Friday, April 23, 2010

Will “Human Cyborg” Be Created in The Future To Solve Longevity Challenges?

Technology advancement and life extension programs are accelerating across a range of fields of longevity studies. It might turnout that the future of cybernetics transcends human kind into a biologically immortal Cyborg.

Technology has driven the world from a primitive state towards a highly sophisticated and complex modern world. The primitive man would properly not imagine that he would be the founder of this mechanistic world. Everything started from discovering fire and inventing the wheel to modern times. People like Neil Armstrong, the first man ever to put the footprint outside the atmosphere of earth, did on 20th July 1969 step on the Moon. It is an important date in human history but what awaits us is far beyond going to the moon. With progressive state of technology a new era of human cybernetics are evolving.

Human Cybernetics in the field of life extension refers to how technology has, is and will evolve to support the ideology of extending human lifespan. We are already hearing about new tools associated with the term ‘nanotechnology’. Not far in the future, only in a few decades, it will be plausible to re-engineer our whole body. Our physical and mental systems will be repairable and replaceable with the use of ‘nanobots’. Scientists do already possess prosperous knowledge in how to avoid some degenerative disease through supplements and nutrition consumptions. These are some medical progresses, which will enrich the biotechnology revolution and transcend a fruitful birth to nanotechnology.

The term ‘nanobots’ is futuristic, it doesn’t really exists. Today, the terms used are ‘software’, ‘biotechnology’, ‘plastic’, ‘organism’ or even ‘cybernetics’. In the future, ‘nanobots’ being blood-cell-seized robots will be the major doctors. They will be able to identify any disequilibrium in the body and give recourse to nutrition and supplements for treatment.

We are aware of common technology. However, medical advancement does seldom hit the headlines for many weeks; they are often given little attention. They are veiled behind contemporary technology and cheapskate news such as latest gadgets; PCs, Mobile Devices, and cheapskate news on violence, private life of pop-stars. However, intelligent machines are already spurring to the surface. There are a number of projects focusing on creating biological microelecromechanical systems (bioMEMS). Their intent is from diagnostic to offer therapeutical treatment to pathologies identified through our blood stream. It is far from science fiction. Since the early days, nano-machine was proposed by Richard Feynman. The latter stated that machines would create smaller ones and these would in turn build more diminutive ones. This refines into a state where nano-molecular systems can be controlled by nano-robotics or simply nanobots.

The University of Illinois at Chicago did some years ago create a ‘capsule’ of seven nanometers. This ‘nano-capsule’ was used in experiments to protect organs and cells such as the pancreatic islet cells from antibodies. This method has proven to cure diabetes type I for rats. This could perfectly work for humans. Alike methodologies can be used to treat diabetes and Parkinson’s disease by providing more dopamine to the brain. Furthermore, Kensall Wise, a professor of electrical engineering from the University of Michigan, has created sophisticated nano-neural probe technology that scrutinizes the electrical activities of patient having any neural diseases. This makes it possible to monitor activities in the brain. This prowess will make it possible to inject medicine to precise regions in the brain. Kazushi Ishiyama at Tohoku University of Japan has already created an advanced micromachine that enables microscopic-sized spinning drills to inject drugs to tiny cancer tumors.

Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist, inventor and author of several books on health, transhumanism and artificial intelligence believes that by 2020 this type of technology (nanobots) will already have reached a maturity state. Nano-scale machines will already be in our bloodstream to constantly evaluate our health conditions. The dynamism of sensors within our body will be able to communicate wirelessly with technology identifying the degree of nutrition and supplements that are lacking in our body. The essence of supplementing the body with a balance intake of nutrition is that fewer side effects will be experienced such as digestion (gastro). The body will live a healthy life and so will the beholder.

Cybernetics in life extension goes beyond finding cures to even replacing organs. For instance, our heart is a performing machine yet with a myriad of failures. These failing weaknesses are tarnishing longevity. The heart is an organ that can prematurely cause death through heart disease and heart attacks. Nowadays, artificial hearts are available and slowly advancing. Artificial hearts are far from being perfect, but will gradually improve, and thus when signs of premature weaknesses are spotted in the heart it can be replaced.

The trend is towards total re-design, where the bloodstream itself is preferably genetically modified to integrate the molecular nanobots. The most complex organ to deal with is the brain. Our actual advanced state of technology is unable to identify where memory is precisely located and how it is processed. We only know that the brain has a mind, and this mind might be the whole brain or only a part of the brain. Besides, there is a misconception, the brain is not an isolated organ it is an interconnected one. It has an evolutionary history. However, we are not that far from unraveling it. People who are deaf can now communicate via telephones after cochlear implant, a particular tool interacting with the auditory nervous system. Other implant system such as replacing damaged retinas are only few examples of how medicine is going away from the soup concept of adding chemicals towards a mechanistic way to cut, delete, add and replace old organs with new ones.

New designs of ‘quantum dot’ are emerging. It is tiny crystals of semiconductor material used to connect electronic devices to neurons.

This is an advance state of metamorphosis for human to become ‘Cyborgs’. Technology from being separated from human, in terms of distanced computer system has moved from the table to our pockets (PDA’s) and now they are entering our body. Our natural biological condition might in the future be constituted of non-biological and technical components. The radical cybernetic evolution that is taking-off may substantially reengineer our body and extend our lifespan to a biologically immortal state. The prognosis of such changes will in the near future. Improvement will only be seen after 2020 and concretize by 2040. It might just be like the typewriter phenomenon; replaced by new technology and human through cybernetics transcends to biologically immortal cyborgs.


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