TED Conversations

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?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • 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.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.