7 recent mind bending technologies that are altering what it means to be human

by Ishaan Kumbkarni, Staff Writer

  1. DNA editing

A new technology called CRISPR lets geneticists edit the human or any other organism’s DNA (chemical which carries code for how we will turn out to be physically and mentally). Think of it as a genetic scissor. Its applications are endless, ranging from disease resistance crops to designer babies, yes, you heard it right, designer human babies.

 

  1. Artificial Olfaction

Research in the area of e-sensing or artificial replication of the human sense organs has been on for quite a few decades. E-nose a device that can detect odours and flavours is already used in some industries (for eg for quality control in the food industry) and is now being developed for medical applications. Ground-breaking.

 

  1. Super Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality has been around for quite some time but did we ever think that it would get real to the point that it would outclass our actual existing reality. For an article in TechCrunch the writer experimented between standing at the edge of a tower in the VR Minecraft game and compared it to standing on the edge of an actual mountain in Norway. He reported greater feelings of dizziness and vertigo in the Virtual Reality game. Let that sink in.

 

  1. Emotional Surveillance

In China an “emotional surveillance” system is allowing supervisors to scrutinize employees’ brainwaves for signs of distress. Lightweight sensors embedded in workers’ hats or helmets wirelessly transmit the wearer’s brainwave data to a computer. Then, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms scan the data, looking for outliers that could indicate anxiety or rage. Wow.

 

  1. Digital Afterlife

This might sound right out a Black Mirror episode, but this is true. According to tech website futurism.com, a digital afterlife industry has cropped up, which can include online memorial services or even re-creation algorithms that attempt to write messages and posts in the dead person’s voice. Feel weirded out yet?

  1. Artificial Imagination

And you though artificial olfaction was weird. AI (Artificial Intelligence), till now was very good at identifying things, but not very good at creating things. Creation requires imagination. The solution came to a PhD student, Ian Goodfellow during an academic argument with his friend at a bar. As a result of that eureka moment, now two AI systems can spar with each other to create ultra-realistic original images or sounds, something machines have never been able to do before. Effectively creating non-human, artificial imagination. I need to start having better conversations while having a cold one.

 

  1. Iron Man Suit

British inventor Richard Browning recently set a Guinness World Record for flying a body-controlled jet-engine-powered suit that he built in his garage, over a lake in Reading, England, reaching a speed of 32.02 miles per hour. It is propelled by 6 micro gas turbines mounted on the arms and back. Iron man suit is here. I repeat. Iron man suit is here. Search him on YouTube to watch the super smooth video of Richard Browning, flying.

 

 

 

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