Upgrading Ourselves: 

  • Elon Musk says humans will need to become cyborgs to maintain relevance and avoid drowning in the rising sea of automation and AI. While the further integration of hardware and our bodies and brains is virtually guaranteed (see: pacemakers, IUDs, brain implants to reduce Parkinson's symptoms, etc.) the idea that embedded upgrades will become necessities for economic survival is fraught with ethical and legal issues. We already live in a world where the rules around exactly how we can use, hack, repair or alter technology are complicated, restricting our access to our everyday devices. If you combine intellectual property frameworks like those intersecting our basic human rights for bodily autonomy, along with the fact that workers being displaced by technology and struggling to find work will also struggle to find the means to afford such procedures, you have all the makings of a true moral quagmire. For the future to do more than echo injustices of the past dressed up in a shiny veneer of new technology, areas of development like this will require incredibly careful steps. Assuming there is a 'proper' way to engage with concepts like cyborg-laborers, there will still be deep impacts on culture and society, with real potential to permanently segment populations in ways we've never seen before. 


Engineering Communities: 



  • Some background on the Keep Austin Weird slogan, how it's been adopted by other weird (or aspirationally weird) cities and the many attempts by others to commercialize it and cash in. 


More next week.