Humans are not the Future – but then neither is your Reality
TRANSHUMANISM AND SYNTHETIC LIFEFORMS (SIMICRANTS) ARE ONLY A FEW BABY STEPS AWAY BUT SO IS THE DAWN OF THE TOTALLY IMMERSIVE VIRT, WHERE ANYTHING – AND MORE- WILL BE POSSIBLE: SO WHY BOTHER WITH FLESH AND CARBOCERAMIC-ALLOYS?
Developments in technology and bio-sciences are bringing science fiction ever closer into the realm of science fact. We’re approaching an inevitable confluence. DeepMind (AI), Boston Dynamics (Robotics), and the British medical teams who are leading the way with implants and printable body parts – further pushing the growth of bio-printing. The Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh have recently made a breakthrough in the use of reprogrammed cells created in a laboratory to build a complete and functional organ in a living animal.
A huge step towards visualising the “holy grail” of regenerative medicine which is to grow replacement organs and body parts from cells.
Collaboration between the manufacturers Stanmore Implants and the UCL/RNOH biomedical engineering institute has led to the development of a new level of prosthetic limbs – reducing infection and discomfort – based on study of how skin forms naturally around deer antlers. Add to this the growing army of biopunks, grinders and labs working on synthetic biology, the march of transhumanism upon the bastion of native biology is well underway.
Ever the risk that one day such experiments will lead to a cellular riot… and next thing we have some sort of global event like Yellow Dawn taking place.
But there is another branch to the evolution of the human state of mind. The deeper plunge into the polychromatic waters of pure cyberspace. Total immersion. The Virt. Plug yourself in via a neural interface, or just recode your brain into a digital format and upstream into the cloud. Why bother with flesh or the multitude of appendages and regrown organics? The need to feed, molecular malfunction, chemical imbalance and the havoc caused by emotions on physical components through negative feedback loops. Just so… messy.
The spectacular realism of 3D models produced by companies such as New Orleans based Turbo Squid are creating the essential assets to populate any Virt designed to be subjectively real as reality.
A place where the only limitation will be the imagination and skill of the artists and developers building the worlds – plus a reliable power supply and connectivity. Those folks who linger on the edges of purgatory, by dancing in data whilst their flesh bodies lie slumped in realspace are going to become a social phenomenon as endemic as heroin use. When does the experience of living your data dreams become addiction. When does access to an alternative life become obsession?
Skip a few decades into the future and the creative talents of contemporary photographers such as Benjamin Von Wong get scooped up by the best Virt engineers to create Dijims, the highest-form of digital render… as used by the intriguing online entity known as Miss Dagon. I wonder what the split will be? The percentage of those engaged in transhumanism, and the growing population of simicrants, versus those who will simply plug-in to hard-boil their spirit of evolution. Technical bods versus gamers. Interesting years ahead.
You can read more about Simicrants in the short story Kalinka – free to download here.