Learning for 2020

My journey to understand what life will be in year 2020 and how we should prepare our next generation to cope with life at 2020.

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Implications when human can repair ourselves and more

A few break-throughs, which are likely to happen in this decade or next will have significant impact on the way we see ourselves, the way we work, the way society can sustain and hence the way we should prepare ourselves and the future generation. I am throwing this open, rather than attempting to suggest any implications.

Research for treating diseases with stem cells has been hampered with ethical issues. NewScientist.com has reported (and elsewhere in Australia previously) that primitive cells from umbilical cord blood has similar properties AND collecting, storing and using such umbilical cord blood would not have the same ethical dilemma. We should see research in this area advances quickly so that unnecessary human death can be avoided in the future.

The line between human and machine has been blurring. We have hearing implants for many years. Artificial limbs are getting better and better. One day, they may be better than our natural limbs (and if you can, would you like to get a better pair?). One of the promise of stem cell research is to grow replacement parts for human. Another line of approach is to use nanotechnology to support or enhance human physical ability.

Another potential development is inserting "nanomuscle fibers" that can actually simulate muscles, giving soldiers more strength. Fabric is impregnated with nanomachines that create the same weight, lift and feel as a muscle. "So I coat the outside of the armour with a nanomuscle fiber that gives me 25 to 35 percent better lifting capability," DeGay explained.

The uniform from the waist down will have a robotic-powered system that is connected directly to the soldier. This system could use pistons to actually replicate the lower body, giving the soldier "upwards of about 300 percent greater lifting and load-carriage capability," DeGay said. "We are looking at potentially mounting a weapon directly to the uniform system and now the soldier becomes a walking gun platform." [Future Warrior Suit Exhibits Super Powers]

Simply, we may never die!

This seems like fiction. How real are they? I don't know, but there are a lot of people pouring their efforts into such research.

Another hard question, what is "consciousness", so characteristic of human need to be answered as well. Now, this is also being debated, see Why Great Minds Can't Grasp Consciousness [via BetterHumans]

May be by 2020, people will still die and I may die too. However, there seems to be a future that people need not die. Is that too far to us to contemplate now?


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