How Soon Until We Are All Cyborgs?

As a solution to extreme color-blindness, one cybernetic device allows colors to be experienced as sounds, even the infrared spectrum. Should we get on the cyborg bandwagon?

What's the Latest Development?

When Neil Harbisson was born, he experienced the world in a more limited way than most people in that he could only see in shades of gray. Now, however, he experiences colors as sounds thanks to a cybernetic device implanted in the back of his neck. What's more, the device is sensitive to a larger portion of the color spectrum, such as infrared, than is visible to the human eye. Harbisson has therefore been given a kind of seventh sense, hearing colors that none of us will ever experience. He uses that extra sense to make art, expressing color through sound and also translating sound into color. 

What's the Big Idea?

In September, Harbisson will have the device permanently implanted. Doctors in Barcelona, Spain, will place the device inside his bone, allowing him to experience colors more vividly because his body will be more sensitive to the device's vibrations, which produce sound frequencies. It took Harbisson an entire year to convince doctors that the operation was ethical and that the cybernetic device formed an essential part of his body. In the future, the power of computers seems likely to benefit the human body directly, augmenting our senses in a way that gives us a more complete understanding of life. 

Photo credit:

Setting a maximum wage for CEOs would be good for everyone

Could this be the long-awaited solution to economic inequality?

Apple CEO Tim Cook looks on during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus on September 12, 2017 in Cupertino, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

Under capitalism, the argument goes, it's every man for himself. Through the relentless pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they can, not only for their goods but also for their labour. Whatever the market price is is, in turn, what the buyer should pay. Just like the idea that there should be a minimum wage, the idea that there should be a maximum wage seems to undermine the very freedom that the free market is supposed to guarantee.

Keep reading Show less

How humans evolved to live in the cold

Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Surprising Science
  • According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
  • Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
  • Behavioral and dietary changes also helped humans adapt to cold climates.
Keep reading Show less

Drill, Baby, Drill: What will we look for when we mine on Mars?

It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back

  • In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
  • Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
  • The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points
Keep reading Show less