I love the work the scientists at Harvard do. They continually push mankind into the future with research into Iron Man suits and male birth control pills. There are times, however, when I wish Harvard would just keep some things secret. This is one of those times.
Harvard scientists have been credited with the creation of a “cyborg” tissue. In reality, it’s a little more complicated than that. The scientists have been able to combine lab-grown flesh with nanoscale wires. This creates a material with the texture of skin, but the underlying network of nanoscale electrodes and wires gives the skin the sense of touch.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. That doesn’t sound so bad. In fact, this is a major breakthrough for people with injuries that kill nerve endings. We’ll be able to graft skin onto people while also giving them back their sense of touch. It’s the kind of technology that has the potential to better the lives of thousands of people.
It’s all well and good, until lead researcher Charles M. Lieber opens his mouth. In an interview with the Harvard Gazette, he says this new technology will make it “difficult to determine where the tissue ends and the electronics begin.” That should send a collective shiver down the spine of every cyberpunk nerd and futurist.
This is just the first step to robots becoming more human. We all know what happens when you can’t tell man apart from a machine. First the machine demands rights and then the machine demands those rights with a minigun attached to its arm.
Maybe I’m looking too deeply into this. Harvard probably has the best of intentions with this latest project. They surely just want to restore the sense of touch to millions of disabled people around the world. They obviously don’t want to facilitate the robotic uprising, right?