Welcome to the very first article on this blog. I would like to introduce my goals with this blog as well as my views on a lot of areas related to humanity’s foray into the big, exciting world which lies beyond the world as we currently know it. Recent developments in science and society are showing us already which way we are heading, and it is nothing short of exciting.
First of all, as the title of this article infers, there are a lot of ways to interpret the words ‘artificial human’. From (partial) human-like, pre-programmed robots to robots possessing intelligence akin to or superior to that of a human, to artificial organs and limbs aimed at replacing sick or missing biological ones. The first category isn’t so terribly controversial, as simple robots have embedded themselves deeply into every day life. From a microwave to a washing machine to the industrial robots which assemble entire cars for us, they’re an essential part of society. Their arrival was inevitable with the birth of the Industrial Revolution.
This leaves us with the two types of changes which are already occurring. That of building intelligent ‘life’ from scratch, and replacing biological components in humans with artificial ones. Both are exciting areas of research, with the promise to make life even better for everyone.
Building new lifeforms is hard. There’s no doubt about that. Basic structures which nature figured out ages ago using biochemical evolution such as muscles and biological power sources are still baffling us while we search for replacement. For the former we may have found the solution in active polymers, structures which respond to electrical impulses much like biological muscles do. For the latter we still have a long way to go, as the chemical energy storage used by the body is quite hard to replicate, let alone use for our own purposes.
Replacing parts of an existing, biological body is in some ways easier, and in some ways harder. The requirements are already known, the only challenge is implementing it in such a way that it fulfills those requirements and isn’t rejected by the body. The first steps have been taken here already with the use of artificial hearts, which in itself is one of the more basic organs in the body, as it doesn’t produce any hormones or provide any regulatory functions beyond adjusting its pumping rhythm to the oxygen/carbon dioxide levels in the blood.
As an aside, I’m not here to judge whether any of these changes are ‘good’ or ‘evil’. I see them as an inevitable change, with many positive uses. Naturally there will be people who will oppose violating the ‘sanctity’ of the human body, but by trying to stop progress, they will violate that which is most fundamental to humans: the drive to explore and understand. Ensuring that everyone who needs a new heart, arm, or other organ or limb can get one within a week and have it function perfectly for the rest of their natural lifespan is something completely noble in my eyes.
Moving on, I intend to post articles the coming time features analyses of various organs, tissues and so on with possible artificial replacement strategies. I’ll also post articles on AI, robotics and other relevant topics. Hopefully in the near future I’ll also be able to showcase something more concrete than just a bunch of loose parts or semi-useful AIs. The future just can’t arrive quickly enough, can it?