COMING AGE OF AUGMENTATIONS

I’m going to make a prediction here, that during the following 10 years, our life and the concept of what it means to be human will change drastically.

  • We have virtual reality technologies coming up that will transfer parts of our lives to virtual worlds.
  • We have augmented reality which will enhance our real world experience.
  • We have wearable technology that monitors you and gives you tools to make your life healthier and better.
  • We have augmentations that are used at the moment for repairing the fragile human body.

All of these technologies are enabling us to augment our world and life, but what does it all mean? This writing series will explore all of these different branches and what’s their cons and pros towards our life. Let’s first look at some crucial questions before jumping in to the actual technologies.

EQUITY OR EQUILITY?

  • Equality means that we give everyone the same rights/benefits regardless of the background. This will work if we have same starting point for life.
    • Example: For the same work you will get 500€ pay whatever your experience,  education, skills are.
  • Equity means that we give a person what they need to be treated with equitability. Equity is the actual way to ensure we can create equality, as we need to find a way to give all people the same starting deck for life or during life.
    • Example: In equity we ensure that everyone has what it’s needed to reach the same level where others are. Education is the key here and the more it’s influenced by science the better.

It’s a big moral question to ask if all this is just an utopia –> Can we reach a situation where we would be born as equal? And even if not born, but still providing everyone the same prerequisites to live and prosper. Can our world manage a situation where we would all have the same standards?

Our world isn’t equal… I hope it would, but we are not there. Our world spins out in different cycles basing on where you are looking from.  Even when thinking of Finland where I’ve grown up and a lot of things have progressed from the 80’s, it seems we are still afraid of giving gay people equal rights(in discussion at the moment in Finnish parliament) or quoting the bible in our parliament to state your point of view. So even on an national level it’s almost impossible to give the same standards of living, well what about the whole world then? Cultures and nations evolve in different speed and there is no way to tell who is advanced or being left behind. It’s a matter of perspective and what you value in life.

To fix these problems we have political acts, organisations, etc who are working to bring us all to the same level when it comes to equality. My fear is that these acts won’t be even close to the goal when the augmented industry brings us to the next challenge and a potentialTechnological Apartheid.

FROM REPAIRING TO ENHANCING

How will our world be affected when augmentation business changes from repairing to enhancing healthy humans. Currently we are able to fix veterans who have lost their legs and replace the missing legs with mechanical legs. We can make blind people see. We can make the body stay alive by augmenting them with artificially created organs. You do remember still when plastic surgery was a big no no, and today it’s not a tabu anymore.

We have a big moral question on our hand that can broaden our problem of equality. If augmentation becomes a luxury item that only the middle and rich class can afford to augment themselves  –> We will have a new way of classifying humanity and to prevent us from being equal.

WHAT MAKES ME HUMAN?

How much can we replace from our body to be still called human? What defines my humanity when the only thing still organic would be my brains inside an artificial body? What if we create the way for our digital immortality by transferring our conscience to a server where our mind and thoughts would live as digital bits. Perhaps it’s not about if I’m human, but more about being Human 2.0 –> A transcendent being which has taken evolution into it’s own hands. No more gender, age, sex etc to make you feel different, but a being above those norms that create inequality.

NEXT STOP VIRTUAL REALITY

Next stop and post will be about the cons and pros of virtual reality, but I’d love to hear your comments about what defines humanity and can there be a equal humanity at some point.

Juha

Published by Juha Petteri Falck