The Bleak Reality of Bio-enhancement Dreams

Today I read an article that put me on a foul mood… or rather, gathered the darkness that I have been feeling this whole week.

This IEEE spectrum article talks about a company that developed a bionic eye and recently went bust, leaving people who used that implant without the ability to upgrade, service, or even fix the devices that were now parts of their bodies.

When I was young, bionic body enhancements were a part of the future promised by fantastic technology, along with intelligent robots and space travel. Eye replacements in particular were ubiquitous in scifi stories. When these bionic implants broke, it was the challenge to find some genius mechanic to replace and improve it.

In reality, the technological landscape is dominated by planned obsolescence. The devices you buy, and now apparently the implants you put in your body, come with a deadline, when the company that makes them decide that you don’t get to use it anymore. You can’t even hope to fix them yourself, because of always-online DRM, patents, and closed software. This has been going on for so long, that most people don’t even find any of it strange.

And that is not limited to bionics, of course. In the last 10 years or so, the industry surround space and AI has soured on me, and I can’t get excited about news on these fields. Which is a pretty sucky situation to be in when a large part of your career involves being excited about technological advance.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.