Lachlan Hughes

This conversation is closed.

Debate: The Future of Biomedical Engineering - Prosthetics

Over the coming decades, humankind will, for the first time in the history of our species, be able to actively supersede our own physiology. As the nascent technology of neuroprosthetics develops, we may soon be able to bolster our memory and recall, think faster, focus our attention better, react faster, run swifter, have super-human strength and just generally BE better. For now, this technology is being developed for the handicapped and disabled (restoring sight to the blind or movement to the paralyzed). But the question will inevitably arise: if you had the choice to enhance yourself, would you? Would you replace perfectly good legs with artificial ones if they made you faster and stronger? How far would you go?

  • Nov 21 2012: If only we could learn to love ourselves.
  • Nov 17 2012: Aren't we already "augmented" through healthcare? The average lifespan has doubled in the past 200 years, which is by itself a huge feat.

    However, when talking about augmentation which is not related to battling illness (eg. replacing healthy body parts with robotic ones):

    The question we should be asking ourselves is "Are our designs better than the ones of nature?".
    In most cases - they are not. Natural biological structures and systems are being constantly tested and tweaked to perfectly fit environmental challenges, and audited by evolution during the course of thousands of years. Therefore, in their own way, they are perfect.

    However, I agree that our race might, at a certain time in the future, reach a point where the abilities and adaptability of our bodies will not suffice.

    As an answer I proposing building augmentations externally, while keeping vanity in check.
  • thumb
    Nov 14 2012: As a person who is one of those missing a few bits and pieces and held together in places with screws bolts, nuts and grafts and interesting bits of titanium ( Love going through airport metal detectors) and I am lucky compared to some.

    If the technology involved can also relieve the pain chronic and phantom, if it can restore a reasonable quality of life, if allows people to experience things and open what may of been a closed world or existence then it cannot be bad.

    Unfortunately mankind be mankind someone will abuse the technology so personally I would like to see it regulated where it is used to help those who need it not those who WANT it.

    Besides if you have to go under the knife to get those enhancements you better be aware for what your in for, remember once you loose it you can't get it back, and technology being technology there is no real guarantee it will actually work the way you wish .

    as the proverb goes "Be careful what you wish for"
  • thumb
    Nov 9 2012: Don't you think many men would have at least one idea how to 'enhance' themselves? Not advocating, just naming the obvious.
    • thumb
      Nov 10 2012: Absolutely. But there's only so far in which one can enhance themselves naturally. I guess I really wanted to debate the last question - If there were an artificial limb or brainchip or some such, with all the capabilities of your normal hand and more, would you replace it? Would you 'upgrade'?
      • thumb
        Nov 10 2012: The risk here is, that once you start replacing perfectly healthy body-parts for 'upgrade' reasons only, there was no other reason left to stop replacement untill 'total exchange'.

        This would become some kind of 'super' or 'hyper' cloning whith the crucial difference, that the original and less perfect 'source' of oneself would vanish.

        The remaining question would be: 'Did the butterfly kill or just was the caterpillar?'