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This is one of the areas I think is fascinating about prosthesis - once we get to the point where they're essentially connected in to the brain, and can be used as though they were a natural limb, what would happen if say, you raised a child with the ability to control four arms as naturally as two? Or raised them with non-humanoid limbs?





I was once involved in a DARPA study that looked at this.

My takeaway: we have no idea whether the neurocontrol parts of the brain are this plastic. It might work great; it might totally fail. Nobody knows yet.


How many extra arms did they give you? Did you get to keep them?

Yes, two. They’re in my lab;)

Another really cool application would be the ability to control extremities that aren't part of your body. Using the internet, you could deliver whole-body experiences to robotic shells thousands of km away from your actual body or in virtual environments. The indian concept of avatars, also part of christian religion, would become scientific reality.

There's a startup, I believe it's in Japan, that is working on this. Basically you'd have generic looking prosthetic humans at popular tourist locations, and you could pay to rent them for a set amount of time, remotely controlling them with sensors attached to your body, and seeing through their eyes with a VR helmet.

The pen & paper RPG eclipse phase is going one step further there. Singularity AI's are ... well replicating and harvesting on earth with little consequence for the biological implications. As such, humans are uploading their minds to escape shuttles, since you can fit a million people on a storage raid the size of a person. And then there's corporations providing cheap robotic bodies... It's an amazingly disgusting yet realistic setting.

I personally think that prosthetics and mechanical augmentation will become commonplace in the future. Humans are smart enough to create tools that allow us to surive where we normally couldn't, I don't see why we wouldn't eventaully get to a point where we decide that we can create better bodies for ourselves, instead of waiting for evolution to eventually work its magic.



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