Saturday, April 10, 2010

Augemented Senses

For the cyborg fans among us, it appears that science is on the cusp of integrating technology with human information processing. It's on a limited scale, at the moment, but if you're familiar with the D20 gaming system Shadow Run and the novels the game has spawned, then you're familiar with the concept of hardware implants designed to let human consciousness mesh with computer generated visualizations. The questions (and therefore story points) just keep popping up. At what point do technological enhancements turn a human into a cyborg? What happens to the human brain when the admittedly cool tech like that detailed in the article linked above makes it so that our brains no longer have to learn to operate on a spacial basis? Is there inherent mental/physical benefit - beyond being able to find your way from point A to point B - in having to learn how to read a map or visualize your city and your position therein? Can something as simple as a pair of glasses giving directions really influence how humans evolve? In what way? Aren't there at least a thousand stories in this single article? I have mine. The third, as yet untitled, book in the Enemy series (Enemy Within, Enemy Games - from Berkley Sensations in November 2010 and Spring 2011) includes a heroine using technology to enhance and sometimes to compensate for her senses. What's your story?

6 comments:

  1. Wow, the future is here. And you raise some fascinating questions - I especially love: Can something as simple as a pair of glasses giving directions really influence how humans evolve?

    A big congrats on your forthcoming releases, Marcella! I checked out your web site and discovered we're neighbors in the real world as well as the virtual one.

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  2. Are you a Seattle Chapter member, Sharon? I'm an Eastside RWA member, though I live in Ballard...If you're going to the Emerald City Conference this year, we'll have to get a SFR Brigade party (even if it's only a drink...) together.

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  3. Great food for thought!

    I work for a biotechnology company and I can tell you that neural interfaces or brain computer interfaces is a huge and fast developing area of research. Great article here: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/04/braintweet/

    The focus now is on creating prosthetics that are controlled by thought for people who’ve been injured and lost one or more limbs. Or even in thought controlled devices for people who are completely paralyzed. But this is an area that could go in any number of directions.

    At what point in the future will people choose to give up a natural limb to be replaced by one better suited to the task that is important to them or their work? It seems like a crazy choice to us now, but how will people feel about it in the future? When will a virtual life be an acceptable alternative?

    In one of the worlds I write in, some people have chosen to give up their physical life for a life lived through a computer interface. They’ve become the information technology workers of the future. There are a million stories in this subject, so some are sure to be perfect fodder for romance!

    Congrats on the upcoming release. Be sure to remind us when it's out!

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  4. Yep, I am a GSRWA member. I would love to meet up at the conference if I end up going! (Waiting to see how finances look...)

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  5. Oo. Charles, thanks for the Wired link and for yet more questions to explore in future books! :D

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  6. Great post! I wear contacts to improve my vision--can I please be a cyborg? Pretty please?!

    Marcella, congrats on your book sales! Smokin'!

    I don't have a story, but I recently discovered that Ann Somerville (INTERSTITIAL; ON WINGS, RISING) has a new release coming out on April 20, 2010 called SOMATESTHESIA (Samhain). One of the heroes (it's m/m) has scientifically enhanced senses.

    I have an advanced copy that I'm about to start (neener), but you can read the excerpt here. The excerpt has all the enhancement goodies.

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