Maybe I’m dating myself when I reference this show – But The Six Million Dollar Man was a hugely popular television show in the ‘70’s that chronicled the life of a man who was in a severe crash and needed major body reconstruction to survive. The man was ‘rebuilt’ to feature numerous ‘bionic’ implants and body parts that gave him superhuman strength, speed and vision. While this seemed far-fetched and science fiction 30+ years ago, this is quickly becoming a reality as more advancements in the medical field are yielding new machine-to-human interfaces. Think of the Cochlear “Bionic Ear” Implant – currently implanted and improving hearing in more than 110,000 people worldwide. DARPA is also aggressively advancing this market with its “Revolutionizing Prosthetics” investment initiative. Many of these new devices are being deployed with networking technology to provide enhanced monitoring and control features. We are even seeing how entertainment adaptations are changing! Movies continue to evolve their representations of human-machine integration – from earlier adaptations such as Robocop and the Terminator, through the likes of iRobot and The Matrix, robots are becoming more and more human-like.
It’s easy to get caught up in the fantasy world created by the latest movies that seem to be very telling of the time and the beliefs of what our futures hold. One may ask, what does this mean to us today? What considerations need to be given to these new machine-to-human interfaces in the medical field? These advances are all created to improve and extend a person’s life in meaningful and fulfilling ways. One is the immediate reality that the more we leverage computer technology within our body, we may expose ourselves to hackers. Check out this list of ten everyday items you might not have considered as new areas where we are vulnerable to attack from computer hackers.
Of all the everyday items on the list, from your car to cell phone to home printer to your refrigerator, the one that caught our attention the most was the human body. Computers are now helping the disable walk or speak, among many other everyday tasks, making our idea of ‘bionic’ humans a reality. There are numerous Americans with pacemakers, which can potentially be hacked, as it leverages Bluetooth technology and can be connected to the Internet.
We’re curious, what are your thoughts?