Imagine if you can a human with mental processing speed equal to that of ten super computers. Or with eyesight enhanced a hundred fold. Perhaps legs augmentations that increase the persons speed and agility. It sounds like pure science fiction but it has already begun. The next step in human evolution will not be in the realm of genetics but instead cybernetics, and it may even be an inevitable and necessary one.
About one week ago I was fortunate enough to view a television program depicting various possible and probable apocalyptic scenarios on the Sci-Fi channel. In the program it was explained that eventually the machines that we build to serve us will become smarter then we are. When this happens it has be theorized that they may become self aware and in doing so seek to pro-long their own existence. In which case they will seek to ensure that they cannot be turned off and could end up fighting us should we decide to do so. Which we would most certainly do when the now self aware machines decide to stop doing what we tell them to. It all sounds like a plot for a Hollywood Sci-Fi blockbuster but it is a very real threat.
This is where Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest principal comes in. Consider: We would be definitely intellectually inferior so we could not beat the machines with our minds. The machines would most definitely be: Stronger, Faster and more Agile then the average human. So how would we survive a machine uprising? The only way says most scientists would be to become one with machines in effect evolving from ordinary run of the mill Homo-sapiens to something entirely new Homo-Cyborgs to ensure that we can keep up with the machines in the struggle over the survival of the fittest. This would most definitely mean we would have to augment ourselves with cybernetic implants of all sorts to improve all of our functions from intelligence to brute strength. Even the head of the Dept. of cybernetics at Reading University (Prof. Kevin Warwick) believes that this is only an eventuality. To drive the point home Warwick uses the “cows analogy”. “why do we see cows in fields waiting to be killed and eaten by people, rather than the other way round?” Because, he says, it is the intelligence factor. Human beings are more intelligent than cows and so we are the ones in charge. The extension of this argument is of course that once computers have higher intelligence that man they will take control and there’s nothing we can do to stop them. Warwick goes on to explain that the only way to offset a robot take over would be to evolve again by means of cybernetic augmentation.
All of this quite naturally makes one think: “Would I volunteer for cybernetic implants?” I posed this question to myself and the answer I came back a resounding “Yes”. Think about it, would you not want: superior intellect, enhanced speed, enhanced strength, eyesight, hearing etc. Even near immortality may be possible via cybornetic back up systems for a persons vital organs and nano-technology so as to give your immune system an edge in weapons technology against infections.
Obviously with this leap forward in human evolution there would be risks. For one thing what is to stop a person from being physically programmed like a machine and be made to carry out tasks at the whim of another person. But how is this anymore dangerous then the way humans are currently programmed via indoctrination via: political, social and religious ideologies. Another danger to us future cyborgs is from the internet. It is almost certain that when the first human brains are augmented with cybernetic devices they will be made internet accessible which means of course their brains are under threat from hackers much like home P.C.’s are. However this danger can be offset with fail-safes and anti virus software. I realize that may not be especially reassuring but consider that the benefits from hooking your brain up to the internet are too great to ignore. Think about streaming news directly into your brain so your always up on current events or constantly knowing what is going on in the stock market so you can make on the spot decisions as to what to do with your money. Or what about learning another language just by downloading it to your brain in minutes. It would also mean Homo-Cyborgs would be able to link their minds together and act as one in effect increasing their mental capacity exponentially.
Imagine one million doctors with their minds linked to one another all working on the cure for AIDS. It sounds almost too good to be true but in actuality its already somewhat a reality. Think about it this way: suppose I asked you to tell me all the books in the Old Testament of the bible. Quite instinctively the bulk of you readers would go to Google and type in “A list of books in the Old Testament” and thats how you would get your answer. Now, for that brief moment you would have been of one mind with thousands of other online users all acting as one to derive their information. Scary isn’t it. But such is the nature of evolution it creeps up on you slowly and then takes a leap forward quite dramatically. I say let us embrace our future with open arms and attach mechanical implants to said arms our future and perhaps survival may depend on it.