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What will the Future Hold? - Cybernetics

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Well, I thought this would be a good place as any to start a series of debates as to what the future would hold... Most of the material I want to talk about will be near future stuff (Today - 2100 at most) so lets get started.


What will the Future Hold? - Cybernetics

"We are the Borg"




wikipedia defines Cybernetics as: The study of communication and control, typically involving regulatory feedback, in living beings and machines, and in combinations of the two (e.g. sociotechnical systems).


This means that any system that uses both a biological and technological element is a cybernetic system.  Guess what... Cyborgs already exist and have existed for a while now...  It's called prosthetics.


Currently most prosthetics utilize a mechanical means of communicating with their user, a muscle movement will push a lever in the object and tell it to move, and so forth.  It's easy to imagine such means being replaced by computer chips that interface with the nervous system.  That is a cybernetic system at its simplist, but its not the only cybernetic system that has actually been demonstrated and implemented already.


Artificial organs, like hearts are also a form of cybernetics, they still seem to be relatively primitive but given advances in other technologies these could become much more advanced.


With the drastic decline in size and price of electronics it is not unreasonable for me to venture a guess as to how large a role cybernetics will play in the 21st century and the answer is this... The 21st Century will be the Golden Age of Cybernetic technology.


Case Studies in Cybernetics:


1. 2030 Japan - Ghost in the Shell


Okay, first off this series takes cybernetics a bit further then most of us would have expected, as to how far in the future they are I believe that it may well be technically possible for cybernetics to advance to that level in the next twenty years.  We've all read just how fast personal computers and the internet exploded into the mainstream after all.


In Ghost in the Shell there are two different forms of cybernetics, though they aren't as well defined as I'd like.  The first is prosthetics, and the second is cyberization (sp?).  Prosthetics are much more along the lines of what you think when Cyborg and cybernetic life is defined.  It can mean artificial organs, replacement limbs, and "Full" Prosthetic in which all but part of the brain has been replaced by artificial parts.  "Full" Prosthetics are a minority of the population in Ghost in the Shell.  There are a number of reasons for this but they boil down to two main reasons, Religious beliefs and Economic constraints.  Prosthetics are an expensive option and to quote Botou "Only those that are unrestrained by religious constraints or the size of their bank account can afford prosthetics that are top of the line."  People that recieve prosthetics are more often times the victim of physical injury or military personnel.


The second class is "Cyberization" these are the addition of implants which enable direct communication and interfacing with electronics and other cybernetically advanced people.  These seem to be very commonplace and are therefore much less expensive then prosthetics.


Ghost in the Shell tends to take already estalished ideas like forums, instant messaging, and the like and applying cybernetic technologies.  The internet has become almost more real then the real world, its the primary means of communication, and the like.


2. Star Trek's Borg


Cyberization has gone too far.  Borg have been modified since birth, major parts of their brain have been replaced with electronics.  Thus they can be overriden by a hive mind or central hub.  I don't know all that much as to how borg Cybernetics work.


What do I think?


Well, I could see the use of cybernetic enchancements, especially with military personnel, occuring within twenty years.  Considering just how useful some enhancements would be I wouldn't be surprised if at least a portion of population obtained them.  The determining factor will be safety of the product.  If all you ahve to do is take a pill or injest some nanite assemblers I wouldn't be surprised if it became very common.

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Sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from Magic. -Arthur C. Clarke

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Star Trek Borg are controlled by Nanobots who maintain and look after the organic and Mechanical parts of the body.  In addition they are maintained in a collective via Subspace communications.


Any other questions PM Me.

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