Some science-type bods are getting a bit excited because they believe mankind may be on the brink of merging with machines.
Transhumanism, they call it. Not to be confused with trannie-humans. The theory is that we'll soon have some machine parts implanted in us, to keep up with the relentless march of technology.
Innovative billionaire Elon Musk says humans must merge with machines. And Elon would know, he's the clever bugger who built a rocket that not only blasted off last week, but then reversed back into its parking space. Amazing that someone can do with a space rocket, what most Tauranga drivers can't manage with a Corolla.
Anyway, he reckons a direct brain/computer interface is an absolute necessity for humans to evolve as a species and keep up with the machines.
“If we don't merge with the machines, we will become useless and irrelevant,” reports New Atlas. At RR, we worry that this may have already happened to Winston Peters.
Although there is a General Election coming up and with his particular system of cryogenics, anything is possible.
Transhumanism sounds very much like science fiction, and I am well qualified to speak on this subject of future science because I've seen a lot of science documentaries, such as ‘Cherry 2000' at least five times and various other films featuring robots, androids and Mr Vader. Of course, we grew up with Space Family Robinson every afternoon on a black-and-white television. From this vast study of science spanning many decades, I can tell you, humans generally lose in the end. But they get a small consolation, such as living happily ever after with Melanie Griffith.
Personally, I came very close to merging with machines on several occasions in my younger years. Once, while venturing too close to the wringer washing machine, part of my fashionable sixties clothing was inexplicably drawn into the double wringer roller mechanism. My short and precarious life flashed before my eyes as I was about to be “interfaced” with the Whiteway. Or was it a Maytag?
Previous columns have also delved into character-building experiences with the bean slicer; although these incidents tended to be more like the bean slicer attempting to rid the planet of humans with digits, rather than any peaceful symbiotic bonding.
We all have those crisis moments in life when we've thought: ‘What would Steve Austin do?' Most of us failed, because we did not have the slow-motion function installed. Any attempts to re-enact ‘The Six Million Dollar Man' stunts soon ended up in a shambles more closely resembling the closing sequence of ‘The Benny Hill Show'.
Androids among us
The closest thing we've seen to transhumanism in real life would have to be Michael Jackson, who, until his untimely expiration, was a human perfectly blended with a Tupperware set.
I've long suspected there are already androids walking amongst us and they're doing a darn good job of keeping it a secret, except for Mike Hosking, of course. He was interfaced with Encyclopaedia Britannica from an early age, because he knows everything.
Then there's a musician who has so many piercings and rings in his face, he can double as a shower curtain.
Peter Dunne is rumoured to have survived a brush with a crop duster and Gareth Morgan must have at some point suffered a close encounter with a six-pack of Energizer batteries, because he just keeps going and going and going.
Lepht Anonym is a Berlin-based biohacker who advocates cybernetics for the masses, says New Atlas. “Lepht [who identifies as genderless] has performed numerous body modifications over the past decade, including implanting neodymium metal discs under his/her fingertips to enable the physical sensing of electromagnetic fields, and several internal compass implants designed to give a physical awareness of north and south magnetic poles.” Here at RR, we hope Lepht has joined Scouts or Guides, because he/she would be well ready to go for his/her Map Reading and Orienteering Badge.
The new generation of kids may as well have machines grafted into their brains. They already walk around with mobile devices planted constantly in their faces, they experience virtual lives; nothing is true or proven until it's been shared on instabook or facegram and nothing accepted as a true record of history until it has reached 20 likes and a minimum of four smiley faces.
In fact it's a gas
Transhumanist thinking goes beyond the mere fusion of human and machine. It includes genetic modification to help us live longer and be smarter, till eventually we “transcend our physical bodies with the aid of technology”.
Little do these scientists know, that level of transhuman longevity has already been achieved by a pioneer in the field; not by implants of computer or machinery; but with select drugs, decades of liquid infusion, excessive noise application and being born in a cross-fire hurricane. Long live Keith Richards.
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots” – Albert Einstein.
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