We´re all becoming Cyborgs
#6 of my Tech Predictions for 2022
How would you like to become a superhuman or at least a better version of yourself? In more ways than ever, our senses, our mind, and different parts of our body are being enhanced by technology. This will accelerate in 2022.
In the film Reminiscence made by the Nolan family (the team behind Westworld) the main character sells the possibility to revisit fond memories from the past via an EMOTIV Epoc X headset — and it´s apparently not all good news. While this is still pure Science Fiction (The EMOTIV headset is real, but so far only able to register Brainwave activities) it might be a pretty precise description of our current attitude to mind or body enhancement technologies: It sounds very compelling but there is still so much we don´t know.
The one thing I do know is that neuro-technological innovations and other Human enhancement technologies are popping up around us — several of them on the brink of a breakthrough. And if we can help humans to regain or improve their mobility, sight, or hearing, shouldn’t we?
Learn to hear again
My 78 years old father has played jazz for more than 50 years, but in the last 10–15 years he hasn´t been able to hear what he plays, and now he almost can´t hear anything. In February this year, he will get a Cochlear implant.
That´s an electronic device that will be operated into his skull — not a small intervention. He will have to learn to hear in a new way, since sounds will be registered digitally. But if it works, it will basically give him his life back.
In the same way, it is now possible to restore sight with the help of visual implants. Like the FDA approved artificial Retina: Second Sight Argus II and Second Sight Orion I from the company Secondsight
These devices are implemented either in the back of the person’s brain or behind their eye.
Diabetes patients can now have a sensor shot into their arm to get vibratory alerts when their blood sugar is off limit and directly track their glucose level in real-time on their smartphones, thanks to the new Eversense CGM system.
The term has up until now mostly been used to describe disabled persons who have got a prosthetic arm or leg, and the prosthetic area is still developing fast: Atomlimbs are working on a mind-controlled arm, that will also bring back the sense of touch to the user through Bionic Skin. And by using 3D print technology, the company Unlimited Tomorrow has been able to lower the price of a mind-controlled arm tenfolds to $8.000!
Are we all Cyborgs already?
Maybe we are already experiencing how our abilities can be enhanced through technology. Elon Musks argues that we´re all Cyborgs due to our relationship with our smartphone as an extension to ourselves that we always bring with us and that gives us superpowers through access to all kinds of apps, services, and knowledge.
The era of the smartphone might however be coming to an end. Five of the world’s most valuable companies(Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple) are all betting on wrapping the smartphone around our heads through a pair of smart glasses. Last year I predicted that Apple would have introduced their glasses by now, but that didn’t happen. Hopefully, 2022 will be the year. While we wait, take a look at the technology from Avegant and the glasses it leads to.
Elon Musk also argues that to be able to compete with AI going forward, we need to integrate ourselves with technology in a way that eliminates the input-output constraints. And that´s exactly the long-term mission for his company Neuralink who will start implanting its brain chips in humans in 2022.
No matter what, we are all getting more and more attached to technology, reaching a point where we can´t live without it and where man and machine melt together. Which is by the way the definition of a Cyborg.