I’ve been discussing a lot about video games lately, and there are more to discuss about them each day. For example, I was about to do a post about how the word rehash is been widely misused in general game public, but I decided to dwell into another matter.
This matter is the relationship between human and robotics.
Prosthetic limbs are becoming more that of fiction portrayed. Unlike how fiction portrays them, robotic prosthetics require training to be properly used, just like any limb in human body. Mostly the difference will be in that it doesn’t come naturally with artificial body parts, as they’re not there from the birth. You may know how to operate hand by nature, but you don’t know how to manually operate it.
Closing a hand is a complex motion we all do with out instincts alone. However, even with our real hands we are using a lot of muscles to achieve this without ourselves noticing it. When a person is fitted with an bionic arm there are few things in the way of operation. The first thing would be is how one can overcome psychological barriers he has. When you lose your hand, that’s that. You lose your hand. Even if you are fitted with a bionic hand you must argue with your body that there exists a concept of hand. Then you’d have to start finding your way how to form a fist and move your fingers. The software in the hand will have receptors that will read the same messages that the brain would send to a real hand.
These are merely things to overcome. In the following decade we will have perfectly good bionic hands, but the question of human psyche will never go away. I know there are few reader there that are thinking Oh that’s not a big deal, I can do it! the answer would be that No, you can’t unless you understand both of your body and mind. From person to person it will be either harder, or even more harder. Losing an arm and replacing it will always be very traumatic experience and unseen mental locks are bound to happen.
After all, human body was never meant to be replaced by anything.
Making a fist is one of the basic functions our hand can make, but imagine how much it would take to get used to a new eye. While it’s easy to make people feel through receptors. A person who gains a new eye has to get used to seeing. It’s not that he is receiving visual stimuli, but the question is also what kind of stimuli is present. Neurostimulation is a bit dangerous, as too much voltage will fry the receiving end.
Unlike in case of hand, a person who might see again will most likely adapt to his bionic eye rather quickly. Seeing is a passive thing we all do all the time, even when we focus on something. However, we can’t say what happens when a blind person begins to see thanks to bionics in the future. I have little doubt that in all cases of bionic replacements there has to be people to ensure the mental health of patients.
The artificial parts are emulating the real body parts. Just like in game emulation, the raw basics are easy to put in place and sand them down. When we get to the final 10% we’re faced with nigh-impossible odds of recreating the workings of a simple hand. Most likely we’ll have biological spare parts grown within protein tanks before we achieve that. The people who are lower class will always be able to find affordable spare bionics, but the higher class will be able to purchase expensive biological replacements. Perhaps the waltz of war, peace and revolution will be danced on some nation in the future.
In the end, replacing a physical part of a man isn’t out of question at all. Having artificial parts does not make anyone any less of a human. While we do use our physical bodies as one part of assuring our existence, ultimately what we are lies in our soul, or brain if we want to be biological. As long as our soul is present in whatever replacement human body will receive, be it complete or partial, the human mind can overcome the trouble of controlling a new body part if given enough time and training. This is mostly because the human mind has something similar to what it’s used to.
But what happens when we start to change the workings of human soul? Human mind is not constructed to work within realms of multiple connections to anything else but to the body itself. If we start adding direct feedback directly to our brains from outside sources that are foreign to our every day actions there is no answer what would happen.
To be honest, I do not want to see the day when we can attach our minds to a machine. There are more unseen questions than hypothetical answers. When people start connecting their brains to whatever machine it might be for direct feedback, the mind and brains won’t be able to understand what it is. There is no schema for such control and actions. If newborn babies had cybernetic implants put in them after their birth, then their brains would start to accept these signals that they’d accept as “natural” and part of the shell they’re encased in.
I doubt there is a good representation what will come when humanity finally broadens beyond it’s bodily limitations. In a sense we already have done that with the Internet. Psychology would be the best field to study the possibility and dangers of augmentations and replacements of human body. After all, it’s all about the mind controlling the body.