Technology is progressing at an arguably faster rate than ever before. Innumerable advancements have changed daily life in ways that make almost everything convenient, from being able to cook noodles in a microwave to smart phones which quite literally put the world at our fingertips. But does there come a point where technology becomes too advanced, where these improvements are too much? Should technology be able to surpass natural human evolution?
An article recently published on businessfinancenews.com titled Men Doing Evolution’s Homework outlines the story of Neil Harbisson, a man who was born color blind. Because of technology, “today he can distinguish between 360 colors and also has the ability to detect infrared light.” While being able to distinguish between only 360 colors puts Harbisson on the same level as the average human eye, the technology gives him this ability in an extremely unique way. Another article, from Business Insider focusing on how “a new, game-changing technology can put electronics directly into the brain,” explains that “the implanted antenna detects colors and assigns a tone to each color, allowing Harbisson to ‘hear’ color through bone conduction.” So, the technology allows Neil Harbisson to perform a normal human function in an abnormal way; is this good or bad? Clearly it’s good that this technology has solved a medical problem he was born with and likely thought he would never find a solution for. But could it perhaps be bad that this technology can be used to simply enhance already healthy people who are not color blind? “Evolution works slow, humans have begun to use intelligence and have started to take over the process that took natural selection millions of years. Humans aim to transcend.”
Advancing technology has surpassed evolution in more ways than just improving eyesight beyond what is natural. A professor named Kevin Warwick “became the first person [to] graft an RFID chip under the skin in his arm. He has connected himself to the computer systems at the University of Reading, which enables him to open doors and to turn switches. His tweaks go as far as connecting his wife’s nervous system to his own, which gives him the ability to feel what she was feeling.” There is no arguing such advancements are truly incredible and not long ago seemed only possible in movies and fiction novels. But I find it hard not to ask, ‘Does there come a point where the advancements go too far? And if so, where is that line drawn?’
It’s difficult to say if that tipping point happens when technology advances faster than we can find uses for, because there will almost always be someone who can come up with an ingenious way to put new technology to work. What seems more accurate is when the line between human and machine blurs. Not only is technology coming to take the place of certain jobs as robots become more human-like, but humans are also becoming more like robots. The cyborg movement is upon us (as silly as it may sound), and though it seems more science-fiction than reality, the technology is already here.
While we are dedicated to improving RFID technology and expanding its uses here at Radianse, “implants” are not in our current bag of tricks (and, personally, I hope they won’t be any time soon). To put it simply, we track people and things. Is it possible that Radianse is heading in the the same direction of other technologies: becoming too advanced, a “Big Brother” watching over everyone when we all become cyborgs with our superhero implants? I don’t think so. And this is primarily because we aim to provide actionable intelligence for those who need it, not enhance those who don’t.
So what do you think? Is it possible for technology to improve too quickly for its (and our) own good? Or should we all become advocates of the cyborg movement? Should technology surpass natural human evolution? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you think! Or for more information give us a call at (603) 994-2200. We’d enjoy hearing from you!
(1) Business Insider | http://www.businessinsider.com/technology-inject-electronics-into-brain-2015-6
(2) Business Finance News | http://www.businessfinancenews.com/23952-men-doing-evolutions-homework/