Will Your Grandchildren be Cyborgs?

The goal of evolution is survival. With the earth’s health declining faster than we can keep up with, integrating technology into our bodies might be what it takes for us to survive on our dying planet. It may sound like science fiction, but the future of cyborgs walking the earth may be closer than you expect. In fact, people have already started biohacking, or augmenting their bodies with technology. Cyborgs exist today.

Are cyborgs the next evolution of humans?

Human and animal evolution has traditionally been defined as “the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth” (Bing Dictionary). In nature we see this as the addition or eradication of certain muscles, abilities, or tissues, leading to us being better adapted to our also-changing surroundings. But now, we have a unique ability we did not have before: the ability to expedite our evolution and make conscious evolutionary decisions.

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Neil Harbisson became a cyborg in 2004

Take Neil Harbisson, for example, an artist who has a technological implant in his skull that uses audible vibrations to convey information. Harbisson identifies as a cyborg and is the first human to be officially recognized as such by government. He considers his antenna to be a body part, and says that he became a cyborg when the antenna united with his body to form a new sense – he can hear colours.

“It’s not feeling that you’re wearing technology,” he said in an interview with CNN, “it’s feeling that you are technology.”

Aside from “cyborg,” can’t we also call Harbisson a technologically evolved human being? If we revisit the definition of evolution, we see it fits: Harbisson has developed and diversified from earlier forms – the only difference is he elected to do so, he wasn’t born with the new evolutionary trait.

Which begs the question, is it really evolution if it wasn’t automatic? Will biotechnology ever become a part of human biology? Maybe one day biotechnology will advance to a point where it fuses with our genetic makeup and new humans are born (or grown) with innate technological components, as natural cyborgs.

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