Eye in the Skynet

I’m not too hip on new technology. I still have a flip-phone (and yes, it is epoxied together, and looks as though it has been melted), I struggle with remote controls when I visit homes with televisions, and I’m lucky if I can successfully link a video to this blog. I’m not a Luddite. I’m not whole-hog against technology, though I do prefer to keep things simple. The truth is, much of the time I don’t really even know how I feel or what I think about all these shiny new “innovations.” Especially when it comes to human modifications.

In short, I had a lot to learn, to process, and to ponder while researching this latest SciShow piece on our Cyborgian future. Because to me, the tolerability of technology, like most things, seems to fall along a gradient of acceptability. Of reasonableness… Yes, I want Stephen Hawking to be able to continue to communicate his brilliance after he is fully, hellishly, “locked-in,” and if that means neural implants, well, so be it. I’m pretty sure if I were paralyzed tomorrow I’d be psyched at the opportunity to strap on some robo-jeans and walk again, too.

But what about all the other stuff? What are the implications and ethics and obligations and dangers of genetically engineering our (rich, developed-world) babies? Or making super soldiers? Or having the serious, highly funded end goal of actually achieving immortality through avatars, cyborg parts, or endless nanobot body repairs?

It’s a big ol’ Pandora’s can of mutant worms we’re opening here, and to me , there is some line in the engineered sand that separates cool from creepy. I’m just not sure exactly where that line is. But I do know it inhabits a different space for each person.

Science fiction, often based in science-fact, is often great at predicting the future. And Atwood and Asimov and Huxley and Heinlein have given me plenty to worry about.



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