I know I would

The weekend essay in the Wall Street Journal called Bionic Brains and Beyond by Daniel H. Wilson is worth the time to read. Science meets human spirit (a theme of mine, I know) and the results are astonishing. I guess I’ve not noticed or been paying attention but the advances in prosthetic engineering is incredible. Dilemmas though abound as now many question the very definition of the word human. If machines are implanted in humans, for whatever reason, does this mean the individual fails to meet the definition? I don’t struggle with this at all. I see this as just another human advancement that will require time for our intellects to process and reconcile. I boil it down to this. If artificial means can be used to allow a disabled person to walk, a blind person to begin seeing, or a deaf person to hear, I say that’s a cause worth supporting. Perhaps I trust science too much or maybe it’s because I don’t care to watch sci-fi movies that unfailingly tell the centuries-old story of humans up against the soulless power of machines, but I just don’t think it’s going to be a bad thing. Don’t those movies always end happily anyway. 🙂

Or maybe it’s because we have a friend who had his leg amputated and now, much to his relief, carries on a reasonably comfortable life with a modern prosthetic that allows him to get back to work and function almost as he always had. Maybe it’s also because at an event recently I met a guy named Greg Westlake. He plays on the Olympic gold medal and world champion Canadian men’s sledge hockey team. For the unaware, specially designed sledges (sleds) allow the disabled to play ice hockey. You’d think with those shiny sports credentials, the guy might have an ego problem. Not him, or at least it wasn’t apparent to me. During my chat with him he seemed genuinely thrilled that I even knew about the sport, let alone who he was. So when we humans struggle with enabling technology, we shouldn’t lose sight of the immediate and smaller individualized good (no disrespect to our friend and to Greg) while wringing our hands in worry about potential catastrophic ramifications on society decades from now. Let’s discuss the issues but let’s not prevent people from realizing their dreams just because of some misfortune that happened to them. If I suffered so, the choice for me would be even clearer.

About Peter Armaly
I get jazzed by automation, big data, and blockchain tech. Business, technology, and fitness are things I understand. Scotch, wine, food, and fiction are things I appreciate.

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