The cyborg is here and it’s not as scary as we thought…yet

Screenshot 2017-07-29 at 4.38.32 PMCyborg, a person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device.

OK wait, I thought a cyborg was a futuristic, no emotion, half-human, half-machine fictional character whose purpose was to consume me. Think Borg from Star Trek, or possibly something out of IronMan.

As the tech world progresses on the development of wearable technology for the masses, from watches to eyeglasses, earbuds, and beyond, I’m now understanding that each of our sensory inputs, including our skin, has a potential technological layer that can mediate that input. Whether the input comes from something in the real world around us, or from an augmented reality input, life is going to be very different 10 years from now compared to today.

But hasn’t that always been the case with the evolution of tools and technology? Houses evolved from caves to straw huts to mud brick and log homes, to the homes we have today. Evolution and innovation, for better or worse, are constants. Combine this with the exponential increase of technology innovation, we might as well get used to living in an ever-evolving sci-fi world, part human, part tech.

Recently I saw the below graphic in an article, Apple Glasses are Inevitable. As I read around the graphic, I first saw how all the sensory layers were being augmented. When I got to the category of “Body” and “R&D (research and development),” I had one of those aha moments where everything becomes clear and exciting, in that slightly scary way.

Screenshot 2017-07-29 at 3.58.28 PM

No doubt, there will be some very bad things that happen as a result of these new technologies. Look at the problems we face today with people stepping out into traffic while reading a cell phone, and people who drive and text, for example. But there will be some wonderful things that will happen in ways we can’t even imagine. Already we are seeing major life breakthroughs in technologies that allow color blind people to see a full spectrum of color, pacemakers that keep hearts beating, 3D printed robotic limbs that help someone hold a spoon. I love the commercial where the little girl is able to dance with her grandfather due to some futuristic leg braces.

So perhaps being part-cyborg isn’t so scary. Perhaps it will bring wonderful new experiences, information, and ways of relating in our world that we can’t even imagine. No doubt there will be many trials and tribulations associated with advancing wearable tech. But I’m not ready to run in fear yet. I’m still wearing my FitBit to track my resting heart rate (a major predictor of heart attacks) and number of daily steps.

Care to share your own examples of emerging wearable tech and how it will be changing the world?

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