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Cyborgs – hybrid creatures forged from human beings and machines – have gradually been making the transition from science fiction staple into reality in the past decades.
Primarily, the use of robotic technology in human beings is used as a medical tool in the present day but as the technology improves it may be employed for a whole host of different reasons. This has led leading philosophers to suggest that the time has come to discuss the ethical implications of creating cyborg humans in the near future.
Most people do not tend to think of prosthetic limbs as the type of robotics which lead to the creation of cyborg humans. However, the latest technology in this field is far more advanced than the majority of people suspect. Carbon fiber and titanium prosthetic limbs are used as a matter of routine in the modern age and the vast majority of false limbs which are fitted today are fully functional.
Prosthetic limbs have become so adept and dexterous recently that experts are even beginning to discuss whether they are more effective than organic limbs. Researchers have also created phenomenal robotic hands which can be triggered by the brain of the patients. Some of the most recent robotic hands produced even have a sense of touch.
Recently, robotic engineers have progressed beyond artificial limbs and have begun to dabble with the idea of implanting human beings with microchips. In recent months, there has been news that a company in Sweden has begun to implant its employees with microchips so that they can perform tasks such as opening doors with the wave of a hand. Even more ambitiously, the Tesla CEO Elon Musk is in the process of developing a so-called neural lace which will eventually be capable of connecting the human mind to electronic devices such as computers and smartphones.
Humanity is becoming more and more ambitious with its plans to push the boundaries of science and technology, particularly regarding space exploration. For many individuals, developing effective cyborg technology could be an essential step towards achieving these dreams. However, others believe that before cyborg technology goes too far that it is incredibly important to discuss the moral and legal questions posed by this next stage of human history.
Ethical philosophers are already beginning to question various aspects of life with cyborg human beings such as establishing safeguards to ensure that human beings cannot be hacked. There are also concerns that there could be troubling implications for the world’s military forces who might use the new developments in cyborg technology to create humans with exoskeletons.
It is very important to consider these questions now to make sure that this next stage in human development is a success and not a complete disaster.