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The man of the future, re-visualized

Larry Rosenthal shared something, and as is his wont, he added a brief comment. In this case, his comment was “geekbot 3000.”

I have a slightly different view about the post that Rosenthal shared, a post from the Future and Cosmos blog entitled The Man of the Future Visualized. The author, M Mahin, took some time to gather up the latest thinking about how technology can enhance our bodies.

And before some of you complain that cyborg body enhancements should never be pursued, remember that we’ve been enhancing our bodies for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. For example, I wear glasses. Now my glasses may not handle Foursquare checkins, but they allow my body to do things that it could not otherwise do. To a point, I have no problem with enhancing my body to make it better.

To a point.

However, when deciding whether or not to implement a particular body enhancement, it is wise to look at both the advantages and the disadvantages of such a move. Now perhaps it was beyond M Mahin’s scope to analyze this, but it’s certainly something that you should do before you plunk down your six million dollars to buy the Cyborg belt and its accessories.

Let me look at two examples of body enhancements cited by Mahin. Here’s one of them:

The Cyborg Belt … serves as a monitor of all of the future man’s bodily functions. The future man does not have to go to a doctor for a physical examination to find out how his body is doing. He need merely look down at the vital signs display on his belt. If there is any medical problem such as high blood pressure, cancer, or high cholesterol, the vital signs indicator on the Cyborg Belt will alert the man with a flash of warning messages.

There’s only one thing that is not mentioned. Yes, the vital signs indicator will alert the man to medical issues. But others will be alerted also.

You can guarantee that if some entity is going to pay a lot of money to implant a medical monitoring system in your body, then at a very minimum all of the readings will go to your health insurance provider.

Why? Because your health provider will NEED this information to take care of you properly. After all, you are not the trained medical professional; your health insurance provider is.

And it’s also a near-guarantee that the readings will also go to your national medical governmental agency – in my country, the Department of Health and Human Services. Or perhaps to the Food and Drug Administration. Or perhaps to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Why? Because various government agencies are mandated by law to ensure that citizens take care of themselves properly. In past generations, governments could pass laws (or try to pass laws) to accomplish these goals – ending child labor, prohibiting alcoholic beverages, prohibiting the purchase or large sugared soft drinks. Now with a Cyborg Belt, government agencies will actually have the power to enforce these laws. Smoke that crack, eat that double cheeseburger…you WILL be corrected.

But that pales in comparison to one of the other body enhancements:

The orange arrow points to the future man’s Supercard. The Supercard is like an identification card, a credit card, a bank ATM card, and a passport, all rolled into one. The Supercard is embedded into the future man’s flesh, so there is no chance of him losing it. It is good that the future man cannot lose his Supercard, because if he lost it, it would be impossible for him to function in the complicated society in which he lives. Since every future citizen has his Supercard embedded into his flesh above his wrist, there is no danger of one person pretending to be another.

Now if you’ll excuse me for a moment, I am going to quote a passage from the Biblical book of Revelation – specifically, Revelation 13:16-17:

Also it [the second beast] causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.

Now I realize that many of my readers do not believe that this is a divinely inspired sentence, and that even those who do believe so have a number of interpretations of what these words actually mean.

So, bearing in mind that there are over six hundred and sixty views of the words above, what’s wrong with such a system?

A universal mandatory financial system such as this will only work if the governing body managing it is good. Now the Bible, of course, takes it as a given that this particular financial system is being run by someone who is VERY bad. And a non-Christian who happens to be a libertarian or an anarchist would also conclude that such a system is a recipe for disaster.

But even if you believe that one world government is a good thing, it is clear that such a system would need a huge number of built in safeguards to prevent abuse, since one little infiltration of the system could create economic chaos, and could literally result in death and destruction.

You know the safeguards that Microsoft has built in to ensure that the monthly Windows patch distributions don’t turn all of our computers into terroristic zombies? Well, a worldwide universal financial system would need safeguards that are six hundred and sixty orders (or more) of magnitude beyond what Microsoft does today.

And that’s just two examples. If you go through the entire list of body enhancements, you can find positive aspects to them…and negative aspects to them.

Of course, this is true of any technological advance. They all come with positives and negatives. But before we all become Steve Austins, we need to consider the ramifications of such a move.

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