Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, UK, Kevin Warwick,
become the world's first cyborg, in March 2002, by having a miniature computer
surgically implanted into the main nerve canal of his left arm.
" I had a micro-electrode array connected into my nervous system. With this in place, we linked my nervous system, by radio, to a computer and thence on to the Internet.
One of the objectives is to help people with spinal injuries.
find out if we can use technology to bring back movements and feelings to areas
in their nervous system.......to develop alternative sense to the blind.",
says Kevin Warwick.
As a cyborg, Kevin Warwick went to New York and via the Net, his brain signals were used to operate a robot hand in the UK, 4000 miles away.
A 4,000 mile long nervous system.
"It felt powerful, to switch on lights, sound alarms, switch on the heating,
all by just think about it, sitting 4,000 miles away.
One of my most exciting moments was when my extra (ultrasonic) sense worked very successfully.
So with a blindfold on, I was able to detect objects with my new sixth sense.
It was fantastic that having a sixth sense was no longer science fiction
but has become science" says Kevin Warwick, in an interview.
Cyborgs, as per Kevin, should, before long, be able to think in multiple dimensions, as compared to the 3 which currently humans think in, sense the world in multiple of ways (humans have only 5 senses) and would have superb memory abilities.
Becoming cyborgs would appear to be the most natural, yet technical form of evolution.
Some implications of "cyborgism" ...........
-Communications, i.e. telepathy.
Today we communicate with the Net as the medium, through computers..
When our nervous systems get linked via Net, we can dispense with the computer
and real-time communication would be possible.
Would that be the end of relationships?
If you knew exactly what your spouse was thinking (of you), could a relationship continue?
The brain/nervous system linked to the Net, download whatever information required directly into the brain and hey presto become an "expert", aka, Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix".
The only certainty of Life appears to be death.
Is it the biological body-mind complex, which dies?
Spiritualists have been affirming for aeons,
that the body-mind complex is simply a vehicle, for our real self, -Consciousness.
You would not think twice of hopping of a train and into a bus,
so why a particular attachment to a collection of nerves and tissues?
What of Consciousness itself?
Won't it die, with the death of the brain?
Ray Kurzweil in "The Age of Spiritual Machines"....... postulates a future in which
we will eventually scan our brain to map the locations, interconnections,
and contents of the somas, axons, dendrites, pre-synaptic vesicles,
and other neural components.
The entire organization will then be recreated on a neural computer of sufficient capacity,
to include the contents of memory.
Says Ray "In the not too distant future, people will be able to port their entire mind file
the new thinking technology.
No doubt there will be a nostalgia for our humble carbon-based roots,
but there is a nostalgia for vinyl records also.
Ultimately we did copy most of that analog music
the more flexible and capable world of transferable digital information"
Will that be the end of mortality, through this brain-porting technology?
Up until now, our mortality was tied to the longevity of our hardware.
When the hardware crashed, that was it.
As we cross the divide to instantiate ourselves into our computational technology,
identity will be based on our evolving mind file.
We will then become software, not hardware.
Our immortality will be a matter of being sufficiently careful to make frequent back-ups.
Now fuse two concepts.
Think of an artificial body, which is perennially renewed
and a mind that can be downloaded onto a chip.
Whenever you get tired of your present body,
you simply arrange to have the chip transplanted into another one.
The Gita and the all the holy scriptures,
speak of the soul changing bodies as one changes garments.
This is the 21st century version of transmigration.
All of this will inevitably throw up questions
-Will Earth be able to cope with enhanced human longevity?
Or is it time to step up galactic exploration, for more resources?
-Which other certainties will die with death and what new beginnings will be born?
-Will any of us, ever retire?
Would you like to spend eternity with the same spouse/partner?
-If the driving force for reproduction is the gene's need to perpetuate itself,
we want any children, if we were assured of immortality?
-What will happen to the family?
-With no hell to fear, no Heaven to die for, will Religion have any meaning?
-Is the death of Death, all that attractive?
For is not death the mother of beauty,
the beauty of something being heightened
we know it is transient.
If everything was forever,
it not be boring?