Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Well, it’s about to be with growing opportunities for artificial brain enhancement evolution experts from the University of Adelaide claiming that humans are well on their way to becoming cyborgs.
Members of the Biological Anthropology and Comparative Anatomy Research Unit at Adelaide University, Professor Maciej Henneberg and Dr Aurthur Saniotis looked at the past, present and future development of our species to chart the full scope of human evolution and found that whilst future humans are likely to combine their own organic material with technology, such enhancements must not ignore our highly complex biology.
“There is still a tendency by some to view the current form of human beings as static, and that we will stay as such into the future unless some catastrophe causes our extinction,” said Professor Henneberg.
“However, in The Dynamic Human (a book written by Henneberg and Saniotis), we present the alternative: that our world is a continuously changing complex system and humans are a part of this ever-changing system. Within this framework, human evolution is an ongoing process that shapes us now and will shape us in the future, body and mind. We must understand it in order to survive and be able to direct it to our advantage,” he says.
From cybernetic implants that could connect our brains directly to computers, to nanotechnology and a variety of medical prosthetics, The Dynamic Human outlines a wide range of mind and body enhancements that Henneberg and Saniotis believe will be potentially available to humans in the future.
“The advent of brain-machine interfaces may force humans to redefine where our humanity lies; it will blur the boundary between human and machine,” Dr Saniotis says. “This boundary in fact has been blurred for a long time. Millions of people are currently wearing technological devices aimed at enhancing our lives: from eye glasses, to hearing aids, pace makers, bionic ears, heart valves and artificial limbs.”
In fact, Saniotis points out that since 2002, about 59,000 people have received some form of neurological prosthetics, whether it be to hear or see, and this technology is set to develop rapidly in the coming years.
“…It can become easy to think of the body as a kind of machine with parts that need replacing. Of course, the body is not a machine but an evolutionary organism of enormous complexity. The human mind is not a logical machine, it is a product of organic interactions. That complexity should not be underestimated,” he says.