Are Humans Already “Augmented”?

A few years ago, I gave part of my answer to dystopian prognostications, borrowed from Hollywood, about the supposed danger of malevolent artificial intelligence taking over the world.

The assumption is that we will keep increasing the power of our machines—and not want to use any of that power for ourselves. Yet the whole purpose of machines is to augment our own power, and we are already experimenting with ways to integrate robotics with our natural faculties to augment our physical and mental capabilities.”

(The other part of my answer, by the way, is that machines won’t gain a conceptual intelligence because they lack the key elements of motivation and volition. More on that some other time.)

At any rate, in my new work for RealClearFuture, I’m getting a lot of opportunities to explore this idea of our cyborg future as technologically augmented humans. It’s still many years away, mind you, but it’s worth starting to think about now.

In fact, in the process of thinking about it, I realized that there is a sense in which human being are already augmented by our use of technology, and we have been augmenting ourselves for thousands of years….

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