Future Humans May Be Cyborgs
By James Donahue
Stephen Hawking, considered by many to be among the brightest
minds alive today, has been issuing some dire threats about future of life on this planet.
After expressing concern
about a looming destruction of the planet by man-induced global warming, Hawking has now added new probabilities to his doomsday
scenario. He warns of the possibility that in our quest to find ultimate biological and chemical weapons we will create a
doomsday bug that will destroy the human race. He also believes there is a possibility that machines may someday attempt to
With deadly bugs like E-bola and military smallpox around, many scientists believe that a doomsday device
is already here. All it is going to take is one madman, like the guys who flew those commercial airliners into the World Trade
Center towers and the Pentagon, to release it.
In an interview with Roger Highfield, of the London Telegraph, Hawking
said he felt the colonization of other planets might be the only hope for mankind.
"In the long term, I am more worried
about biology," Hawking said. "Nuclear weapons need large facilities, but genetic engineering can be done in a small lab.
You can't regulate every lab in the world. The danger is that either by accident or design, we create a virus that destroys
"I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too
many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I'm an optimist. We will reach out to the stars," Hawking said.
is interesting to note that Hawking, a professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, says genetic engineering for new
bodies will probably be needed to make humans capable of surviving the rigors of space travel. He suggests that we develop
cyborgs, or humans with computers linked to their brains.
We might envision robotic bodies; a type of super human as
portrayed in films like the Robocop series, with bodies capable of withstanding extreme temperature changes and high solar
radiation bombardments. We also will have computers linked to the brain.
Why would we have computers wired into the
brain? In another interview with the German magazine Focus, Hawking said that because of the speed of advances in computer
technology, he foresees a time when intelligent machines will be smarter than humans and will have the capability of taking
over the world.
While that sounds like an old plot from a B-rated science fiction movie Hawking is dead serious about
Because technology is advancing so fast, Hawking said "computers double their performance every month." He warned
that humans, in contrast, are developing much more slowly. They are either going to change their DNA and develop the capability
of using the full potential of their brain, or be left behind.
"The danger is very real," the professor said.
said he believes that through careful manipulation of human genes, humans can raise the complexity of their personal DNA and
awaken the sleeping parts of their brains.
Hawking, a victim of ALS, a motor neuron disease that leaves him dependent
on machines, finds it easy to consider the concept of cyborg technology, with direct links between human brains and computers.
"We must develop as quickly as possible technologies that make possible a direct connection between brain and computer,
so that artificial brains contribute to human intelligence rather than opposing it."
The scientific community is already
looking into the possibilities of genetic engineering and human interaction with machines. But there is strong opposition
from the religious sector. Ethicists are urging caution and saying that humans have no business playing God through genetic
Like it or not, this is the course we are already on, and it is our opinion we must proceed quickly before
time runs out. The ice caps are melting, the planet is heating, the climate is quickly changing and the big storms are already