The future is here. Cybernetic enhancements have been available for years now and the technology is not slowing down. We are fortunate to live in such an exciting time of breakthroughs in technology and medicine. But this leads us to several interesting questions regarding where we will go in the future.

Cybernetic enhancements in sci-fi may conjure up images of villains using their technologically augmented physical strength to harm people and gain power in communities. Or maybe you think of superheroes saving a city or town from bad guys. Today, the reality is much different. Such technology is used not to augment people’s body parts but to replace missing limbs and organs and treat congenital birth defects. Let’s take a look at where the technology is now and how it may be used in the future.

What Are Cybernetic Enhancements?

Face to face of a human and robot

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

There are currently five major types of cybernetic enhancements. Let’s take a look at what these are and how they are helping people today.

1

Gene Editing

Since the 1980s, we have heard promises of the ability to edit the human genome, adding improvements and using genetic engineering to produce humans free from genetic diseases or even with a particular eye or hair color. Thanks to CRISPR, the future is now here and we are able to edit genes. If we can discover what makes people so smart, tall, strong, or fast we can learn how to code an embryo’s DNA to create a designer child with genetic traits to set him or her up for success later in life.

2

Nootropics

Nootropics is a class of drug that affects your brain. This is different from your typical brain-altering drugs like DMT, LSD, and PCP. Nor is it an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication. Silicon Valley executives reportedly are taking an exotic cocktail of research chemicals and dietary supplements to give themselves an edge over the competition. However, it is currently unclear whether the self-reported memory and learning enhancements are caused by a placebo effect or if the medication is actually helping. Furthermore, no long-term studies have been done on the safety of these chemicals as they have not been around long enough.

3

Neurotechnology

Neurotechnology is one of the most difficult types of technology to work with because we are still learning how the brain works. The idea, however, is to improve our mental capacity, maybe one day creating super-intelligence. Currently, neurotechnology is being studied in the context of repairing damage in the brain. However, visionaries imagine a world where human intelligence will be integrated seamlessly with artificial intelligence, allowing people complete recall of every event they have ever experienced from songs they have heard only once to boardroom meetings.

4

Brain-Computer Interface

BCIs, or brain-computer interfaces are used to control artificial limbs for the disabled and are being tested as a communication method for those who cannot communicate because of spinal cord injuries. BCIs can help reverse paralysis by creating a neural bypass to allow the brain to communicate with the muscles directly.

5

Bionics and Prosthetics

Bionics and prosthetics are perhaps the most well known cybernetic enhancements we have today. You can see this is the Cybathlon with athletes called pilots competing in athletic competitions with powered prostheses rather than your run-of-the-mill prostheses powered only by human muscle.

Why Would People Want Cybernetic Enhancements?

Man facing a laptop is searching something on the internet and behind him is the people that inventing and building  robot

Image by IgorSuassuna from Pixabay

Why people would want cybernetic enhancements depends on their unique situation. These include war survivors, aging individuals suffering from the loss of memory or cognition, and people suffering from cancer.

Amputees

The LUKE Arm

Military Applications

Health Industry

The Color Blind

The Blind

What Does the Future of Cybernetic Enhancements Look Like?

Face of a woman but a body of a robot

Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

It is hard to imagine what the future of cybernetic enhancements will look like. Human augmentation does not appear in science fiction novels too frequently, perhaps because writers want their readers to relate to the characters, put themselves in the characters’ shoes, and really connect on an emotional level. It is easier to connect to a human with similar physical and mental abilities to you than a human who trades out his cybernetic parts like you upgrade the motor and transmission in your truck. However, the literature exists. Here are the 10 most common human upgrades in sci-fi, anime, manga, and video games.

  • Disease immunity
  • Telemicroscopic full-spectrum vision
  • Telepathy or brain-computer interfacing
  • Super strength
  • Improved appearance
  • Psychokinesis
  • Autopoiesis and allopoiesis
  • Flight
  • Superintelligence
  • Immortality

Immortality

Human Flight

Immunity

Conclusion

The future is here, and it is exciting. Executives are taking chemicals to enhance their mental capacity and memory. Former pilots are flying with jetpacks. Inventors are running at 25 miles per hour. All of this is thanks to cybernetic enhancements. As exciting as what technology can already do is wondering where it will take us in the future.Fortunately, the future of human augmentation looks promising. It can allow us to fly like a bird, protect us from diseases, treat us for cancer based on our individual needs, and perhaps give us everlasting life. Only time will tell what is in store for us and future generations but there is no doubt our quality of life will improve, and watching it unfold is exciting.


Featured Image by Tumisu from Pixabay