Function x Form: Should we strive to keep looking human?
Hello everyone, I would like to ask something that has been bothering me for some time.
For a while now I have been building up a business proposal to start a company dedicated to biohacking and augmentation, hoping to be one of the first in the market. I will make a topic for that later when I feel I am ready to pitch the idea to start-ups and investors. But while working on that I came up with a pertinent
Every time I started to think about really advanced augmentation (New legs, arms, eyes, organs) I saw the obvious difficulty I would have to make the mainstream public accept the idea. After all, even if this new mechanical arms let me punch with the strength of a world record strongman and these new legs run at 30km/h, why would I need it?
Then it hit me: We shouldn’t just try to improve the design, we should try to create something new. Instead of legs that just look exactly like our regular ones but a little sturdier, if you could have a completely new design that is even more efficient? Maybe some things like a foot that can rearrange itself to a different shape, so you have different settings to climbing, swimming, running and plain walking.
Hands that have fingers that split in half, giving you double the amount of
appendages to hold onto stuff, or a hand that changes into something else
altogether. Maybe tools like picks and knifes.
Eyes that see into normally invisible spectrums: Infrared, ultraviolet, gamma, radio.
Organs with amazing new capacities: Lungs that can handle 4 packs of cigarettes a day and filter all the bad stuff away, leaving only the nicotine to pass. Livers and kidneys capable of processing more toxins in an hour than their biological counterparts in a whole day.
Why keep these augmentations as simple reproductions of the originals with a sturdier material? They can be so much better!
Sure, it is all very farfetched. It would take at least 70 years of constant R&D to get to such level, but all good ideas start as just that: Ideas. Besides, I am
totally not the first person to think of such a thing. You guys know that.
I was quite pleased with my line of thinking until I came back to the reason I started it and realized how much I had failed.
As amazing as these things sounds, they would not look human. At all.
People with facial piercings are shunned in society already (Tough that comes less from the piercing itself and more from the idea of type or person that chooses to have a piercing, but the point stands), imagine what sort of shunning a man with a leg with a forward bending knee would face? Or a person with hands of pure metal? Or one who’s left eye look exactly like a Borg eyepiece?
As most of you can tell from looking at my profile pic, I am a huge fan of the Adeptus Mechanicus from WH40K. When I was coming up with ideas for projects, I kept thinking about stuff that would not look out of place with them. But they barely look human.
Has anyone ever done studies or research on the impact such thing would have? Even a little pondering? I can imagine quite the social division happening. I don’t really see the human body as a form I wish to keep if there is a better alternative, but I am pretty sure the average person would freak out at the idea of having asymmetrical eyes, or arms with alien looking hands.
I think that, even though it is something that is so far away from our reality today, we should already start thinking about this stuff.
Political parties would have to start covering what they would and wouldn't allow should they get into government. Parents who discover their children are experimenting on themselves in secret would throw them out or take them to a 'specialist'. Activist movements would exist to argue for the right to modify our bodies how we want.
Actual REAL biohacking like you are talking about has already had precursors. How about LASIK? That's an advanced body modifying technique with benefits. No drama. Cochlear implants for the deaf? No drama. Liposuction and plastic surgery? Moderate to low drama.
My point is that these procedures will always start off as a method to restore something lost, unless you're doing it yourself. The procedures will be slow and spaced out, and no one is going to complain about a procedure to implant a neurally linked speech processor to help someone with severe aphasia.
"After a lot of thought on if what I want to say is fair and justifiable, here we go. IMHO in civilization there are clicks of people with similar skills. Maybe not everyone likes everyone else, but they have that comment thread and therefore make a flock. Every so often another click comes along that threatens there flock. Like welderes to the a assembly line tech, it scares them and as the wheel would turn they feel threatened by this new flock. We aren't just another flock we are a wolf pack, we threaten (by testing the limits) all fields of science, technology, ethics, philosophy, and even who we are as humanity. People who do things like this will be accepted we do break molds but it takes time. While this could forever remain a underground thing that is only know to few who dare peer into the window, but who knows only time will tell. People here are really the last breath of a breed that is not extinct, but rapidly heading that way. People who seem just smart enough to not get themselves killed on the surface, however once you dig deeper you see they have a theory and a ideal (I would even go as far as to call it a constitution) that keeps them from getting ourselves or others killed. People like this think openly about and to the world around them. That has proven itself to be the greatest fear of humanity through out history. In the end we are all wolfs or sheep, there is no in the middle. If you are curious as to what I mean by the breaking of the mold look at the civil rights movement or even the dame American Revolution, those all had massive social impacts, none of them also happened overnight. Wow that sounded like some new age rant....
To Long Didn't Read?
If you care to much about what others think of you or how they look at you, your in the wrong place. Like I said above we are the last of a dying breed. You (as has anyone who has taken a sincere interest in any fringe culture) have taken at least the first step to escaping the mold and for that I congratulate you. Humanity has always wanted to move forward and it will, just slowly vary vary slowly. If you want the machine to move faster go find away to paint it in a positive light. Like saveing babies or altering the economy for the better, get creative.
Felt like it was relevant.... Look at the "social reaction to implants"- thread
machinery-centric jobs could start requiring augmentation for workers to
keep up -- how is that going to factor into society?"
It arguably already is, and has been. How many people get into nootropics (or coke) because they either want to sleep less and work more, or they want to get some form of edge at the office? Long-haul truckers don't stay awake through force of will and CB chit-chat.
The change doesn't have to come as an explicit demand from the higher ups, they just have to create a workplace where you can't compete unless you're enhanced, and count on the employees to make their own decisions. Granted, there are other decisions the employees could make (unionize, sabotage, quit, etc.), but as long as the choices are "work" and "die in a box under a bridge", people will pretty much always choose work.