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9 Cybernetic Upgrades Everyone Will Want | Unveiled

VOICE OVER: Noah Baum WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
In this video, Unveiled uncovers the future of cybernetics! Why don't you come along??

What body will you choose for life in the future?? As the technology accelerates year after year, we will soon have countless ways to artificially enhance ourselves and to improve what nature gave us... Everything from our vision, to our brains, to our... wings! There really are no limits!
Transcript

The Cybernetic Upgrades Everyone Will Want


Humans have a long history of changing their bodies for cosmetic reasons. We can pierce, tattoo or remould ourselves with all sorts of modifications. But what happens when body mods and technology align? Where will the bleeding edge of cybernetics take us?

This is Unveiled, and today we’re uncovering the extraordinary examples of cybernetic upgrades that everyone will want.

One of the most immediate and useful applications of modern cybernetics is the creation of advanced prosthetic limbs… including some designs that are controlled through the mind. It’s a breakthrough moment for science, so much so that it’s led to predictions that humans will soon opt for limbs like these out of choice. Mechanical arms (or mechanically enhanced arms) could be stronger than what we’re used to. They could be custom designed, too, giving everyone scope to be as individual as they like. And it could be that they’re tweaked and patched to become multifunctional. You might take a true cyberpunk route and install a firearm or some giant swords. Or maybe you’d choose just to have your phone permanently attached, so you never risk losing it. As with so many cybernetic upgrades, it’s all about choice.

Another sci-fi style enhancement focusses on our vision. Cybernetic eyes. Tech that gives you a heads-up display for your day-to-day life. Again, humans are already experimenting with this sort of thing. The filmmaker and cyberware pioneer Rob Spence, for example, refers to himself as an “EyeBorg” because he has a prosthetic eye that doubles as a camera. There are other optical attachments that already exist, too, including ones that can help blind people sense colour via soundwaves. Devices like Rob Spence’s don’t yet communicate sensory data to the brain, but work is well underway to make this next step in the future. If we do, it’ll be life-changing for anyone visually impaired. But, again, it could be that everyone chooses cybernetic eyes… once the tech becomes available. Early devices like Google Glass didn’t catch on… but, if the design’s right, then we could soon be getting text messages, emails and social media notifications directly in front of our eyes. Not to mention the opportunities with maps, entertainment and, dare we say it, advertising.

Another upgrade which could soon become standard is Radio-frequency identification (or RFID) chips. Especially in the workplace. In 2021, various employers have already implanted subdermal RFID chips into their employees, for all sorts of things… from authorizing payments to unlocking electronic doors. These implants double up as their identity, and remove the need for passwords and access codes. But this kind of technology also scares people. More so than with any other in today’s video, it’s perhaps a cybernetic upgrade that not everyone will want! The main downside is that RFID chips open up the possibility that workers (that anyone) could be tracked 24/7. There are some potential up-sides to these things as well, though, including that they could be used to privately track useful health and movement data… to help you keep tabs on your lifestyle.

But if you really want a way to get up close and personal with your biometrics, then embedded biosensors might be more your thing. Another upgrade that some are tipping to be the norm by the end of the century, these are tiny machines under your skin that zoom in on your personal biology. The earliest versions are already capable of tracking your temperature. But future versions are expected to precisely track blood sugar levels, and to generally monitor everything - from calorific intake to vitamin deficiencies to hormone levels. With biosensors, we’ll all be able to know exactly what’s wrong (or right) with ourselves. Just go to the doctors, upload your vital statistics, and await the verdict. It could revolutionise health by allowing for ultra-early diagnoses.

Biosensors aren’t the only future solution to disease, however. Nanobots could also prove to be vital tools when it comes to health and medicine. We’re now talking digital, artificial technology that’s small enough to enter your body, and your bloodstream. Imagine specialized nanobots that carry out the same functions as white blood cells do… the cybernetic dream is that you’ll have a whole colony of microscopic robots living inside your body, all remotely programmed to fight off pathogens. It could spell the end of bacterial infections and viruses, for good… some say without even the need for vaccines anymore! Instead, any virus will be instantly wiped out by the programmable, adaptable robots already living inside us… with scientists issuing targeted updates whenever a new disease emerges. It’s maybe not surprising, then, that some believe nanobots could even pave our way to immortality.

For many, immortality is the ultimate aim for all cybernetics. This is a field that deals in improving organic bodies, making them less and less vulnerable and unreliable, until a future time when, perhaps, they’re invulnerable. Or, even, invincible. There could be other ways of achieving this, however. One of which is… synthetic muscles. And now we’re talking super-strength. According to some predictions, synthetic muscles could be installed into anyone in the future, to easily increase their strength and power beyond regular human limits. You won’t have to work out to improve your body’s performance anymore… you’ll just need to be fitted with the latest and best muscle pack. And it could be similar for our skeletons, too. Doctors already use artificial bones to replace broken or damaged ones… so some see this becoming the norm very soon, as we willingly replace all our at-risk, natural bones with unnatural but unbreakable metal ones.

But what might you be doing with your new super-muscles made of synthetic polymers, or your Adamantium skeleton? How best to use something like that? Well, one of the main reasons as to why humans can’t support wings is that our arm and back muscles are too weak for them… but that wouldn’t be the case anymore! We’d now have power enough to flap and gain lift… allowing us to achieve one of the most often wished for superpowers of all; the power of flight! In the modern world, we already have jetpacks… but they’re expensive, they use a lot of fuel, and they’re just not going to replace cars any time soon. But foldable, retractable wings made of some ultralight material would be so much more manageable. They could even come to be totally expected in day-to-day life, as we’d wear them like a backpack and think nothing about casually flying from A to B.

But, maybe it’s actually not your body you most want to upgrade, and you’re more interested in unlocking the potential of your mind? If so, there are cybernetics in the pipeline, just for you. In some cases, for example, we’re already able to interface directly with computers using only our thoughts. But the more commercial applications of tech like this are set to grow and grow. There’ll be no need for virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa in this future world. You’ll just think what you want your smart devices to do… and they’ll do it. Total power rests with your brain. Again, it’s efficient, but tech like this will also dramatically improve the lives of anyone who’s paralysed - enabling direct control of all devices. Anything which enables thought transference will most likely be something that everyone wants, however, because of the seeming freedom it will grant us all. Nobody would need to know what you were doing anymore. You could just think it and it would be done. If the popularity of comparatively basic gadgets like Alexa is anything to go by, then this is sure to be a hit!

But, lastly, maybe even total control via your own brain isn’t quite enough? Maybe what you want most of all is another brain? Or at least something else to bolster your cognitive potential. And there are various cybernetic enhancements planned which will serve to increase your processing power - including Elon Musk’s Neuralink. Imagine a chip in your brain that not only connects you to your devices, but actually renders most of them redundant. Why would you need even artificial eyes, for example… or a doctor to diagnose the readings from your nanobots… if all of that information could just be stored inside your own head, instead? Why would you need to transfer your thoughts to another machine, if your brain could perform all of the functions of that other machine without it. Any brain tech leading to superintelligence could even, eventually, pave the way toward totally digitizing human consciousness. It’s another route to the promised land of immortality, but it would also take us to a generally higher level… where even many of the cybernetic upgrades in this video would feel outdated and useless.

The march of technological progress goes on, and we’re always looking for new ways to develop and improve. But, in the coming decades more than ever before, the line between science fiction and everyday reality might finally be crossed for good. And those are the cybernetic upgrades everyone will want to have when it is.
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