The humans of today are not like the humans of yesterday. Advancements in biotechnology are making us stronger, faster and smarter. On this Sunday’s episode of Breakthrough: More Than Human, Paul Giamatti experiences firsthand the fascinating progress in this field, from exoskeletons to brain machines.
As a part of our continuing discussions on the topics explored in Breakthrough, we invited some of our favorite biotechnology experts and bloggers to give us their take on this exciting time in science and technology, and weigh in on the following question:
With such seemingly limitless innovations in technology, making us almost “super human” or “more than human,” are we at risk of losing our humanity?
Here’s what the experts had to say …
The editors at medGadget, a site that reports on the latest medical technology news, look at these biotech advancements as a way to “empower disabled people and give folks new superpowers.” Having worked with exoskeletons before, like the one from Lockheed Martin featured in the episode, medGadget understands the benefits these enhancements give people, allowing them to operate heavy pieces of equipment for long periods of time. But they also recognize the concern of “humans becoming cyborgs that are essentially detached from our humanity.”
Kevin Noonan, who has been studying high-technology problems as a molecular biologist for more than 20 years and is now an experienced biotechnology patent lawyer at MBHB, looks at this progress along the lines of the natural versus the unnatural. In his blog, Patent Docs, he notes that “most of what biotechnology addresses involves the breakdown of the natural machine, at the cellular level.” Kevin relates to both sides of the debate, ultimately saying, “It would be a shame if collectively we are too afraid to take advantage of the ever-increasing pace of technological change, because we are too afraid of an unlikely dystopian future to accept the benefits we are more likely to get in return.”
Kelly, of Kelly’s Thoughts on Things, looks at the topic from an evolutionary perspective, pondering what the human body could look like in years to come. According to Kelly, “Scientific advancements are challenging the concept of what it means to be human and enhancing the human body with technology that could lead to the next stage of our evolution.”
A big thanks to all of our experts above who joined in this exciting conversation, and don’t forget to tune into BREAKTHROUGH: More Than Human, premiering this Sunday, Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. ET.