US Intelligence Body Reveals Cyborg-Infested Vision of Year 2030

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US Intelligence Body Reveals Cyborg-Infested Vision of Year 2030

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And still, not a word about jetpacks.

Assuming humanity makes it past December 21 this year (fingers crossed, guys!), we will all keep moving inexorably towards a future that seems to take on the appearance of a pulp science fiction novel more and more with each passing decade. What will the world look like in, say, 2030? With things as they are in the world, that question seems sort of horrifying. Luckily for us, the United States government has seen fit to ask the assorted smart people at the National Intelligence Council (NIC) to sit down and have a good, long think about it so that we don't have to. Their answers, presented for the most part in a report titled Global Trends 2030, are awe-inspiring and spine-chilling in equal measure. Also, there are a lot of cyborgs.

According to the NIC, our planet in 2030 will look like something J.G. Ballard and Neal Stephenson dreamed up while poring over old Philip K. Dick ideas and listening to selected dialogue from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Many of their predictions for the state of human life have to do with recent advances in prosthetics and neurosurgery which are enabling people to overcome disabilities and injuries at a faster rate than ever before.

"As replacement limb technology advances, people may choose to enhance their physical selves as they do with cosmetic surgery today. Future retinal eye implants could enable night vision, and neuro-enhancements could provide superior memory recall or speed of thought," writes the NIC. "Brain-machine interfaces could provide 'superhuman' abilities, enhancing strength and speed, as well as providing functions not previously available."

Dipping its toes in the blue-hued Dances with Pocahontas worldview for a moment, the document continues, "Augmented reality systems can provide enhanced experiences of real-world situations. Combined with advances in robotics, avatars could provide feedback in the form of sensors providing touch and smell as well as aural and visual information to the operator."

What's even more interesting is that the NIC thinks some of these advanced pieces of kit could be constructed using digital printing. "By 2030, manufacturers may be able to combine some electrical components (such as electrical circuits, antennae, batteries, and memory) with structural components in one build, but integration with printed electronics manufacturing equipment will be necessary," reads the report. "Though printing of arteries or simple organs may be possible by 2030, bioprinting of complex organs will require significant technological breakthroughs."

So far, this future doesn't sound all that inhospitable to me. But as we all know, for every silver lining, there is a cloud. For every every cute pet, a dress coat covered in fur. For every amazing household robot, a Skynet-based overthrow and ultimate enslavement of humanity.

"Advances in synthetic biology also have the potential to be a double-edged sword and become a source of lethal weaponry accessible to do-it-yourself biologists or biohackers," warns the NIC, expanding its point to add that while open-source bio-brick schemes are great learning and research tools, they could be a little too open for their own good. "This will be particularly true as technology becomes more accessible on a global basis and, as a result, makes it harder to track, regulate, or mitigate bioterror if not 'bioerror,'" says the report.

While this is fascinating, I'm pleased to report that these predictions for medicine and proto-Adam Jensens are barely scratching the surface of the overall body of Global Trends 2030. If you want to read more, the NIC has made a seriously sizeable "snapshot" of the whole thing available here, for free. There's a small mountain of posts on geopolitics, security, demographics, and energy, featuring questions as wide as "will we see a new unemployable class [in the age of robotics]?" and "can we predict which megacities are most vulnerable to epidemics?" If you've got the time, it's more than worth a look. Given the exponential rate at which our technologies have been growing of late, none of the predictions are as insane as they might first appear; the vast majority of them provide excellent, high-quality brain food.

Then again, if you're more like me, you could instead spend the time watching Gattaca and whimpering as the world speeds away from you with a velocity you never imagined possible. Up to you, really.

Source: Wired

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I for one, welcome our new Cyborg overlords.

In time i could do with a direct neural interface. And maybe night vision. And extra arms if possible.

And id kill for an internal alarm clock now.

You know it's just going to turn out to be a glorified phone the way we treat technology. Along with augmented reality that could not only pop up advertizement wherever we walk, but in our sleep.

I honestly don't see the common folk getting their hands on this technology, especially with the collapsing economy.

I for one welcome and hope to become part of our new Cyborg Overlords.

Also, this is getting linked because it's hilarious, slightly relevant and made of sex.

gigastar:
In time i could do with a direct neural interface. And maybe night vision. And extra arms if possible.

And id kill for an internal alarm clock now.

That really would be just pure, awesome, convenience. Also, when this starts to happen we really REALLY gotta get the term "augmentations" thrown around, so we can at least pretend this is Deus Ex

If this is true, the only part I'd want to be a cyborg is a new pancreas that doesn't malfunction or require blood checking. Other then that, I certainly wouldn't want to be a cyborg. But I bet I'll make countless Cyborg friends over the internet.

I wouldn't call myself paranoid but any cybernetics I put in myself would be best with only wired connections for firmware updates.

Quazimofo:

That really would be just pure, awesome, convenience. Also, when this starts to happen we really REALLY gotta get the term "augmentations" thrown around, so we can at least pretend this is Deus Ex

As soon as that term starts getting tossed around, I'm starting a protest group. Our rallying cry will be "I didn't ask for this." I'll make picket signs and flyers that say only that. AND GO ON A PROTESTING SPREE ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

Of course, it's never going to be as cool or dramatic as it is in science fiction. In some senses, that's a blessing. On the other hand...

"Apple is proud to announce the i. It's an ocular receptor, a data streaming device, a camera, a virtual reality hub, a..."

(Heh. 'Other hand.')

Poor Bob the Mayan, had he just done like his neighbours and painted the calender once a year instead of going power-paiting-month and added over a thousand years, we wouldn't be in this mess!

OT: Not really sure what the situation is with the body rejecting a prosphetic limb. I know that transplants from another human quite often results in your body fighting the transplant vigorously. Then again, if that issue is resolved we can rejoice a brief period of growth in our civilization, before Human Revolution sets in again.

Don't like it. Don't like it one bit.

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Meh, to be honest I'm a big follower of future science and have a pretty good track record of predicting where things are going. In part because I have some familiarity with surprising numbers of laws that already exist to prevent a lot of the more extreme developments of technology that people think are possibly coming. You'd be surprised at how much forethought has gone into protecting the status quo, and ensuring things change very slowly. I'm a downer to a lot of people, but the bottom line is that we're not going to see much in the way of radical changes over the next few decades, especially without a lot of fundemental laws being changed, many of them beging designed for "social justice".

A lot of people like to compare how the world is now to vintage science fiction, but a lot of people also fail to look at how little the world has changed overall. Fundementally the world isn't that differant from say the 1950s, it's just that the "core" technologies have become more efficient, smaller, and more powerful. Even things like The Internet are arguably just evolutions of phone and TV systems. While there are more than a few examples, it can be difficult to find things nowadays that didn't have a basic analogy in the 50s. In many cases we've just made things smaller, more portable, combined devices, and increased efficiency.

A common downer I point out to people has to do with "Jet Packs". Many years ago popular mechanics released instructions on how to make your own Gyrocopter, and technology has gotten better since then. Heck they even had Jet Packs (of a sort) being used for promotional stunts for the release of movies like "Robocop 3" (they had a guy flying up and down the street outside the first theater to show it using oneif I remember). Ever wondered why after decades people aren't zipping around to and from work with Gyrocopters, or flying over traffic on their way to the mall using their own Jet Packs? It's not like we don't have the technology to produce them cheaply enough for people to use, or that they are hard to use (tourists can use things like this in a limited fashion for tours of The Grand Canyon and such), it's because most places have laws restricting personal flight, requiring tight licences, or even outright ban. The reason is simple... you don't want guys crashing Gyrocopters into each other, or some drunk driver smashing through the window of some guy's house (or his roof) in the middle of the night, not to mention the law enforcement concerns (how do you "pull over" a drunk flier, or more accuratly stop a criminal flying away without killing them or injuring them since anything you do to disable them will send them plummeting to the ground). The point is that just because the potential to do something exists does NOT mean it will ever be allowed by society, and contrary to what people feel about demand, or being unale to restrain the money to be made, society always wins.

While this article seems to touch on some of the issues, the bottom line is that your not going to see people augmenting themselves with cyberware both due to the creation of a divide between those who can afford it and those that cannot, and also the sheer stupidity of humanity. Something as trivial as a CP 2020/Shadowrun "Datajack" could never be released to the public like in those settings because of the idiots who would stick crap into the slot going directly into their brain. Your average person would demand, or require, these things if made publically availible, but given how low the common human denominator is, would never be able to handle the required changes. Given the number of adults who were never able to figure out how to program a VCR, imagine what would happen if you made them into a cyborg. It's not how many people think, but there you go.

Also, one of the things about visionary science fiction is that predicting the problems of the future means that we're unlikely to ever deal with those problems in the same way. Something like "Deus Ex" and it's truely borked situations based around cybertechnology pretty much demonstrates why we'd never allow those questions to be raised. It's much like genetic technology, cloning, replicants, etc... you look at fiction about those sciences and you can pretty much see the reasons why there is so many efforts to just outright prevent them from becoming commonplace.

Don't get me wrong, a lot of this stuff would be awesome. As someone with brain damage I'd LOVE to see them work on the bio-technology to fix or augement my brain, or heck, even vat-grow me a whole new body without the problems that have compounded from years. I'd love to have a datajack and enter into true virtual reality, flying a jet bike or jet pack would be awesome beyond belief... but none of that will ever happen. Jet bikes? Jet Packs? Hover Boards? Heck you can't even get the entire USA to accept Segways for personal transportation because of what the everyman does with them when they get control.

In short, speculating on future technologies is fine, but realistically very little is going to change.

Now, I'll also say to finish this up that this is a big part of why I'm such a pessimist. I believe we're never going to see humanity get out of it's current rut, until we've developed space travel and been able to freely expand our numbers and such. To do that I believe we're going to need to see some major, apocolyptic vioelnce, the death of like 90% of the population, and a new (global) world order... things which frighten people (including me) but happen to be nessecities. Basically we've created a status quo of stagnation and degeneration, as things are going we are unlikely to radically advance beyond what we have now (even if the current technologies will conetinue to improve in baby steps), we'll eventually deplete the planet of resources, regress back into barbarism, and then a billion years from now our sun will go "Boom". It's kind of odd when you advocate the death of 90% of the population to save the human race, but well... that's why I think the world sucks.

Personally I would prefer genetic manipulation as a better alternative to human enhancement rather then cybernetics. I would like to remain organic and made of meat, even if it meant having to be part animal instead of part toaster, thanks.

I would get augumentations as soon as they are safe. no nearsighted eyes anymore, instead an information HUD, nightvision and cool stuff like that. no more studying, just reading things once and saving them in my memory drive.
Just make it not from microsoft...

Finally, money will start turning into an actual super power.

Never before have I been so glad to be wealthy.

I'll settle for a bionic eye, so I can finally go see a 3D movie.

or percieve depth.

Just putting it out there... I might have to start a religious movement to kill any person who chooses cybernetic enhancement for the hell of it. Prostheses are one thing ( I have no problem with fixing something that is broken).

But functionally improving your body by artificial means just seems incredibly wrong in a way that can't not negatively impact other people.

You mean these jetpacks?

OT: Well, I guess they're right on schedule. Maybe a bit sooner than I expected.
Personally, I'm completely for cybernetic enhancements. Because, why not?
I'm going for a tail and cat ears.

And this is supposed to be bad? When can I start replacing my limbs with cybernetic ones?

So, mandroids, then?
I can't wait to actually live it!
Could they try researching FTL travel now?

Yes, yes, yes, i love it.
I want this as fast as possible, i wont be able to wait for 18 years, you must make it faster. perfection here we come.

dragongit:
You know it's just going to turn out to be a glorified phone the way we treat technology. Along with augmented reality that could not only pop up advertizement wherever we walk, but in our sleep.

I honestly don't see the common folk getting their hands on this technology, especially with the collapsing economy.

Maybe, but it wasn't long ago that the same was said of cell phones themselves

I do share your fear of ever-present advertising through augmented reality though. I'm sure they'll make pop-up blockers just like they do now, but still. Let's hope the driverless car makes it big before AR pop-ups become an issue on the road :P

Dimitriov:
Prostheses are one thing ( I have no problem with fixing something that is broken).

But functionally improving your body by artificial means just seems incredibly wrong in a way that can't not negatively impact other people.

Early humans started wearing animal skins so we could live in colder environments. Is that wrong?
We make tools to do what we aren't strong enough to do. We make vehicles so we can move faster than any human can. I'm posting on the internet right now, communicating on a scale impossible without a computer.

Improving our bodies is nothing new. Transhumanism is just the next logical step

Zombie_Moogle:
Transhumanism is just the next logical step

I am specifically saving money for cybernetic enhancements if/when they become available in the future. Hell if the tech becomes available to replace entire organic systems I'd be down for that. I love the idea of whittling the meat away until I become just brain in a jar or my consciousness resides in the cloud.

M K Ultra:

Zombie_Moogle:
Transhumanism is just the next logical step

I am specifically saving money for cybernetic enhancements if/when they become available in the future. Hell if the tech becomes available to replace entire organic systems I'd be down for that. I love the idea of whittling the meat away until I become just brain in a jar or my consciousness resides in the cloud.

Always good to meet another person who's excited for the Singularity :)

Dimitriov:
Just putting it out there... I might have to start a religious movement to kill any person who chooses cybernetic enhancement for the hell of it. Prostheses are one thing ( I have no problem with fixing something that is broken).

But functionally improving your body by artificial means just seems incredibly wrong in a way that can't not negatively impact other people.

I think Yahtzee phrased that as "you want everyone else to be shit like you"

Sweet. Assuming I can afford it I know I'll be kitting myself out with sweet robotic parts.

Might want to start saving for that actually... and if it doesn't come to pass or they pass a law to stop it because of religious whackos then I'll have a tidy sum to blow on booze and hookers.

PoolCleaningRobot:

Dimitriov:
Just putting it out there... I might have to start a religious movement to kill any person who chooses cybernetic enhancement for the hell of it. Prostheses are one thing ( I have no problem with fixing something that is broken).

But functionally improving your body by artificial means just seems incredibly wrong in a way that can't not negatively impact other people.

I think Yahtzee phrased that as "you want everyone else to be shit like you"

An understandable misinterpretation (I wasn't very clear after all), but not actually true.

Ideally I would love for people to obtain Dragon ball Z levels of absurd physicality and the cognitive abilities of a mentat from Dune. Just without the crutch of technology.

I don't think anyone would claim that THEY themselves can actually travel at 200 mph just because a car can. And the same is equally true of anything accomplished with bionic replacements. Only even more so.

Because an artificial lung, or robotic legs, or data retrieval circuitry in your brain (or even extra processing power), or better eyes... are no more a part of a person than a car is, or a hammer. These implants, however, would of course FEEL as if they were part of you.

And because of that it seems like no stretch of the imagination to assume that people would come to completely rely on them and not bother to ever improve themselves or grow in anyway. Until eventually the human species would simply be the least effective component of otherwise marvelous machines... which I would consider an incredibly sad and ignominious end to all of our accomplishments. Better by far to simply destroy ourselves outright than render ourselves obsolete.

These may seem like extreme and unlikely scenarios to you, but I can genuinely see the possible danger of such a future occurring. Hence my strong feelings.

vxicepickxv:
I wouldn't call myself paranoid but any cybernetics I put in myself would be best with only wired connections for firmware updates.

Putting a wireless cybernetic implant into your body would be a darwin award worthy incident. I have no faith that whatever company made it would even bother investing an ounce into proper security measures, not after the whole PSN debacle and all the other security related horror stories I've heard over the past years.

All that said, if such technology developed to the point where I could get implants to help me with my health issues then I'd go for it in a heartbeat. Even if the price was that I'd have a robotic body for the rest of eternity with just my brain left, I'd gladly go for it.

I would say that I'd be one of the first people to jump on cybernetic enhancements, but that would be highly contradictory since I still refuse to even have laser eye surgery until somebody tells be it still works after another 20 years.

Dimitriov:

PoolCleaningRobot:

Dimitriov:
Just putting it out there... I might have to start a religious movement to kill any person who chooses cybernetic enhancement for the hell of it. Prostheses are one thing ( I have no problem with fixing something that is broken).

But functionally improving your body by artificial means just seems incredibly wrong in a way that can't not negatively impact other people.

I think Yahtzee phrased that as "you want everyone else to be shit like you"

An understandable misinterpretation (I wasn't very clear after all), but not actually true.

Ideally I would love for people to obtain Dragon ball Z levels of absurd physicality and the cognitive abilities of a mentat from Dune. Just without the crutch of technology.

I don't think anyone would claim that THEY themselves can actually travel at 200 mph just because a car can. And the same is equally true of anything accomplished with bionic replacements. Only even more so.

Because an artificial lung, or robotic legs, or data retrieval circuitry in your brain (or even extra processing power), or better eyes... are no more a part of a person than a car is, or a hammer. These implants, however, would of course FEEL as if they were part of you.

And because of that it seems like no stretch of the imagination to assume that people would come to completely rely on them and not bother to ever improve themselves or grow in anyway. Until eventually the human species would simply be the least effective component of otherwise marvelous machines... which I would consider an incredibly sad and ignominious end to all of our accomplishments. Better by far to simply destroy ourselves outright than render ourselves obsolete.

These may seem like extreme and unlikely scenarios to you, but I can genuinely see the possible danger of such a future occurring. Hence my strong feelings.

You suddenly raised an extremely interesting point by comparing these things to cars and other stuff we use as not being a part of us. It made me reflect on the importance of tools to the human race and how they're really the only thing we have going for us. When you think about, a tool is just an extension of the mind that a human was able to make real. Men don't have sharp claws so they envisioned spears and made them real. Tools are part of ourselves that can be just as personal as our arms legs when you think about it. Even if we replaced all the parts of our bodies the human thing that really matters is the mind and our imagination to create more.

..... Buuuuuut.... Even with all that said your argument's kinda invalid anyway. Cybernetic enhancements like this wouldn't be normal things like a car. They would be replacing something we already have like an arm or an eye and you'd be integrating it into your body so it would definitely become a part of yourself.

TL;DR Just play Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Alright, Deus Ex Human Revolution without all the yellow, woo.

I'm already a cyborg.

I'm attached to an insulin pump right now.

Jealous much? :P Of my cybernetics, rather than my type 1 diabetes..

PoolCleaningRobot:

Dimitriov:
Snip

You suddenly raised an extremely interesting point by comparing these things to cars and other stuff we use as not being a part of us. It made me reflect on the importance of tools to the human race and how they're really the only thing we have going for us. When you think about, a tool is just an extension of the mind that a human was able to make real. Men don't have sharp claws so they envisioned spears and made them real. Tools are part of ourselves that can be just as personal as our arms legs when you think about it. Even if we replaced all the parts of our bodies the human thing that really matters is the mind and our imagination to create more.

..... Buuuuuut.... Even with all that said your argument's kinda invalid anyway. Cybernetic enhancements like this wouldn't be normal things like a car. They would be replacing something we already have like an arm or an eye and you'd be integrating it into your body so it would definitely become a part of yourself.

TL;DR Just play Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Tools are hardly the only thing the human race has going for it. Human are not the fastest, strongest, or largest animal it's true. But we are arguably one of the, if not the, most adaptable and widely skilled species.

And tools are only really an inherent part of a person insofar as that person can make them him or herself. If you were alone by yourself in the world you would of course be able to create tools to help yourself survive - you wouldn't be able to make yourself a new arm or leg. And yes, if you're wondering, I do think it's pathetic how reliant most people are on the entirety of civilization for their survival.

And just because it's integrated into your body does NOT make it a part of yourself. That's simply absurd. Frankly I find the idea of replacing something in your body that functions perfectly well with some alien thing to be both sad and sickening. It represents the height of laziness - you want to run faster or jump higher? Well forget exercising and working at it. Why not just get a new limb built for you?

It seems to come from the frankly pants-on-head-retarded idea that has developed in western culture: that is that the mind is somehow a separate thing from your body. No your "mind" is the workings of your brain, which is the large, physical, centre of your nervous system - and is designed specifically to operate and work in conjunction with the rest of your body. The entirety of their physicality is who a person is.

If someone loses their arm or leg then that certainly doesn't make them less human - but it undeniably means there is less of them. Therefore, your body is who and what you are.

And you seem to have ignored the important part I made about the human components being the least important part of a cyborg. Taken to it's theoretical, and admittedly currently fictitious, extreme, a cyborg would just be an incredible robot with some useless organic bits tacked on and effectively holding it back. I cannot imagine how anyone could view such a fate as being worse than a living hell.

If this really is the future then I hope our species dies right now...

However, I don't believe this is the future, and I will continue to hope that our species will continue to grow and improve itself, rather than render itself obsolete.

Good ol' cybernetics.
Even if Dimitrov may disagree, without providing any real points, cybernetics would be an infinitely good thing in my eyes.
Assuming they get it right.

We may no longer have to worry about deteriorating bodies, fragile limbs, pointless exercising and truely get to focus on the things that matter in life: Happiness and knowledge.

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