Enhanced: The Future of Human Enablement

What would really happen if the Borg landed on planet Earth? Before the cube was overtaken by the mob and stripped for parts, people would line up for those promised human enhancements. Save some of those nanoprobes for me. Before Locutus finished telling us how futile resistance was, someone would have ripped that eyepiece right out of his face and had it integrated into their own active nerve.

We are absolutely down with upgrades and enhancement. Bring it on! And if that means we end up with an arm that ends up in a multitool that morphs between a screwdriver and a beer opener, we can live with that. Fortunately (or unfortunately), such “enhancements” are not on offer. But you might be surprised at some of what is available.

Some people reject the idea of human tampering as some type of unnatural abomination. “If God meant for us to fly, we would have been born with wings!” But that does not address another very important segment of the population typified by those who were certainly meant to walk but were not born with functioning legs. Human enhancements are not just about biological tinkering, not that biological tinkering is a bad thing. It is just that there is more to the story than that. Here are some of the latest human enhancements and why we should all be excited about them:

Wear a Super Suit

Every fan of the Incredibles knows the significance of a super suit. While we don’t have such a suit specifically designed around our amazing superpowers, we do have access to one that can grant us impressive human enhancements.

This is not science fiction. You can get a powered exoskeleton suit right now that provides enhanced strength and endurance. Think warehousing and manufacturing settings.

Think about all the heavy items you have to lift in such work environments. Now, think about all the strain, back pain, and knee pain that comes with it. Imagine an exoskeleton (robot suit) you wear that literally does all the heavy lifting. With such a suit, a strong person would be able to do more with less stress on the body. A person who might not have been able to do the job at all now has a path into that industry. In the near future, the question will not be how much weight you can lift, but how much lifting capacity your exoskeleton is rated for.

Muscle Enhancers

Your options for muscle growth are so plentiful these days, it feels a little like cheating. You can grow muscle without being zapped with a hulking level of gamma rays. Also, the gamma rays would kill you.

Be aware that muscle enhancement pills are not magic. The best way to build muscles is now, and will always be the old-fashioned way. You have to do the work if you want the reward. Muscle building supplements are not shortcuts for avoiding the work. They are enhancements that make the work pay off much better.

There are also people who do the work but their biology just will not let them build the muscle they want. It is not their fault. And now, they don’t have to live with the human limitation. Forget limitations. Bulk up; don’t Hulk up. Warning, you will likely have to buy new clothes to fit your new physique.

Accessibility Human Enhancements

Have you ever placed a hearing aid in your ear? Your first thought is that while there is nothing wrong with your hearing, it sure would be nice to have this superhuman hearing whenever you liked. What you have to realize is that the high tech already exists, not to give you superhuman hearing, but to give the hearing impaired normal human hearing. That is the most super thing of all.

It is comforting to know that the most advanced hearing aids are available to veterans. Accessibility tech is giving back hearing, eyesight, mobility, and dexterity to people who have served with life and limb. Those are enhancements we can all get behind.

Fantasies aside, I don’t think anyone really wants to be Spiderman. But we would like a bit of help lifting things, a little more muscle, and a little more of the abilities we have lost along the way. Technology can do that for us today.

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