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Opinions From Around The World: Abdeldayem Hassanein – Bionics and Other Emerging Technologies

Opinions From Around The World: Abdeldayem Hassanein – Bionics and Other Emerging Technologies

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Abdeldayem Hassanein


Editor’s Note: It is extremely important that supporters of transhumanism understand the opinions of peoples from every nation. I, Kimberly Forsythe, decided to reach out to people from other cultures and asked them to give me their opinions on the topic of transhumanist tech. My goal is to better understand why some may object to the idea based on various cultural differences.

As I receive the essays, I will publish them. My hope is that we can work together to build more international bridges and achieve progress that works for as many people as possible. This first essay was written by Abdeldayem Hassanein, an MD and medical writer from Egypt.

He was already familiar with some aspects of transhumanism, especially the areas of bionics and nanotechnology. I asked him to write a piece from his point of view. Here is Abdeldayem’s essay in its entirety.

~ Kimberly Forsythe, Member, United States Transhumanist Party, December 4, 2020


“A person can never be broken. Our built environment, our technologies, are broken and disabled.”

~ Hugh Herr

Hugh Herr, a victim of leg amputation, said the above sentence during a presentation where he expressed his opinion about bionics. Bionics are prostheses that combine the qualities of both technology and biology. The bionic leg has three attachment layers to the human body: mechanical, biological, and electrical. Joints are supplemented with a special metallic blade sensitive to body voltage. With voltage zero, the blade relaxes while with 1-degree voltage, the blade stiffens, enabling the handicapped to walk without support. The equipment is attached to the nerve ending at the site of amputation. Hugh was injured by frostbite after falling while he was climbing a mountain. [3]

Bionics are categorized under the “Human+” outlook, a philosophy encouraging innovation and updating. Yet, some nations hate some aspects of this philosophy like its seeking for immortality on Earth, age conversion, as well as its experimentation with genetic materials.

In 2017, eye bionics appeared. An elder patient with an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa, with decades of blindness, all of a sudden shouted in happiness after a surgical operation where sensors were implanted in his eye retinae and were combined with eyeglasses supplemented with a camera. He found himself capable of differentiating between orange trees and apple trees. He could watch TV but without color discrimination. [4]

Scientists in the Biotechnology department in one bionic center spent 200 days evaluating the mode of manufacture of a leg for a female dancer  who lost her leg after a blast injury in Afghanistan. She could successfully return to her beloved dancing. [2]

Hand prostheses previously were only cosmetic. With bionics, however, the amputated person can play with cards, open a door with a key, shake the hand, count the currency precisely, and drive a car. It was a dramatic moment when a pretty girl of 20 years old, who was born mute due to congenital anomalies in her ears, started to hear after implantation of metallic sensors near the eight cranial nerves – devices which provided her with sound magnifiers. [1] [5]

It appears that science is a double-edged weapon. Aspirin, the first drug lowering fever, was abused during the Spanish Influenza pandemic and caused a lot of toxicities from an overdose. Thalidomide, a drug supposed to calm pregnant ladies, was an investigational drug under the supervision of German and American researchers. The German regulatory body was in hurry to pass Stage 3 of evaluation and allowed German citizens to use thalidomide while pregnant, while the American regulators preferred to postpone its usage for further evaluation. The result was the birth in Germany of a couple of babies with serious congenital anomalies called Phaecomalia, where the baby lacks both arms and legs.

Transhumanists are not always welcomed. The so-called Haredi Jews in Jerusalem are conservative to the degree that they disallow TV inside the home, allow Internet only at work, and disallow couples meeting except in the dark. Such a style makes them resistant to many activities of the Transhumanists. [7]

Some historians think that science alone is not sufficient to lead humans to utopia. Also, the classic way of research, including meta-analysis, systematic review, and even experimental studies would not be sufficient to alleviate all human sufferings. Scientists made a lot of efforts in search for COVID-19 vaccine, while a only little effort was devoted to investigating the disappearance of half a trillion bees inside the USA during only the past 14 years, a phenomenon is known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Bees are required for forest pollination and hence may help reduce ground-level ozone pollution by supporting forests that absorb ground-level ozone. Without this effect, the phenomenon of global warming may be accelerated.

However, there is some hope in regard to adoption of emerging technologies throughout the world. For example, nanotechnology supplies gold nanoparticles to treat cancer of the female genital tract, and the materials are considered cheap. Some hospitals use nano-painting due to its bactericidal effects. [8]

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[1] Connolly, Christine. “Prosthetic hands from touch bionics.” Industrial Robot: An International Journal 35, no. 4 (2008): 290-293.

[2] Rouse, Elliott J., Nathan C. Villagaray-Carski, Robert W. Emerson, and Hugh M. Herr. “Design and testing of a bionic dancing prosthesis.” PloS one 10, no. 8 (2015): e0135148.

[3] Herr, Hugh M., and Alena M. Grabowski. “Bionic ankle-foot prosthesis normalizes walking gait for persons with leg amputation.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279, no. 1728 (2012): 457-464.

[4] Coffey, Valerie C. “Vision accomplished: the bionic eye.” Optics and Photonics News 28, no. 4 (2017): 24-3.

[5] Kral, Andrej, and Thomas Lenarz. “How the brain learns to listen: deafness and the bionic ear.” Neuroforum 21, no. 1 (2015): 21-28.

[6] Kribs-Zaleta, Christopher M., and Christopher Mitchell. “Modeling colony collapse disorder in honeybees as a contagion.” Mathematical Biosciences & Engineering 11, no. 6 (2014): 1275.

[7] Friedman, Menachem. “The Haredi (ultra-orthodox) society: Sources, trends and processes.” Jerusalem: The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (1991).

[8] Naddafi, K., H. Jabbari, and M. Chehrehei. “Effect of nanosilver painting on control of hospital air-transmitted microorganisms.” Journal of Environmental Health Science & Engineering 7, no. 3 (2010): 223-228.

Why Toyota Is a Transhumanist Company – Article by Arin Vahanian

Why Toyota Is a Transhumanist Company – Article by Arin Vahanian

Arin Vahanian


When people think about the company that most embodies Transhumanism, Google certainly comes to mind. With subsidiaries such as its R&D facility Google X (dedicated to launching ambitious technologies that aim to make the world a better place), and its biotech company Calico (dedicated to combating aging and associated diseases), not to mention other projects it is involved in, Google seems to be well-poised to carry the Transhumanist torch.

However, one company that I believe has been flying under the radar in this regard, but also embodies Transhumanism, is Toyota. While it might not be the first organization many people think of when they think about Transhumanism, and while its products are not nearly as revolutionary as Google’s, it would be unfair to not also include Toyota among the firms most responsible for spreading the values of Transhumanism.

The main reason why I believe this to be the case is related to the Japanese art and science of continuous improvement, called Kaizen. As I wrote in my book Kaizen for Men, the philosophy of Kaizen assumes that our way of life, which includes our work life, social life, and home life, should be constantly improved. We do this by taking small steps toward improving processes, products, services, habits, and actions. In essence, the spirit of Kaizen is that there should be some sort of improvement every day.

There are many ways in which Toyota uses Kaizen, but here I shall specify a few ways the firm approaches continuous improvement, and then relate it to the philosophy of Transhumanism.

First, the Toyota Production System is dedicated not only to improving products and processes, but also to eliminating waste and inefficiencies in an organization. Just as Toyota uses PDCA, an improvement cycle methodology to solve problems found on the shop floor, and just as Toyota seeks to eliminate different types of waste in its manufacturing process (such as defect correction, inventory, and overproduction), Transhumanists seek to find ways every day to improve the human condition, and to eliminate waste and inefficiency from our lives. An example of this would be the Transhumanist pledge to improving the quality of life through increased funding for science and technology, as well as support for inventions such as bionic prostheses, which now allow people who previously lost limbs, to live more productive lives, and to better function as members of society.

Next, Toyota’s dedication to finding the root cause of problems (through tools such as the 5 Whys method and the Cause and Effect diagram), rather than just addressing the symptoms, is similar to the way Transhumanists are addressing the challenges brought forth by aging, cancer, and rare diseases. The hope is that by finding the root cause of these issues, as opposed to just prescribing medication and hoping for the best, that we can eradicate illnesses that have been plaguing humanity for centuries.

Further, at Toyota, the practice of Hansei, or self-reflection, involves acknowledging one’s own mistakes and pledging improvement. For instance, at Toyota, even if a task is completed successfully, teams hold a self-reflection meeting, whereby team members help identify failures experienced along the way and create a plan for future efforts. This insistence on acknowledging current limitations and stressing improvement in order to build a better future is exactly what Transhumanists have been dedicated to since the very founding of the movement.

Finally, Toyota is not just Transhumanist in the way that it builds products or helps its employees improve. It is also Transhumanist in the way that it communicates its values and markets its products. The slogan for Lexus, Toyota’s luxury line of automobiles, is “The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection.” What could be more Transhumanist than this? When most people think of Toyota, they think of high-quality, reliable, well-designed products sold at a reasonable price. For better or worse, the automobile has become a staple of modern living for many decades now, and few things seem as normal to us now as getting into a car and driving away to some destination, be it our workplace, a friend’s house, or a vacation destination.

Therefore, just as the automobile has become commonplace in our lives, and just as Toyota has become known as a reputable company releasing quality products that meet the needs of many people, so Transhumanism must become the most popular philosophy when it comes to improvement and self-actualization. Transhumanism isn’t a fringe movement, it’s the human movement.

After all, I imagine that almost all people would consider improvement to be quite positive, and would consider actualizing oneself to be one of the most rewarding and valuable goals in the human condition.

This is the promise of Transhumanism. Just as Toyota seeks to be better every day, and to release better products every day, so we must all decide to be better every day, and to seek continuous improvement. This is why I believe that Kaizen and Transhumanism are linked at the core. Because just as we must take steps every day toward releasing better products and services, we must work every day toward being better human beings and building a future our children would want to live in.

Arin Vahanian is Director of Marketing for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

 

 

Veterans’ Transhumanist Association Interest – Announcement by John LaRocco

Veterans’ Transhumanist Association Interest – Announcement by John LaRocco

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John LaRocco


I am seeking potential interest in forming a Veteran Transhumanist Association, aimed at military veterans and those with experience working for/with them. In addition to providing a place where transhumanist-leaning veterans could gather, it would also engage in promoting the development and use of open-source and low-cost bionics (and skills necessary to develop and fabricate them) to vets and the public at large. Let me know if you are interested.

Contact Information for John LaRocco

E-mail: jwl54@uclive.ac.nz

Website: http://www.johnlarocco.com

John LaRocco is an electrical and biomedical engineer doing a postdoc at University of Texas. His areas of research interest include neuroengineering, brain-computer interface (BCI), prosthetics, additive manufacturing, sports biomechanics, 3D-printed weapons forensics, digital currencies, synthetic organisms, and historical technology. He has a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Biomedical Engineering from The College of New Jersey, and a Master of Sciences degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Rowan University. His recreational interests include writing, reading, martial arts, finance, folklore, and history.