Editorial Notebook

A look at the future

By Tyler Carney April 18, 2018

A guy from my capstone group and I had a little competition in the Union this past week. We were trying to determine who had the better vision by reading various clubs’ signs posted around the third floor. He ended up winning. The difference between us was that I had LASIK surgery this past summer, while he has his natural eyes, no contacts or glasses. 

I sit at about 20/15 vision, while he has 20/10. I told him he would be the person in the crow’s nest of the ship a couple hundred years ago. I would have been the person stuck below decks. I was thinking to myself, what about a couple hundred years from now? Honestly, not even that long—given the ever-increasing rate of technological advancement, what will technology be like in the near future? 

This led to the not-so-novel idea of more and more technology being implemented into humans. “Red Rising” came to mind. In the book, there are augmentations that can be implemented into a person. My personal favorite are eye implants. Being able to see in pitch black, seeing objects from miles away as if they are right in front of you, and seeing differing wavelengths, the possibilities are endless. While something that advanced is quite far away, the early stages of this technology can be seen with current robotic prosthetics and cochlear implants.  It is easy to imagine them surpassing the natural human body.

I have no doubt that this technology will eventually come to fruition, but as with anything, there is a downside. The danger that looms over everything that has a piece of code in it is hacking. To go back to the eye example, if your eyes are hacked, you are not only blind, but imagine trying to go to sleep with the hacker blasting a sun-bright white light signal. It would be torture. 

It would be a difficult decision to get rid of my current eyes for digital ones. Fortunately—or unfortunately depending on your own viewpoint—this technology is still many decades out. By then I will be old with probably terrible eyesight, and at that point I think making the switch would be a lot easier.