Augmented Humanity

All this week over at Gizmodo they’ve put their focus on enhancements to the human body in a series of posts under the heading This Cyborg Life.

I’ve written here before about some of these possible futures we are rapidly entering and how we have, through our technology, achieved a greater role in our own evolution. Our tech, our media and our culture are all extensions of ourselves. One of the guest writers at Gizmodo is Aimee Mullins, who’s also been featured in this blog, and her thoughts are both provocative and inspiring. If you don’t read anything else today you must> read her post How Abled Should We Be?

Today they posted a video about a man named Tony Quan, a grafitti artist who is paralyzed from Lou Gehrig’s disease and only able to move his eyes. As you’ll see in the video he is now able to continue his public works – from his hospital bed – using a low-cost open source DIY system called EyeWriter, which uses off the shelf gear to create a head mounted device that tracks his eyes allowing him to paint (via projectors) massive scale tags.

We’ll see more of this personalized innovation come to the fore as people in their maker workshops and garage labs create extensions of themselves in tech and media and share it with the rest of the world. What may at first have been seen as singular project for an individual will quickly and easily be shared and embraced by the rest of the world – often with people finding further unanticipated uses and applications that further drives the initial innovation forward – carrying all of us along with it.

I’ve been sharing emails with my friend Bryan during this past few busy weeks about a number of topics of common interest and human enhancement has been one of them. The pattern of rapidly emerging linkages between ourselves and our machines (with our limbs, our eyes, our minds, and the rapid expansion of not just our technical ability to achieve these things but also our developing cultural acceptance of it all) is impossible to ignore. Integrating technology and the human species is not the fearful Borgian dystopia of popular SF narrative – it’s our future. Yes, there are caveats and concerns to be heeded but the emerging generations of users will be integrating their democratized home brew inventions directly with their bodies, becoming one with the tech that used to be a mere extension of self.

Check out the Gizmodo posts and ponder how you would alter or upgrade your present existence.

Welcome to the future.

Cheers.

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