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Benefits and Downsides to Becoming a Cyborg

An increasingly larger number of stories featuring artificially intelligent robots have been scribed into books then featured in cinemas with each stage of technological advancement throughout modern, industrialized, society1). Metallic humanoid figures, cyborgs, and androids are a medium which not only let people see experiences they might not be able to live through in, ordinary, everyday life but also express anxiety about side effects which result from accelerating technological progress. Many movies within fictional, sci-fi genres, which contain humanoid robot figures also allow people to see themselves through third person lenses since sentient machines reflect man’s deepest fears and desires. As more man made technologies become smaller, portable, and distributed amongst the masses, hopes as well as fears about integrating machines into the human body2) have also spread throughout the alternative media and beyond. Prosthetics3) such as hearing aids, artificial ligaments for injured organs, and visual aids are just a few advances which have many pros and cons but, as high technology becomes cheaper and easier to access, many questions also remain about whether integrating nano-scale computing technologies into human biology is a wise path to take overtime.

Safety and ethical concerns about merging technology with flesh then uploading consciousness into computer codes4) also remain unanswered since substances, frequencies, and chemicals with varying properties can subtly effect a person’s health overtime5). Even though no one I know of has ever has become a cyborg, knowing the benefits and downsides to being one, before inserting machines into humans becomes commonplace, will become much more important over the next few decades as high technologies get tinier. Since many people are already medicated6) with prescription drugs, anti-depressants, and psychedelics for disorders, which can also be alleviated simply through healthy dieting, exercise, then challenging one’s mind, exploring opportunities as well as pitfalls to biological augmentation through machines could reduce much suffering which might occur over the long run as over the counter hardware organs become commonplace.

One possible benefit that anyone who augments themselves through machinery may experience is an ability to accomplish more tasks in smaller amounts of time since they won’t need to eat or sleep anymore. The potential benefits of not having to sleep are nearly endless since people who can remain awake for more than twenty four hours every week could acquire much more knowledge than an average flesh, blood, and bone human. Anyone who decides to augment their minds and bodies through high technology could, in theory, spend late nights studying for challenging exams then learning skills which may take months or years for a normal person to learn since they wouldn't need tons of coffee to keep up with insomniac androids. One potential downside to not needing sleep is that cyborgs may not be able to dream like people do. Many studies also show that dreaming is beneficial to long term health since it can help people subconsciously work through problems or issues they may experience throughout their, conscious, waking life7). Even though it may be possible for robots to dream, no one really knows whether they’d benefit much from dreaming since little to no research has been done to show if intelligent machines can learn from dreams.

Another benefit, and downside, to becoming more robotic is that feelings and emotions could be programmed to shut off with greater ease and less friction. One possible advantage of having an artificial nervous system is that concentration on complex tasks which involve decisive critical analysis would be largely improved.Errors which happen because of mistakes in fast paced work environments could also be corrected easier in order to increase efficiency wherever it’s needed. I personally don’t see many issues with robots being able to fully shut off emotions on queue but do think that problems could arise as machines become exponentially intelligent and emotionally complex. Emotionless robots also wouldn’t be very different from individuals who use psychedelics and anti-depressants like crutches to overcome anxiety which should, instead, be fully felt, experienced, then overcome, or transformed organically, through productive mental activities like painting, writing, sports, healthy conversation, or running. Furthermore, cyborg’s who aren’t able to feel many feelings may not be able to develop healthy emotional connections with humans8)-39:30 because of the fact that they can completely ignore uncomfortable emotions rather than listen to what their intuition tells them about relationships they have with their external environment. Since very little is still known about how even human emotions function, building robots with mutable emotional states could prove to be very challenging over the long run.

Replacing body parts which wear out overtime is another con to becoming a cyborg even if artificial organ prices drop overtime. In humans, body parts usually wear down through aging, bad hygiene, or random misfortune, but anyone who decides to become more machine than man through organ replacements, or by uploading their mind into computers, could artificially extend their life for centuries as long as the machines which keep them alive continue functioning. On the other hand, having more real organs than fake ones makes it easier for healthy people to remain healthier overtime as long as they eat well, exercise, and purse an emotionally wholesome lifestyle since they won’t need to worry about where their body parts get manufactured whenever old ones wear down.

One more double edge sword to becoming a cyborg is that a person’s mind could be connected to near infinite amounts of knowledge through the internet. Since many more devices will likely function online9) in the future, it’s possible that people who upload their minds into machines could access just about any fact or opinion that’s ever been written or said, in milliseconds, without lifting a finger. This perk, like not having to sleep, has obvious benefits since a person would be able to display much more intelligence than an average flesh and blood homo sapien. They’d have access to libraries of near endless data streams which get updated daily but ease of access would also come at price since being online for large portions of time could make cyborgs susceptible to malware, viruses, and nefarious hackers. This is something flesh and blood humans don’t have to worry about, for now, since their brains aren’t physically connected to the internet and they can shut it all off at any time10). Even though many people aren’t able to recall facts as quickly as machines11), the fact that human brains don’t have to constantly worry about being spied on then hacked into could influence more people to not augment their bodies with high technology when the choice to do so comes.

No matter how much machines advance, culture, thoughts, and behavior, will always be mirrored then amplified by emerging technologies. As machines become more like living beings, human values will play an increasingly important role in influencing paths mankind takes as he looks within in order to shoot for the stars. It’s also possible that intelligent machines could be the last invention ever made if man already fails to understand enough about himself even though many great strides have already been made to do so through art, sciences, math, spirituality, and philosophy. Of course, only time will tell whether mankind masters machines by mastering himself or whether machines will master man in the long run.

Science | Health | Technology


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