The line in the sand: is bio-tech a bridge too far?

X-ray of a Grindhouse Wetware developer’s hand with two magnets and a Northstar implant. Image: Grindhouse Wetware/Facebook

How much are we willing to embrace technology?

In this day and age the answer from most people is probably, “A lot.” Most of the fastest growing jobs involve staring at computer screens for hours on end; when we’re done with work, most people head home and stare at another screen for hours on end, but now for their own enjoyment.

But what if that technology wasn’t a part of your life, but it became a fundamental way to live?

That’s a notion that’s driving bio-tech, a new form of tech and research that’s really gained a lot of traction over the last few years.

Bio-tech involves things like technological implants. That can mean anything from a microchip to wiring to any number of things that haven’t even been considered by modern means yet. People will implant these things in the hopes of making the idea of being human even better.

We already see this sort of thing happen in medicine with things like pacemakers and 3-D printed organs. But what if your in the market for something more… recreational?

Want to be able to tell directions by just placing your hand in the air, allowing the compass inside the back of your hand to point you in the right direction? Or maybe have your credit card information stored in your finger to make it so that your information is always on hand (no pun intended)?

We’ve even seen things as radical as robotic hands for amputees that are getting more powerful and responsive than ever. Once they go consumer, how many people are we going see covet those things? They may even sacrifice their real limbs to get them.

These are real things that people are developing to try and change how everyone lives.

For some people that’s pretty scary. Hollywood is full of movies that paint a pretty bleak picture of what happens to humankind when we choose to blur the lines between organisms and technology too much. If all we ever try to do is enhance ourselves, does that mean all the people are, that all living things are, is parts? Replaceable and upgradable pieces that are disposable once the new models come out?

But on the other side of that argument, it’s clear that technology has made life better. Not just for people who are suffering from physical ailments, either. Things that we take for granted now like shoes and glasses are all things that before would have felt unheard of inhuman just because they went against nature.

So how much are you willing to embrace technology? It all comes down to wear you draw the line between improving quality of life and the incessant pursuit of quality to the point that we forsake all life.

For more, check out a recent piece on Vice’s Motherboard channel.

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