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Future Imperative

What if technology were being developed that could enhance your mind or body to extraordinary or even superhuman levels -- and some of these tools were already here? Wouldn't you be curious?

Actually, some are here. But human enhancement is an incredibly broad and compartmentalized field. We’re often unaware of what’s right next door. This site reviews resources and ideas from across the field and makes it easy for readers to find exactly the information they're most interested in.

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The future is coming fast, and it's no longer possible to ignore how rapidly the world is changing. As the old order changes -- or more frequently crumbles altogether -- I offer a perspective on how we can transform ourselves in turn... for the better. Nothing on this site is intended as legal, financial or medical advice. Indeed, much of what I discuss amounts to possibilities rather than certainties, in an ever-changing present and an ever-uncertain future.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Scientists Develop Artificial Muscles

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TradeArabia.Com reports that scientists have developed "bionic" muscles. The article states:
Scientists have developed artificial, super-strength muscles which are powered by alcohol and hydrogen.

And they could eventually be used to make more advanced prosthetic limbs, say researchers at University of Texas, said a BBC report.

Writing in Science, the researchers say these artificial muscles are 100 times more powerful than the body's own.

They said they could even be used in 'exoskeletons' to give superhuman strength to certain professions such as firefighters, soldiers and astronauts.

Two types of muscle are being investigated by US researchers at the Nanotech Institute at the University of Texas in Dallas, working with colleagues from South Korea.

Both release the chemical energy of fuels, such as hydrogen and alcohol, while consuming oxygen.

Obviously artificial "muscles" 100 times stronger than normal muscles would be tremendously useful to the designers of powered exoskeletons. But they also imply rapid progress towards biomechanical muscles sufficiently elegant to be integrated into the human body, or a radically modified bionic body (such as a "full body conversion" cyborg). The latter option would be less concerned with issues of toxicity, immune system rejection, etc. But then, as at least one science fiction character has said, "You go that route, and before you know it you're a brain in a jar."

But then again, there are quite a few people who wouldn't object to that fate, if their brain were nigh immortal and their sensory capacities and virtual simulations were sufficiently fine-grained and realistic.

It's all a matter of choices. And rather than prejudging any of them, we'd much rather lay them out clearly in front of people, and let them decide for themselves what future they'd prefer. If not several.


Cyber
Future Imperative

7 Comments:

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