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Where do You Stop Being Human?

Imagine Beyond: Superhuman or Lost Human

Remember when you were a kid, running around with your friends, imagining having superpowers and fighting the bad guys? Eventually you outgrew it and are now having a regular human job, but a lot of scientists are driven by their imaginations and are working on technologies to augment ourselves into superhumans.

Human augmentation can aid produce better prosthetics or reduce genetic disorders, and could create a better life for a lot of people – but it also raises the question of where to draw the line: Where does a human stop being human and start becoming a machine?




Creating Joy

We humans have been augmenting our bodies for thousands of years. And we have come a long way from wooden legs to microprocessor prosthetics. It is not just about giving people the opportunity to be independent, after losing an arm or a leg – it is giving back the quality of life everybody deserves. In the future robotic limbs could be integrated into the human body, boosting our biological capabilities. Similar to an upgrade: Human 2.0.

Technology Has its Price

State-of-the-art technology and design have their price. You get what you can pay for. If you cannot afford it you are not getting it. Nowadays it may be that you cannot afford to get a modern and perfectly fitted microprocessor prosthetics. In the future it may lead to parallel universes in one world. An example of this dystopian view is the Netflix series Altered Carbon: The wealthiest people can afford to choose every type of body they want or what kind of augmentation they want to integrate in those bodies, while the rest of humanity has to take what is given to them – like the 8 year old girl which was "resleeved" into the body of a middle aged woman.

When Does Humanity Stop?

Humanity may had millions of years to evolve, but can we still stay human, if we are filled with technology? Imagine if you could preserve yourself, the way you think, the way you talk, what you like or dislike and be able to live forever in different synthetic bodies. Would it still be you, or just a copy of who you used to be– an artificial intelligence which got fed with the data of you and how you process information? If someone has his genetics transformed so that they could process information faster and remember things better than anyone around him, are they still the same person they were before? Will genetically engineered people be a normality, and regular born humans discriminated, like in the movie Gattaca?

For now, we cannot say if our future will be more a utopia or dystopia. For all we know scientists are creating technology to improve our lives day by day, which makes me optimistic about how our society will be tomorrow.

The prevailing wisdom is that the fast pace of automation, digital change and AI (artificial intelligence) will soon leave most of us jobless. Talking with some of the most successful tech entrepreneurs around the world, not one agreed with this dark premonition. Rather, they pointed to a different kind of future we should prepare for.


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