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Archive for the ‘cyborgs’ category

Nov 3, 2018

Nerve-on-a-Chip Makes Neuroprosthetics Possible

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, neuroscience

Neuroprosthetics are implants that contain an arrangement of multi-contact electrodes capable of substituting for certain nerve functionalities in the human body. This technology has the potential to work wonders for people who have been injured or paralyzed, able to restore the sense of touch for amputees, help someone who has been paralyzed to walk again by stimulating their spinal cords, or silence the nerve activity of people suffering from chronic pain. This would provide many people with a greater degree of mobility, functionality, and a higher overall quality of life.

Stimulating nerves at the right place and the right time is essential for implementing effective treatments, but remains a challenge due to implants’ inability to record neural activity precisely. “Our brain sends and receives millions of nerve impulses, but we typically implant only about a dozen electrodes in patients. This type of interface often doesn’t have the resolution necessary to match the complex patterns of information exchange in a patient’s nervous system,” says Sandra Gribi, a PhD student at the Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Neuroprosthetic Technology.

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Oct 23, 2018

Biohackers Are Implanting Everything From Magnets to Sex Toys

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, bitcoin, business, cybercrime/malcode, cyborgs, ethics, health, internet, robotics/AI, sex, transhumanism

Biohacking raises a host of ethical issues, particularly about data protection and cybersecurity as virtually every tech gadget risks being hacked or manipulated. And implants can even become cyberweapons, with the potential to send malicious links to others. “You can switch off and put away an infected smartphone, but you can’t do that with an implant,” says Friedemann Ebelt, an activist with Digitalcourage, a German data privacy and internet rights group.


Patrick Kramer sticks a needle into a customer’s hand and injects a microchip the size of a grain of rice under the skin. “You’re now a cyborg,” he says after plastering a Band-Aid on the small wound between Guilherme Geronimo’s thumb and index finger. The 34-year-old Brazilian plans to use the chip, similar to those implanted in millions of cats, dogs, and livestock, to unlock doors and store a digital business card.

Kramer is chief executive officer of Digiwell, a Hamburg startup in what aficionados call body hacking—digital technology inserted into people. Kramer says he’s implanted about 2,000 such chips in the past 18 months, and he has three in his own hands: to open his office door, store medical data, and share his contact information. Digiwell is one of a handful of companies offering similar services, and biohacking advocates estimate there are about 100,000 cyborgs worldwide. “The question isn’t ‘Do you have a microchip?’ ” Kramer says. “It’s more like, ‘How many?’ We’ve entered the mainstream.”

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Oct 15, 2018

To be – or not to be – an enhanced human

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, law, wearables

Should there be any ethical or legal boundaries to technologies that enhance humans? I pondered this last week as I read an online article about the recent trials of upper-body “exoskeletons” by production line staff at Volkswagen and at Chrysler-Fiat. These lightweight wearable frames greatly reduce the physical strain of repetitive overhead assembly work, and will be an important industrial enhancement as workforces age.

We tend to think of medical advancement in terms of better cures for diseases and recovery from injury. Enhancement however goes beyond therapy, and extends us in ways that some may argue are unnatural. Some human enhancements are of course also pre-emptive therapeutic interventions. Vaccination is both an enhancement of our immune system, and a therapeutic intervention. However, in cases where there is little preventative justification, what degree of enhancement is acceptable?

We drink coffee expecting our work performance to improve. We accept non-elective operations, breast implants, orthodontic improvements and other interventions which improve our perception of ourselves. We generally accept such enhancements with little question. However devices and drugs that improve athletic performance can lead us to question their legitimacy.

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Oct 5, 2018

A Neural Network, Connected to a Human Brain, Could Mean More Advanced Prosthetics

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI

Training a neural net to decode a person’s brain signals and send them to a robotic limb led to better, precise control over prosthetics.

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Sep 29, 2018

Meet the B.C. man who implants technology to increase his physical capabilities News

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cryonics, cyborgs, mobile phones, robotics/AI, supercomputing, transhumanism

But where advocates like Foxx mostly see the benefits of transhumanism, some critics say it raises ethical concerns in terms of risk, and others point out its potential to exacerbate social inequality.


Foxx says humans have long used technology to make up for physical limitations — think of prosthetics, hearing aids, or even telephones. More controversial technology aimed to enhance or even extend life, like cryogenic freezing, is also charted terrain.

The transhumanist movement isn’t large, but Foxx says there is a growing awareness and interest in technology used to enhance or supplement physical capability.

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Sep 26, 2018

The Ethics Of Transhumanism And The Cult Of Futurist Biotech

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, ethics, sex, transhumanism

Certainly, there are those in the movement who espouse the most extreme virtues of transhumanism such as replacing perfectly healthy body parts with artificial limbs. But medical ethicists raise this and other issues as the reason why transhumanism is so dangerous to humans when what is considered acceptable life-enhancement has virtually no checks and balances over who gets a say when we “go too far.” For instance, Kevin Warwick of Coventry University, a cybernetics expert, asked the Guardian, “What is wrong with replacing imperfect bits of your body with artificial parts that will allow you to perform better – or which might allow you to live longer?” while another doctor stated that he would have “no part” in such surgeries. There is, after all, a difference between placing a pacemaker or performing laser eye surgery on the body to prolong human life and lend a greater degree of quality to human life, and that of treating the human body as a tabula rasa upon which to rewrite what is, effectively, the natural course of human life.


While many https://whatistranshumanism.org/#what-is-a-transhuman” target=”_blank” rel=” nofollow noopener noreferrer” data-ga-track=” ExternalLink: https://whatistranshumanism.org/#what-is-a-transhuman”> transhumanist ideals remain purely theoretical in scope, what is clear is that females are the class of humans who are being theorised out of social and political discourse. Indeed, much of the social philosophy surrounding transhumanist projects sets out to eliminate gender in the human species through the application of advanced biotechnology and assisted reproductive technologies, ultimately inspired by Shulamith Firestone’s https://teoriaevolutiva.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/fireston…lution.pdf” target=”_blank” rel=” nofollow noopener noreferrer” data-ga-track=” ExternalLink: https://teoriaevolutiva.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/fireston…lution.pdf”> The Dialectic of Sex and much of Donna Haraway’s writing on https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/currentstudents/under…sm_in_the_…pdf” target=”_blank” rel=” nofollow noopener noreferrer” data-ga-track=” ExternalLink: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/currentstudents/under…sm_in_the_…pdf”> cyborgs. From parthenogenesis to the creation of artificial wombs, this movement seeks to remove the specificity of not gender, but sex, through the elision of medical terminology and procedures which portend to advance a technological human-cyborg built on the ideals of a post-sex model.

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Sep 22, 2018

‘We will get regular body upgrades’: what will humans look like in 100 years?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, neuroscience, transhumanism

A new fascinating feature is out by The Guardian magazine (via writer Richard Godwin) on the future of the human body. Six of us are interviewed and/or wrote about our take on the future. Fun reading! My mini-essay is in this: https://www.theguardian.com/…/regular-body-upgrades-what-wi… #transhumanism


Mechanical exoskeletons, bionic limbs, uploadable brains: six experts’ visions of 2118.

By

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Sep 19, 2018

Soft wearable exosuit automatically tunes its assistance levels on the fly

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, robotics/AI, wearables

A team of scientists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute has just presented its latest creation in the field of robotic exoskeletons, a fully wearable soft exosuit that automatically tweaks its level of assistance on the fly.

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Sep 18, 2018

DARPA Announces $2 Billion Campaign to Develop Next Wave of AI Technologies

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, military, robotics/AI

Over its 60-year history, DARPA has played a leading role in the creation and advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that have produced game-changing capabilities for the Department of Defense. Starting in the 1960s, DARPA research shaped the first wave of AI technologies, which focused on handcrafted knowledge, or rule-based systems capable of narrowly defined tasks. While a critical step forward for the field, these systems were fragile and limited. Starting in the 1990s, DARPA helped usher in a second wave of AI machine learning technologies that created statistical pattern recognizers from large amounts of data. The agency’s funding of natural language understanding, problem solving, navigation and perception technologies has led to the creation of self-driving cars, personal assistants, and near-natural prosthetics, in addition to a myriad of critical and valuable military and commercial applications. However, these second wave AI technologies are dependent on large amounts of high quality training data, do not adapt to changing conditions, offer limited performance guarantees, and are unable to provide users with explanations of their results.

To address the limitations of these first and second wave AI technologies, DARPA seeks to explore new theories and applications that could make it possible for machines to adapt to changing situations. DARPA sees this next generation of AI as a third wave of technological advance, one of contextual adaptation. To better define a path forward, DARPA is announcing today a multi-year investment of more than $2 billion in new and existing programs called the “AI Next” campaign. Agency director, Dr. Steven Walker, officially unveiled the large-scale effort during closing remarks today at DARPA’s D60 Symposium taking place Wednesday through Friday at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

“With AI Next, we are making multiple research investments aimed at transforming computers from specialized tools to partners in problem-solving,” said Dr. Walker. “Today, machines lack contextual reasoning capabilities, and their training must cover every eventuality, which is not only costly, but ultimately impossible. We want to explore how machines can acquire human-like communication and reasoning capabilities, with the ability to recognize new situations and environments and adapt to them.”

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Sep 11, 2018

ELiSE — Generative engineering with bionic lightweight design for 3D-printing

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, cyborgs, engineering, space, transhumanism

The German start-up company ELiSE creates the DNA of a technical part. Based on the DNA, automated design processes are used to find the best solution which considers all predefined constraints and which is produced by additive manufacturing. Meet ELiSE at ESA’s Start-ups Zone powered by ESA space solutions at IAC 2018.

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