The launch of the new iPhone5 will be the focus of headlines worldwide for the next several weeks. The iPhone - the epitome of the most successful technological product to date - is the “smartest” and most fashionable mobile device in the market.
In just four years since the first iPhone was launched in 2007, Apple has sold over 250 million units worldwide, and become one of the most profitable companies in the world. The company now employs over 70,000 people, thousands of which are scientists focused on adding minor improvements, just enough to justify the release of each new version of the device. Impressive, isn’t it?
But contrary to appearances, focusing so many resources on achieving minimal advancements in beautifully designed smart phones are a distraction from achieving true technological progress.
Most technology has been developed to serve as an extension of our own natural organs and appendages. Segways that makes us move faster, video and audio recorders to aid our sight and hearing, and a slew of devices and apps to whom we now outsource our most basic mnemonic tasks.
But none of these advances have helped the evolution of the biological body itself. The body is still vulnerable to fire, rain, wind, the cold, and cannot go into outer space or descend to the bottom of the ocean without additional – often cumbersome – and highly expensive equipment. Scientists struggle for funding to develop new cures for cancer, or help us achieve some longevity. As a result, our bodies still fall to disease, grow old, and ultimately die.
Shouldn’t we then direct our scientific and technological efforts towards improving the human body?
This is no longer a topic of science fiction. It’s now attainable. And the only challenge keeping us from technology that radically improves and extends our life is our hesitation to actually develop it.
Apple is now the most valuable company in history, with a market capitalization of $602.3 billion. But for only a fraction of that amount, we could create much more than another iPhone product, but a completely new concept – the iBody – an individual immortal intelligent body.
Apple’s success can be attributed to the culture it created around its products – the desire for an attractive, convenient, and fashionable device. Let us create a new culture, one of the iBody – the desire for a new radically improved anatomy, which could redefine medicine, transportation and ultimately ourselves.
The New Immortal Body
The new immortal body will be a non-protein based entity built according to new rules to accommodate an individual consciousness and host a human personality to be subsequently transferred into that body.
Essentially, the iBody may include inventions that science has already created. For example, it could have all iPhone features built into it.
The iBody would eliminate sickness, since those with access to an iBody would not suffer from hereditary diseases. It would not need a home - the iBody would not need protection from the wind, rain, fire, cold, or heat. No longer will humans have to battle nature, or feel a need to conquer the elements and our natural environment.
From the standpoint of an ecologist, the iBody would be a blessing, since we would stop harming the planet due to our greed for natural resources, and the burning of fossil fuels which destroy our atmosphere. The entire planet could become a huge ecological sanctuary. Inevitably, this would create an entirely new platform from which our species could launch itself. Everything will change – all of humanity, and the entire living environment.
As soon as our protein bodies evolve into an iBody, we will have unlimited prospects for developing the human consciousness. The iBody will make people freer, eliminate conflicts that arise from racial prejudices, and provide unlimited possibilities for creativity and self-development.
More importantly, the iBody-civilization will be distinguished not by the accumulation of material possessions, but by the level of the development of their consciousness. And this technology would be attainable and affordable for all.
From iPhone to iBody
How long could it take for this vision to become a reality? With proper funding, the first prototype of the iBody could be created within a few years, and a mass produced product may be made over the course of several decades.
This projection is not far-fetched since hundreds of scientists and researchers all over the world are currently carrying out and investing in developing iBody-like components. Advaced artificial hands and arms are being developed by companies such as Shadow Robotics and Otto Bock. Many prototypes are already capable of carrying out almost the entire assortment of activities that the human hand is capable of, but the drives (servomotors, pneumatic muscles etc.) and control systems (cyber gloves, electrical activity of muscles, brain signals etc.) still differ from their biological inspiration.
Systems of movement activity are being developed by Boston Dynamics, under the DARPA defense agency. Its robots can keep their balance on ice, independently climb over piles of rocks and run quite quickly.
The system for simulating face movements is almost fully developed in the Geminoid robots developed by Japanese Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, which are already capable of reproducing the entire spectrum of human emotions on an artificial face, making it incredibly close to the biological face.
Artificial skin, which is similar in sensitivity to human skin, was created simultaneously by specialists from Berkeley and Stanford: at Berkeley with Germanic silicon nanowires, and at Stanford with electrodes in pyramid structures.
The Blue Brain project investigates the human brain, and proposes to create a functioning model for a synthetic brain, cell by cell, link by link. Professor Robert. J. White has already succeeded in creating the model of a life-support system of a primate brain - which was capable of supporting the life and activity of a monkey’s brain separate from the body.
Specialists at Carboncopies.org, together with MIT, are developing mobile sensors the size of a red blood cell, which can travel through veins and carry several thousand transistors for observing and conveying data back to the user. The Molecular Ticker Tape project creates similar sensors based on biological mechanisms. The ATUM and Dr. Zador’s method for “sequencing the connectome” create virtual maps of the brain.
Much of this research is never made public, not because researchers are trying to keep the community in the dark, but because mainstream media chooses not to report on it. So, regardless of what you may or may not have heard, everything is in fact moving in this direction.
Last year, at the Singularity Summit in New York, I presented the “Avatar” project of the 2045 Initiative – based in Russia.
Last February, the Pentagon announced their own “Avatar” project, which will be designed to act as an artificial surrogate for American soldiers.
The trend is obvious.
This technology is currently being created. But will it be only be used for military purposes, or will be provided for all, to help all humanity?
To achieve the latter, we, as a species, need to take greater responsibility towards true technological progress. Let’s think beyond pretty mobile phones and war toys, and perfect the technology of the iBody, which gives the gift of life to all.