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1.3 — Cyborg Engineering and Bionic Life | by NFT SIN CITY

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In the previous post Humans’ Desire to Take on the Role of God — Can Bioengineering Go Too Far? we gave context on what bioengineering is, as well as examples of existing bioengineering projects in order to raise questions on the plausibility of bioengineering a super human. To further unpack this conception; we will now cover cyborg engineering and bionic life.

What are Cyborgs and What is Bionic Life?

By definition a cyborg is an organism with both biological and technological components. Furthermore, to be bionic simplistically means to have artificial parts. Examples of cyborgs include humans with bionic arms and hands.

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According to Yuval Noah Harari’s, Sapiens, Harari asserts that: in the twenty-first century with humans’ dependence on mobile phones, pacemakers, and eyeglasses, nearly all humans can be considered a cyborg (Harari 404–405).

The Emergence of Cyborgs

Even more alarming, the newest generation of hearing aids are sometimes referred to as “bionic ears.” These devices consists of an implant that absorbs sound through a microphone located in the outer part of the ear. The implant filters the sounds, identifies human voices, and translates them into electric signals that are sent directly to the central auditory nerve and from there to the brain.

‘Bionic ear’ lets deaf boy hear his family for the first time (source: CNN)

Retina Implant, a government-sponsored German company, started the development of retinal prosthesis that may allow blind people to gain partial vision. It involves implanting a small microchip inside the patient’s eye.

Although Retina Implant AG shareholders decided to dissolve the company March 19, 2019, at a general meeting — the companies vision was to use photocells to absorb light falling on the eye and transform it into electrical energy, which stimulates the intact nerve cells in the retina. The nervous impulses from these cells stimulate the brain, where they are translated into sight.

Effectively, the technology would allow patients to orientate themselves in space, identify letters, and recognize faces.

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