News that a new type of artificial pancreas has been developed does not surprise us.  Andrew Gregory covers it here for the Guardian,  but it’s the longer term trends that interest here .
The idea of artificial bits to replace failing organs of the human body is not new. It’s grown from primitive beginnings; think of the wooden legs and hands beloved of pirates and other pre-industrial types. The invention of devices like spectacles and hearing aids took the process a little further. A glance at Wikipedia reveals a veritable cornucopia of functioning body parts such as hearts, limbs, lungs and testes. Complex neurological engineering on things like eyes and brains is starting to break down the barriers between living tissue and technology. Advances in gene-editing techniques (LSS passim) take the whole process down to a more fundamental level.
The science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke speculated on species which, starting out as flesh and blood animals like ourselves, slowly transformed. Firstly into hybrid machine-biological entities, and finally into beings of pure energy, with unimaginable powers of reason and knowledge. If so, the old Homo sapiens branding may no loner be applicable. So how about some new names for a new being? Homo Cyborgensis? Homo terminatorensis? We’d love to learn your thoughts.
#prosthetics #genetic engineering #future #cyborg