One subset of robotics pertains to cyborgs: “cybernetic organisms” that have both organic and biomechanical parts.
The artificial limbs that enabled Oscar Pistorius to leap from the Paralympics to able-bodied international competition replaced appendages he lost as a child. But some cybernetic technologies, such as the additional fingers and arms being developed by MIT engineers (below) could either compensate for disabilities or enhance the able-bodied “norm.”
Your Futurist Friday assignment, watch these videos and consider:
- Are there tasks you accomplish, at work or at home, that would be made easier if you had additional arms or fingers?
- Can you imagine a time when it is normal, even expected, for people to wear technology that enhances their strength, mobility, even their memory?
- In a country that values a “level playing field” when it comes to sport, how will devices such as these disrupt the standards by which we judge what is “fair” and equitable?
- In a country that struggles with the entrenched disparities of wealth that already stratify our society, will such devices widen the achievement and opportunity gap between those who can afford enhancements, and those who can’t?