By Krissy Goelz (@krisgoelz)
Have we watched one too many shows on SyFy? Nope: Talking to cyborgs about the human body is what we do every day.
Were not crazy. As anthropologist Amber Case says, “You are all actually cyborgs, but not the cyborgs that you think…Youre cyborgs every time you look at a computer screen or use one of your cell phone devices.
We are cyborgs, our clients are cyborgs, the patients that were developing applications and communications for are cyborgs. We modify ourselves by adding technologies to our person that will allow us to improve our abilities in our environments. We add smartphones to our pockets, headsets to our ears, and we improve our connectivity and capability. We mod ourselves like a teenage boy with a Honda.
Or, at least, we will if it gets us the experience that we want – both the function that we desire, and the pleasant ease of use to get there. We arent just cyborgs: were choosy cyborgs. Just like George, Jane, Judy and Elroy Jetson, we want our life to be made easier and simpler by our technology. Well glory in having digital access at our fingertips every moment of the day, but only if we dont have to add too many steps, learn too many procedures, or miss too many old habits. Which is why weve always defined new technologies in terms of the old ones. Films are called “movies because they were “moving pictures,” after all. It takes a while before we figure out what the potential of a new technology really is. Right now, some people using tablets like the iPad as a bigger iPhone, a flatter laptop, or an interactive legal pad. And as the gadget achieves wider adoption, we’ll really see it come into its own.
The key is not to wait for that time – the key is to start imagining the potential now. We have to stop thinking in terms of what’s here to work with right now, and start thinking outside those limitations, much bigger, in terms of what do our patients need, and what could emerging technology do for them. Heres a great example: a contact lens that changes color when the blood sugar of a person with diabetes is low. What can you do, like that – or better – for your cyborgs?