In the ongoing conflict between man and machine, the next device to point out the upcoming fusion of humans and machines that will face all of those opposed to and encouraging this trans-human change in the future. While it does not integrate an artificial machine into the body itself, with improvements in medical technology, how soon will it be before we see humans with prehensile tails? And what else does this mean for the future of the human race?
Body modification has been around since the first ear piercings and tattoos were integrated with the human form. As time went on, eventually tribes would use rings to guide the growth of the skull and make it elongated. Long necks, considered more attractive to some cultures, would be encouraged by placing rings around them. Finally, as technology and cultural extremes became more advanced body modification would take a whole new level. But now it seems the world of prosthetics and body modification for fashion may have a future with the creation of a prehensile tail in Japan that could be worn by humans and react to their movements like a perfectly organic tail. How long before this trend toward fusing humans and machines for the purpose of fashion takes it to the next level?
The tail, developed by Ryota Kuwakubo to mimic the movements of an organic tail is an attempt to express what tails would have been like for humans if we had them today. And while it may not cure diseases or allow for spontaneous energy production, it certainly has caught the attention of the trans-humanist movement, and some members who say it is bringing us one step closer to the eventual fusion of humans and machines that make them more (and paradoxically less) human.
The tail works with complex sensors that detect the movements of the wearer and adapt to react accordingly. And while it may look like a fashion accessory now, in ten or twenty years it could be compact enough to be making headlines as some wish to reclaim the tail lost to them by evolution.
Already trans-humanists have opted to integrate electronic devices into their own bodies. The now famous blogger and artist “Eyeborg” opted to have a camera placed in a glass eye which he wears to record events he wishes to remember. Earlier last year one NYU professor had a camera surgically implanted in the back of his head as part of an art exhibition. He did, however, have it removed when the pain proved to be too great to continue the experiment. But electronic integration of tools is something that we are seeing come forth each day. And if the device is being built, it’s only a matter of time before someone attempts to make it a permanent installation. And when surgical technology catches up, we could be seeing that very transition (for better or worse) showing up around the world. And then we will be finally faced with the question, how much can be changed before we are no longer human, but rather something else?