When futurists speak of the future of mankind they often raise the choice future humans will have to make whether or not they will wish to integrate with machines in order to become more competitive than humans. And with a new robot being developed by scientists in Japan (which itself carries incredible capabilities) this future choice may be necessary sooner than any of us thought.
Will you be among those who wish to incorporate machines into your body to become “more than human?” The incredible potential is shocking to say the least.
The question of when a machine is a living being may be soon taking an unexpected and interesting turn as scientists reveal a robot with genetically engineered frog cells designed to behave much like insect noses in order to allow robots to sniff out nearly identical chemical compounds and detect unusual microscopic differences in them. The incredible robotic nose is much smaller than other odor differentiating machinery making it more mobile for use in crime scene investigations, chemical spills, and military applications. Since the nose is connected to a mobile apparatus not only does it detect scents, but future models could even navigate around objects and seek out the source of smells.
In the future this machine could act as a sort of biologically enhanced cyborg bloodhound that gets the scent of something unique and seeks it out either by flying downwind of the object (or person) and then hones in with incredible accuracy. Likewise the object could also be released into the woods to help rescuers find missing persons and with an advanced sensor array not only detect the unique scent the person has, but also detect stress levels. In the case of crime scenes it could detect cadavers when released, and then analyze the bodies to detect the scents of other people nearby. In the case of drug detection it could sniff out with incredible accuracy shipments of drugs, and could even remain stationary at roadside checkpoints to detect passing drug shipments. The object could even associate smells with various emotional states and seek out those in need of comfort or rescuing. The applications of this object once it becomes mobile are virtually limitless.
But it’s not just about robots anymore. This object has actual genetically modified organic tissue inside it. This tissue serves to give the sensor its incredible detection ability without requiring massive amounts of power consuming machinery. And it is one of the early examples of a fusion between organic sensory data and an external machine. While this addition of organic tissue does not necessarily make it alive, it is also no longer conclusively not alive either. It’s the classic philosophical question: if you take the planks from one ship and trade them with another at what point do the ships have to trade names? With each additional organic component machines acquire, does this bring them that much closer to life? And when the reverse is true, and organic matter is replaced using the same technology with machinery, do those individuals slowly approach something other than life?