Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Purity First: The Anti-Human Augmentation Movement Of 2027 (

While the video below is a promo for a new video game called Deus Ex, this post is not about the game. 

The game is a "typical" (though the initial reviews indicate it is actually pretty good...) action RPG video game.  As with many games these days, there is an effort to create a promotional "buzz" in advance of launch.  One marketing tactic often used is to create faux reports of disasters or crises that haven't happened (in the great tradition of War of the Worlds, The Day After and Cloverfield).  It is particularly effective for these near-future kinds of story.  This is such an effort  (for another, see the trailer to The Curfew).

What caught my eye, though, was the subject of this "revolutionary propaganda film" -- human augmentation.  Take a look (Note:  This video is fairly graphic and not for the young or squeamish)...

In my post last week I noted how "human augmentation" -- the process of using technology to make humans better, smarter, faster (as we used to say back when this stuff only cost 6 million or so...) -- had made it onto the early part of the Gartner Hype Cycle.

Most of us would think, I guess, that human augmentation is generally a good thing.  Who wouldn't want an amputee to be able to hold his child's hand or someone who was without legs to be able to walk?

The idea that these kinds of prosthetics and implants are getting so "good" that they might offer people actual (unfair?) advantages rather than merely make up for a perceived deficiency is relatively new.

Two people who have dealt with the consequences of this are Oscar Pistorius and Aimee Mullins, both runners who have lost their legs. Pistorius is a South African who has had to fight to be able to compete for a slot on the South African Olympics team.  Mullins ran college track with the use of specially designed prosthetic legs back in the 90's.

Mullins is particularly interesting as she has gone on to a career as a fashion model and motivational speaker.  She actually makes the case in the speech below that her artificial limbs give her an advantage.

It is hard to imagine that the dystopian view of human augmentation depicted in Deus Ex will ever come to pass but both these videos are worth watching for the counterpoints they represent (and the kinds of decisions we might be faced with in the future).


Andrew Fournaridis said...


Another interesting, somewhat unrelated point...

The original game, released in 2000, was supposed to take place in 2052.

Ten years later, the writers had to make a PREQUEL to a game that took place in the future, where a lot of today's current technology has already surpassed that of the original game (ex: the original had e-newspapers or something, but Kindle/iPad has eliminated that element as a technology possibility) Must have been hell for the writers.

I wish I could find some commentary on it.

KG said...

I think this has some relevance to this post.