Ok, this has got to be one of the coolest things I’ve read about today. Apparently, mad, scheming scientist bent on creating powerful cyborgs (who will one day take over the world and enslave us all) have been busy again. Or, perhaps they are just well-meaning scientists hoping to cure blindness. Regardless, of who they are, this is still awesome.
According to BBC News, Scientists at Stanford University have invented a retinal implant which is powered by light and could be used to treat people with degenerative retinal diseases. A current technology exists which is powered by battery and requires more invasive surgery. However, the new technology is much thinner, and even though it hasn’t been tested on humans yet, it has been shown to work on… rats.
I had the pleasure of re-watching The Terminator a couple days ago, and I’m always a little chilled during the bit with Arnold doing self eye surgery, regardless of the terrible visual effects. But it always intrigues me. What if scientists were able to develop robotic eyes? Oh wait, seems like we are much closer to that than I had previously thought.
Does this mean we are one step closer to a race of superhuman cyborgs? Part man, part machine? In the meantime, will we need to develop rules to adapt to this phenomenon?
This discussion isn’t really new. There are already controversies surrounding the competition of “disabled” persons in athletic/sporting events who are now seeming to be more “abled” than the rest of us. And I’m not sure of what is the best way to deal with this topic.
What is a particularly interesting is that technology is getting closer and closer to our fears and imaginations. I remember watching an anime film (based on a manga) featuring Black Jack, a rogue physician intent on helping the destitute. In the film, scientists have developed a breed of super humans–each stronger, smarter, or more artistic than the rest. However, these super humans begin to deteriorate, dying off violently and unexpectedly. Black Jack is enlisted to find a cure.
The film left me with a strange feeling. Could it be possible that at some point in the future, humans could be, perhaps, too human? Perfect vision. Perfect muscles and bones. Perfect lungs. A perfect heart.
But the human heart is something to be feared. It is a marvelous muscle, but it also contains dark things. Very dark things.
All in all, though, it’s hard to see us going in that direction. Right now, I think it is supremely awesome that bionic eyes exists for the purpose of helping the blind to see again.
I just hope that we’re a long ways off from cyborg vs human conflict.