People — cyborgs

More recently, the word "cyborg" (cybernetic organism) was known only to scholars and lovers of fiction. The term appeared in 1980 with a light hand working on the problem of human survival beyond Earth engineer Manfred Clynes and Nathan Wedge psychiatrist. A new word has come into literature and sounded from the screens. His famous "cyborg" must movie "RoboCop." Human Machine Alex Murphy has set mankind question: is there a real possibility of becoming wee people cybernetic organisms?

It all started with the prosthesis

The loss of any part of the body is always difficult to read man. And not just because of the loss of certain features, but also because of the burdens of public disability. Back in the ancient world, people create devices that mimic the missing bodies: the artificial teeth and even jaw, glass eyes and leg prostheses. But an artificial arm for a long time it was not possible to construct. It was only in 1509, made the first prosthesis, whose owner was a German knight Götz von Berlichingen, called an iron hand.

Prosthetics is the true father of Ambroise Pare. No medical education apprentice barber in 1536, went to war, which has revolutionized the field of surgery. For example, pouring boiling alder gunshot wound he replaced resin drug treatment of egg yolk, rose oil and turpentine. And if instead of cautery amputation stump was cast bundles. Above all designed several options prosthetic hand. And if the first model perform only important for the individual function (for example, in the prosthesis to the scribe was a special pen holder), the end of life Pare created an artificial hand, each finger which is driven by a system of microscopic levers and gears. This prosthesis and initiated further development of prosthetics, not just imitating the presence of the lost body, but functionally relevant to him.

Thus began the era of unification of man and technology e one body.


Dentures today do not dare call prostheses. Dentures in its modern form has become the envy of even the owners of the full set of natural teeth. For "Hollywood smile" people ruthlessly replace their implants.

If earlier artificial limbs to respond only to the surviving movement of the arm or leg, the electronics of modern analogues directly aligned with nerve endings — ie prostheses driven signals in the brain. As living working muscles and silicone, but their powers are not blood, and a built-pneumatic accumulator.

The function of the vision to fully perform artificial silicon retina (X) consisting of 3.5 thousands of microscopic cells that convert light falling on them in to the brain electrical impulses.

Many microscopic electrodes replace damaged sensory fibers within the organ of hearing and transmit acoustic signals in the human brain as good, if not better than its natural counterpart.

And this is not the whole list of human "spare parts" from artificial hair and nails to the artificial heart and lungs … In this case, a person wearing such an arsenal, it is almost impossible to distinguish from the "naturalization." And it already suggests that the co-evolution of man and machine in a cybernetic organism. That is in fact a modern prosthesis is already beginning "kiborgizatsii" (a term used to describe the transformation of man into a cyborg).

How much is the "eternal life"

Those who represents a system of "man-machine" that is, the cyborgs are already among us — and every year there will be more. Emerging technologies can not only recover the lost, but also to find new, previously unknown to man power. It looks like the middle of XXI century people as freely as now buy household appliances or cars, not just be able to buy replacement organs and "exotic", the eyes that see radio waves, ears perceive ultrasound, supporting "console" to the brain, limbs, allowing exceed any athletic records, and the like, and most importantly, from time to time "parts" can be changed, which essentially means eternal life.

But do not rejoice in the coming rapidly "immortality." As Zhvanetski: "We have everything, but not all have enough" … Experts from the Institute of Cybernetics of Reading (U.S.) estimated costs of bringing the person implanting artificial implants instead of or in support of wear bodies. In the mid eighties, the total price of the basic "body parts" was 6,000,000 dollars, in these days due to depreciating technology has decreased 40 times and ranges from $ 160 000. Specifically, electronic ear — $ 15,000, eye prosthesis made of glass — $ 300, elbow — $ 2,000 prosthetic hip bone with a joint — $ 15 000, an artificial heart — $ 50,000, artificial light — $ 35 000, a ceramic jaw — $ 20,000, and so on .

Today's "cheapness" expanded the range of potential users of the benefits of the new technology of prosthetics. But the range will still be around, beyond which these amounts — something out of science fiction.

In the narrow circle

It is impossible not to notice that in the present price list is not marked all the works of cybernetic technology. Where is, for example, X? Instead, we see only a glass eye. In this list is already surpasses 140,000 dollars, for everything else in the "prosthetic consumer basket" is less than 20 000. And this amount of missing the latest prosthetic limbs, kidneys, stomach, intestines, etc. clearly do not fit. However, who said that the $ 160 000 — this is the limit? For those wishing to purchase excess capacity and eternal youth physical limitation. Of course, if you have enough money …

This means that sooner or later the world will have a new cast of cyborgs, which are physically and materially greater than the general population of the planet. Who, if not them, to rule the world?

Win or lose?

Already, synthetic prostheses and implants help to prolong the life of every ten inhabitants of developed countries. Pacemakers, defibrillators, heart valves, knees — this is the reality of our times.

The largest of our analyst, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University Stephen Hawking more than 30 years confined to a special wheelchair, and after removing the larynx communicates with the world using a computer, synthesizing human speech. The incurable disease in which motor neurons gradually die, not to reach only preserved some mobility index finger of the right hand of the famous physicist — with it he manages computer.

At the International Conference on Robotics in Toronto, Steve Hocking, vnikshy in question kiborgizatsii deeper and more tragic other analysts said that experiments to implant microchips in the human body and the natural replacement for artificial organs in 20-30 years will end in complete victory for human-cyborg of Homo sapiens …

But the root of the problem is not a novelty, which offers technical progress, but the fact that the moral improvement of the people behind the pace of technological development. After all, by itself replace diseased or damaged organs on their technical counterparts — this is a real victory for humanity. But in the absence of clear moral criteria and attitudes certainly there are people who want to replace their more healthy bodies to be more committed.

Once begun, the process will continue snowballing until divide humanity into two camps — the rich cyborgs (those who have enough money to improve his body), and the poor-straights. And it does not change our world for the better, since it will be more painful than just a division between rich and poor. Father Ambroise Pare prosthesis used to say: "God heals — I just bandage the wounds." But in reality he first stepped onto the road that today is moving science, entered into competition with the Creator.

Author: F.Grischuk
Source: "Interesting newspaper. Incredible" № 17 2012

Category: Mad World

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