develop mental prostheses, that is.

Lie Detector (1)

FredK (140786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108793)

If this tech should enable a perfect lie detector it raises some interesting questions.

Should it be required in criminal cases?
Required of those under suspicion of a criminal act?
In civil suits?
Of candidates applying for political office?
Could employers use it in connection with workplace security?
Etc., etc.

If it is noninvasive, easy, fast, and cheap, it it going to be difficult to draw the line.

Waste (1)

Ep0xi (1093943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108811)

Enhancing humans?
could it be a waste of time?
i hope someone who shows me a different meaning...
someone could get angry, but woman does not need any enhance,
just imagine a man with breasts,
other cases would be the enhance of my left eye which is almost blind

Who owns my head? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108871)

In theory, a nice idea. I mean, interfacing easier with the computer, all good and fine.

But when I look at today's systems and the surveillance surrounding them, who wants to tell me that whatever is plugged into my cranium is really "mine"? And the manufacturer doesn't think that he's still the one owning it?

We have operating systems that require you to let them phone home to see if you're no crook. We got content restricted with DRM (or DCE or whatever the buzzword of the week is). We even got corporations that don't even consider infecting your computer with a trojan to protect their precious.

And I should trust them with my thoughts? In today's society, I'd be wary with such an idea.

Re:Who owns my head? (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109029)


But when I look at today's systems and the surveillance surrounding them, who wants to tell me that whatever is plugged into my cranium is really "mine"? And the manufacturer doesn't think that he's still the one owning it?


1: The fucking United States of America. The first corporation to try and exert copyright control over thoughts will be the first one to have their corporate charter revoked. (Not to say that you won't be bugged, but if you're ok with that, you'll be fine.)

2: Christianity. Believe or not, fear of "the number of the beast" will draw a firm line on control of implants.

3: Democracy.

Re:Who owns my head? (1)

LionKimbro (200000) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109033)

If you own a house, it's only really at the "OK" of the government.

Actually, if you own "stuff" just generally, it's only really at the OK of the government.

We may think we own our bodies, but I doubt that we do. We can be induced to war and probably labor as well. We can certainly be plugged into a jail, and we know for certain it can happen unjustly.

Our cybernetic attachment to all the other people out there is a well established fact, as of at least a few millenia.

So, clearly, there should be no resistance to this safe little chip I'd like you to implant in your brain...

Re:Who owns my head? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109129)

Ultimately, I own my body. If I will so, I die. And you can stuff your chip where the sun won't shine.

Subsidized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19108919)

In the No Squishy Left Behind Act of 2043, all remaining "Squishies" will have their bodies replaced with synthetic material...unless we run out of money. Then you get an arm, or a leg, maybe a torso if you're lucky.

This is sort of scary (4, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108937)

Thinking about this in relation to the previous story, what will happen if MS or some other company has tons of patents on the technology that helps you? What happens when patents restrict innovations in that area? What happens if your prosthetic arm BSOD's and causes you to veer into oncoming traffic but the EULA you signed to wear it means you can't sue MS?

That's exaggerating what role MS might play, but the question is valid.

Re:This is sort of scary (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109145)

On a more disturbing note: what happens if your prosthetic arm gets a kernel corruption and begins trying to murder people? Then it might accidentally wipe itself before you get to court so the judge has no proof it wasn't your arm.

Erm.. I mean.. THIS COULD BE REALLY BAD AND WE SHOULDN'T DO IT. *cough*

You can add inches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19108965)

I keep getting emails all the time how I can add inches to my penis and enlarge my breasts.

We are The Borg. (5, Interesting)

Bragador (1036480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108969)

I dont' know about you but I find this thrilling. If you do not want such technology to "enhance" humans I don't care but don't stop me from improving my abilities.

I have always been fascinated by the notion of hive mind and I truly wish that one day, humans will have their brains connected to the net by wifi or something. Each time we have a question, instead of thinking we could access the net of minds. We could have one big hive mind with all of the knowledge or have a distributed system where the knowledge is distributed among our brains. Also, only the most advanced researchers could access the core to change the official knowledge database. We could always have a core that works like the current Wikipedia too. Who knows what's the best way to manage a hive mind?

I'm already answering tons of queries in my job thanks to Wikipedia and Google. I just wish we could go one step further...

Remember, folks... (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108981)

Tag 'boycottroland'

Enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109111)

The roland issue was covered over a year ago [slashdot.org] . Stop with this spam.

Re:Enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109427)

It most certainly was not resolved.

Roland still gets to plug his blog here where he cashes in on the stories he plagiarizes. Roland has been involved in at least one well-known scam involving items he helped spam on Slashdot using his blog submitted as a story and that is NEVER addressed here.

The only person who would call uncovering the truth about Roland 'spam' is either Roland himself or an ignorant idiot.

Will we all be cyborgs?? (2, Insightful)

madbawa (929673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19108993)

No. There will always be reformists and there will always be purists. I prefer to have technology outside my body, not inside. Thank you.

Re:Will we all be cyborgs?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109041)

At least until you need a pacemaker :-)

Pacemaker? (1)

madbawa (929673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109321)

Ronnie Coleman will require one when he's 60, just like one governator. Not me, I ain't into chemical bodybuilding. Natural is best. Screw with nature and nature will screw you. Now this'll get modded as off-topic, but hey, I'm just replyin to the good man above.

I'm not so sure (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109271)

The Amish can get away with it now, but I imagine there will come a time were depriving children of technology will be considered abuse.

Then you will be left behind, a subhuman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109359)

We've had only a few hundred years of tech development so far, and yet our technology already provides considerable body enhancement beyond what nature provided, not just outside but inside as well (pacemakers, hip replacements, dentures, grafts, and a hundred other items). Now think what will happen over a thousand years, or dozens of thousands. Natural humanity will be no longer.

You won't really have a choice. Either you embrace our evolution (which is in our hands now, not in the hands of nature), or you will be left behind, as an inferior subhuman species. Good luck.

"Because we can" isn't always the best answer (1)

tuvoky_wo (104742) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109023)

I'm a big fan of technology assisting our daily lives. However where do you draw the line? Technology is a multi-faceted tool of efficiency. When used correctly it can overcome disabilities. At the other end of the spectrum, technology can be used to kill. At neither of these spectrums is another option: control. Governments and corporations would love nothing more than to know what every person is doing at any time of the day. Once that happens, say goodbye to freedom of speech and privacy (if they haven't been taken already).

Ghost in the Shell (2, Insightful)

Parallax Blue (836836) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109051)

This reminds me of a popular Japanese anime movie called Ghost in the Shell, which already raised these questions. The setting is futuristic Japan, where many people are full cyborgs or have cybernetic implants. One of the central issues in the movie is the main character's struggle for an identity: She is fully cybernetic, with only something called a "ghost" to distinguish her from a robot. Throughout the movie, she asks herself if she is still human, The question is never fully resolved, and I think the director (Masamune Shirow) purposely made it that way.

While it is impossible right now, I believe that (unless there is an apocalypse) we will eventually invent the technology needed to become fully cybernetic. However, we need to start asking these questions now, so that when the time comes we will be prepared.

except we can't (4, Informative)

SmokeyTheBalrog (996551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109103)

we can make the blind see; the deaf hear; we can read minds.
Except for the slight detail we can't do those things.


People don't realize how primitive medicine is. 90% of medicine is, "We kept tried random things and found some things that work. Half of this stuff we don't even know why it works, but it does. So we use it."

And /. ought to know that computers are incredible simple and dumb.

There is no such things as a flashing LED that makes everything better controlled by an AI that knows you need treatment before you do.

Re:except we can't (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109509)

Actually there is some primitive cybernetic implants for the eyes that as long as your brain possesses a visual cortex its like having a pretty low resolution camera that allows you to see vague shapes and some colors... Not exactly the type of vision you'd want to poke your eye out for but I seen it on one of those science news shows a year or two ago.

I'm in! (0, Offtopic)

Nutty_Irishman (729030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109185)

I'm up for it so long as none of the components include an uplink to US Robotics [wikipedia.org] .

Quality vs Quantity of communication (2, Insightful)

hamster_nz (656572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109247)

Why do people thing that timeliness and quantity is the same as quality when it comes to human-to-human communication? People have only so much capacity to take in information - why would I want to fill my life with junk. One well reasoned, concise and consistent message (be it email, phone, or face to face) is usually priceless compared to hundreds of unfinished ideas, mumbles or rants.

Go for it if you want them to fuck with your mind (1)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109269)

With wiretapping rampant, little kids on terrorist watchlists,
corporations and government working together in collecting data
on people, kids charged thousands of dollars for
downloading a bunch of mp3s, DRM, MPAA+RIAA copyright squads,
cctv cameras going up all over the place and cops beating you
to a pulp for even bring up your constitutional rights,
google filing for patents on creating psychological profiles
from online gaming... ... you want them to install something in your brain... so that
you can get into "your" email account even faster..?

NWO scumbags: fuck you.

So simple even a caveman could do it (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109351)

I have this new human enhancement technology. I call it a club.

Re:So simple even a caveman could do it (1)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109459)

In the future, it'll be an actual cluestick. Oh, the possibilities...

We may make the blind see... (1)

Arceliar (895609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109353)

...but can we run linux?

Will we remain human? (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109383)

I tell you what. Turn me into a hyper-intelligent immortal half machine god-being first, and then I'll tell you the answer to the question.

Do it to Bush. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109385)

How about a human that won't wage war in the Middle East? That would be a huge improvement of mankind.

builtin chips (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109395)

These are used in many different ways in Greg Egan's book Quarantine. Where the hero says I looked up the name (or some other useful function) with an implant from so and so company for $xx.xx. Worth the read.

"In the year 2000" (2, Interesting)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109403)

Technology is kind of scary, because you have to realize that the unthinkable will eventually become real.

If you asked a scientist who worked with ENIAC some 50 years ago if he believed that you could put a billion transistors into a 1cm^2 chip, would he believe you? After all, a single transistor was the size of a light bulb back then.

This is why we have to think the unthinkable when speaking of technology. We all know that having a chip inside our head sounds weird and kind of repulsive, but once we have 10 guys doing this, we will have 100 following them, and 10,000 following the first 110.

I personally don't know or care what the outcome will be, but I am sure that we can eventually create organic computers. For example, your left finger nail could in fact be a small computer.

Dammit! (1)

RockoTDF (1042780) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109419)

We cannot read minds, period. We see a correlation between brain activity in certain areas based on behavior or what the subject is seeing, etc, but it is purely a correlation. This Neuroscientist should have his PhD revoked for not understanding that correlation doesn't imply causation!!!

Surgery for an upgrade? (1)

mqsoh (1002513) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109477)

Answering my email in the palm of my hand is good enough. I don't need major surgery for hardware upgrades.

Understanding nature (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109485)

One thing we do is assume that we understand everything as soon as we understand a little bit. At one time it was thought that if we had enough weather stations, we could predict the weather perfectly. We now know that there are extremely small perturbations that cause effects which are extremely difficult to predict. It was thought with enough pesticides and monocultures and cross fertilization we could end world hunger with few other negative side effects. We now have repeatedly seen the negative side effects of such patterns. Orange trees that were not resistant to novel pests and had to be replaced with old growth, contamination of the water supply to the point that the fish are unsuitable for regular ingestion. Red apples that are very pretty but quite horrible in every other respect.

Then we get to our assumptions about animals. It was thought that if we sequence a genome, all would be revealed. We now know that the story is very much more complex that simply saying this gene sequence does this. The orientation of the genes seems to be an issue. Genes seem to activate or not depending on the presence of other genes. The high school analysis of genetics seems quite inadequate, and the old yarns about improvement through cross pollination seems as antiquated as staying home to make sure one doesn't miss a phone call.

I don't think we are anywhere near the point where we can predict the side effects of messing with complex natural systems. We can't even predict the side effects of delivering psychotropic drugs to kids. We do so because we want our kids to be 'normal' and succeed in school and life, and then get angry when the negative side effects emerge. Of course they will be negative side effects. Nothing is free. Entropy is always increasing, and nature will have her way. I have no doubt we will engineer our children. I just hope that our courts are not tied up by the whiny parents with fantastic dreams of the perfect kid, and we approach the process to create a more holistic child, and not just to further the Aryan state.

Tin Foil! (1)

ynososiduts (1064782) | more than 7 years ago | (#19109507)

Do you honostly trust big corporations implanting chips in your brain? I don't care what ability it gives me, that is just something that can be used to supress our rights further. I don't need to be on call 24/7, I check my email every other day, and if I'm deaf/blind I'll stick with the hearing aid and seeing eye dog. I grew up with technology, as most people did who read slashdot, however it is getting scary to see where it is going. It's getting too advanced for our own good. Pretty soon we are going to be dependant on technology for every day to day task that may depend on some outside service (power/network). That is the day I move to the middle of nowhere, build my own solar panel array, plow my own fields, and live a self sustaining life not dependant on outside services.

The Culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19109511)

It is only a matter of time before we become The Culture [wikipedia.org] .

P.S. And do you realize what technology is doing for governance [metagovernment.org] right now.

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