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Ready for Cybernetics?
Ready for the Borg, the science fiction villains from Star Trek? You might be alive to see the first glimmer of its real life creation.
It all starts rather humbly with a tattoo that can that can read the body’s temperature. A team of researchers from the U.S., China and Singapore have developed a pliable patch that can be applied to the skin to read body temp.
“This is just the sort of technology that most captures my imagination,” wrote Faulkner. “Exciting possibilities extend out to any futurist's wildest dreams ... and nightmares.”
That’s because, he writes, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The next step is extending this cybernetic device to include other metrics, and then to extend the communication beyond just an interaction with a far-flung server.
“Why stop at communications between some far off data center and your car and communications from biometric sensors to your doctor's computers? The real optimal end point is to be rid of silicon computing and the associated data centers altogether,” he wrote.
“The individual human, or animal or plant becomes a compute/network/storage device in its own right,” he added. “Communications could then take place in the network that is all of the biosphere directly between organisms as willed and then even encrypted to pass around the globe hopping from organism to organism without their knowledge. Information becomes like the most virulent virus imaginable, with no immune system and the greatest of speed.”
With the rise of devices such as that which take body temperature readings, it is no stretch to imagine that machine-to-machine technology will expand such uses. At first early adopters will play with the technology, then there will be efficiency gains from it and competition and convenience will spur adoption. Eventually, like smartphones, cybernetics technology could become almost mandatory to function in society.
But, I’m biased. The Borg have always been a favorite villain. Maybe they will turn out to be better than I thought—maybe my daughter will one day be among the first round of truly cybernetic citizens (I hope not).
As often is the case with science fiction, however, more likely is that something on the order of cybernetics will happen—but it will be different than we imagine today. We don’t have Star Trek communicators, for instance, but we do all carry smartphones that are suspiciously similar.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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