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Body Enhancements…Possible?

After diving into the futuristic world of Neuromancer, it is only natural to wonder what direction technology will take our generation. Most technology we hear about in daily conversation revolves around viral YouTube videos, the upcoming release of the newest iPhone, or the updated version of the Kindle. These electronic devices are extremely practical and convenient, and though they might have some fancy features, they are designed to be functional. Yet, wouldn’t itbe a waste if all of these innovations weren’t put to use for “gadgets” or “toys”, the same type of inventions that you would see on Star Trek?

The H+ magazine, issued seasonally, informs subscribers about the latest fun advances in technology. In the opening issue, the editor, RU Sirius, speaks about transhumanism, the possibilities of body enhancements, artificial intelligence, and “singularity”.  Though all of the articles are incredibly interesting with ideas both far-fetched and feasible, the article “Skin Phone”really caught my eye. It speaks of a “phone that would be implanted under the skin, with microscopic spheres that would act as the touch-screen buttons.” (Scott, 7) The phone does not need a battery, and instead uses energy from your blood supply. Conveniently located on the top of your forearm, the phone can disappear, then reappear and answer calls with the same button.

Though this skin phone is a prototype, another form of enhancement, “jeweled eyes”, is currently available starting at around $750. This procedure, sponsored by the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery, inserts shapes such as “hearts, stars, euro signs, four-leaf clovers, and music notes” into a patient’s eye (Scott, 8). The surgery is not painful, nor does it “interfere with sight”. Further into the magazine, Kristi Scott, mentions an

other form of eye enhancement through contacts. “Engineers at the University of Washington have developed a contact lens that creates a virtual display superimposed over the normal field of vision.” (Scott, 15). The contact allows the real and cyber world to combine and interact as one. “It would allow people to use online services such as Google Earth in real time over the real landscape in front of us. All those giant pushpins will become a reality, making it much easier to navigate, since the desired location will have a great big arrow or identifier for you.” (Scott, 15)

 

Engineers and scientists are currently working towards making these technological innovations commonplace in our society. Only time will tell whether or not body enhancements, such as Molly’s in Neuromancer, will become a popular reality.

Attached are some PDF files of the magazine:

H+ Magazine Fall 2008

H+ Magazine Winter 2009

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  1. February 2, 2011 at 10:10 am

    That’s fascinating stuff. I remember when that magazine first came out, but had since forgotten about it. RU Sirius, incidentally, was a big player in early-90s cyberculture. His cheerleading for Barlow-like cyber-utopianism has translated nicely to the singularity movement that drives so much of our current digital culture.

  2. zsherm
    February 2, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    That’s so cool, I want one.

  3. daddehs1
    February 6, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    What I can’t get past with these implant-like things is what do you do when the technology becomes obsolete. If you get a new phone every two years or so, are you going to be getting surgery like that every two years too.

  4. February 11, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Plus, another thing with these implants is a matter of health insurance. Will your premiums cover the surgeries when you get the phone technology inserted?

  5. February 16, 2011 at 11:20 am

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/science/15scibks.html?ref=science
    Here’s a book review of “World Wide Mind,” by Michael Chorost. He discusses all sorts of coming human-machine innovations. He already confesses to being “irreversibly computational,” given that he hears via a cochlear implant that converts auditory information to bits and transmits them to computer chips in his skull at the rate of 125 MB/S.

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