Us humans are experts at fine tuning our existence as a species. For millennia, we did this slowly via natural selection, but in recent human history we’ve taken matters in to our own hands and begun a warp-speed quest for perfection.
When we think of modifying our appearance, we think of the beauty industry which has gone far beyond beautifying lotions and potions. In fact, with the right bank balance – or credit – you can tweak yourself in to an entirely new human being.
Each year, technology provides us with quicker and less invasive methods of surgery, making it easier for the average person to change their appearance.
These developments have given us amazing opportunities and benefits, but at the same time, I can’t help but envision a terrifying, cyberpunk dystopia ahead of us. Why? Read on to find out.
3 ways Tech is Changing the Human Body.
Plastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery.
Cosmetic surgery is on the rise. Just take a look at any plastic surgeon directory and you’ll see it’s a booming business. In 2016, the USA alone spent 12.9bn on plastic surgery.
The most popular choices were liposuction and breast augmentation, but new minimally invasive procedures are making cosmetic surgery safer and faster. The one that piqued my interest most is the “Vampire Facelift”, which involves taking vials of your own blood, placing it in a centrifuge that whizzes it up, separating red and white blood cells. It’s then injected back in to the skin, and supposedly leaves skin feeling plumped and youthful. Creepy, but interesting.
3D Imaging has helped make plastic surgery less risky too. Systems like like the Vectra 3D which gives patients an instant, realistic before and after model.
Medical Applications and Prosthetics
Medical technology has come a long was in the past century. Two areas I’m really excited about are 3D printing and prosthetics.
3D printing has opened the door for game changing surgery opportunities. Not least in facial re-constructive surgery. Using 3D imaging and 3D printing, doctors are now able print out bone that’s tailored to the individual. And earlier this year, scientists in Madrid developed a way to print human skin. This tech will be life changing for victims of burns or disease.
And then there’s the amazing world of prosthetics. Anything is possible; from 3D printed hands to robotic limbs. Robotics team, Open Bionics have developed a mind-blowing low-cost prosthetic hand to tackle the Which leads us on to…
As much as I love a good sci-fi dystopian book, I don’t actually want to live in one irl. The problem is that we’re already well on our way to merging with machines. For many though, our transhuman future is seen as a utopia.
Transhumanists believe that science and technology is the answer to many troubling aspects of the human condition – Death, Disease, etc – and have set about fixing humanity using cybernetics, genetic engineering and even mind uploading. Yes, there are people out there right now working on how we can upload our consciousness on to a computer and become immortal.
Humanity would look vastly different under these circumstances and in some cases they already are. A quick search for “real life cyborg” and “biohacker” will bring up countless stories of people who have LED implants, vibrating implants and antenna.
Genetic engineering could end up changing the landscape of humanity entirely, and mind uploading could see humans giving up on their physical bodies all together and living out eternity in a virtual reality.