The military is working on external skeletons to create “super soldiers.” Medical devices are advancing beyond temporary mechanical hearts and synthetic joints. The melding of the human body and machine is going forward. The combination of man and robot – cyborgs – no longer seems far in the future. However the most important melding of man and machine – enhancing the brain – is already proceeding.
What do you do when you can’t come up with a word, or citation or name that you are searching for? Until 10 years ago you would have put it out of your mind and waited till it popped into your consciousness by the end of the day or first thing next morning. Today you type some prompts into Google or Tweet to your followers and you have it in 2 or 3 minutes. Computer power – available 24/7 has already augmented your memory!
Similarly when you are dealing with a difficult problem or a creative idea an early step is a Google search and possibly a post on twitter, Facebook or another social site for an impromptu brainstorming session online.
Mark Schaefer posted an additional insight from SXSW yesterday: “One of the things that is dawning on me throughout SXSW is that the mobile smart device can turn each of us into a constant, real time, data collection machine.” It is wonderful and true: with a couple clicks we can save our insights, record thoughts or conversation, take photos or video clips. Going forward our lives will be recorded digitally. Memories will be far more detailed, complete and accurate then ever before.
[Future historians may be more rooted in fact and information and have to know the principles of "Big data".]
We are all cyborgs now!
Memory augmentation, creative support, data collection: in these and other ways computer power with us 24/7 is aiding us, but also changing us. Computer power in our pockets enhances us. We are all cyborgs now.
Mobile may be as important a development as the development of the Internet itself was in driving augmentation forward.
Is this all to the good? How do you feel about being a cyborg??
[As a long-term fan of apocalyptic science fiction, I harbor some concerns that I will share in my next post...]