Bionic Limbs

I have always enjoyed listening to Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR… It used to air in the afternoon and coincides with my commute and picking up the kids from school but then NPR moved the program to be aired in the evening and I missed it.  As luck would have it, I found myself doing Taxi Duty tonight.  I dropped my son off and had an hour to myself while I waited.  I brought a good book but when Fresh Air came on the radio, I couldn’t resist and just had to listen.  And, just like I remembered, eavesdropping on Terry’s conversations with her guests never disappoint. 

I totally recommend that you listen and make up your own mind about The Double Amputee Who Designs Better Limbs – an interview that left me hopeful… That re-enforced my belief in the human spirit and left me inspired… That reminded me how passionate I was about artificial intelligence when I was at the University of Waterloo…That confirmed for me that we truly are on a path towards what some call The Singularity – a topic that’s come up again and again since it was on the cover of the feb 21, 2011 issue of Time Magazine.  The small print in the lower right hand corner reads: “if you believe humans and machines will become one.  Welcome to the Singularity movement”.  I found a roadmap online leading up to the year 2045 The Year Man Becomes Immortal)…

I don’t know if man and machine will become one.  I know that when I was pregnant I used to wonder if the kids would come out pre-wired to be plugged in.  I’m not kidding.  I used to have these waking dreams, and I used to joke about it.   

“I’m titanium, carbon, silicon, a bunch of nuts and bolts… My limbs that I wear have 12 computers, five sensors and muscle-like actuator systems that able me to move throughout my day.” ~ Hugh Herr, The Double Amputee Who Designs Better Limbs.

He talked about exoskeletons for humans… Hmmm. 

Later in the interview, he predicts the creating of neural connections to the artificial limbs: “The nervous system of the human will be able to communicate directly with the synthetic nervous system of the artificial limb.”

Brilliant I thought to myself. 

They mentioned a book in the interview that I just ordered on Amazon – Looked interesting – I read the reviews and clicked on surprise me and liked the page that came up… beyond that, I can’t comment one way or the other since I don’t yet have it.  The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab Are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Transform Our Lives

I love this stuff!  Technology and innovation mixed with some heart and hope from our humanity.  It represents for me the potential for what we dream to become reality.

Thank you Hugh Herr for embracing your calling this lifetime and making your contribution!  I listened and felt humbled by your spirit.

Mentally and emotionally stimulated and buzzing with the possibilities of my own dreams, I had a great conversation with my son on the long drive back home – a conversation about his dreams.