How To Talk To Cyborgs About the Human Body, Part II

Terminator

By Krissy Goelz (@krisgoelz)

Yesterday we started off talking out about cyborgs. Today well get a little further into that.

In the Amber Case TED Talk we shared yesterday, she tells a great story about her childhood. Her dad folded a piece of paper to show her that the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line, if you bend time and space to do it. So, as she said, “when I went to sleep for the next 10 or 20 years, I was thinking at night, ¢‚ǨÀúI want to be the first person to create a wormhole, to make things accelerate faster – and I want to create a time machine!’

Nothing like having big dreams, right? But she realized, as an adult, that cell phones do exactly that: they allow you to travel instantly. You can be sitting on a mountaintop, a hundred miles away from anyone or anything, and instantly have a conversation with someone on the other side of the planet. What would our ancestors have made of that statement? What is that, if not a wormhole?

Technology enables things that would sound like science fiction to our parents. But one thing still hamstrings us: ourselves. Computers and computer programming can be flummoxed by the uncertainty and chaos of humans. We act unpredictably. We have things called emotions. We respond differently based on distractions and sleep deprivation and mood and time of day. This is the contrast between humans and technology: technology is stable, relying on precise, linear facts, and humans and human actions arent always.

So, talking to cyborgs about the human body is both an art and a science. Theres the science of understanding technology, creating and harnessing it to help humans improve their health; and the art of actually using that technology to reach humans in a way that will be meaningful and effective.

Often, the two are kept separate. The geeks go off and learn the ins and outs of the technology, and the marketers sit around and philosophize about how best to communicate with the customers. But when the two come together – as were proud to say that we do every day – thats when you can really make magic.

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