• Ashley Boolell

The Age of Ultra Bionics | A new era to cheat death.

The definition given by Wikipedia to "Bionics" is the following: "The application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology." The website goes further by specifying the definition applicable to medicine: "The replacement or enhancement of organs or other body parts by mechanical versions. Bionic implants differ from mere prostheses by mimicking the original function very closely, or even surpassing it." It is this second definition which will act as the basis for the present blog post. One of my key goals as a novelist is to build stories around potential future developments. The latter can take many forms and, contrary to what some of my readers have suggested, they are not always filled with darkness and cynicism. It is true that these elements are part of my signature as a writer but sometimes a ray of sunshine can be spotted here and there in my novels. One of these rays comes from the assumption that progress in the field of bionics will increase immeasurably over the next few decades. At this point, some readers might be tempted to ask me the following questions: "How do you know?", "Do you have proof backed by scientific data?", "Isn't that just a giant leap of faith?" etc. I will readily admit that I would not be able to answer these questions with reasonable precision, but I do know this: the obsession with surpassing natural human abilities and extending peak physical condition far beyond the age of 35 just keeps getting bigger. All things considered, this is probably the consequence of significant increases in life expectancy. After all, if an average life expectancy above 90 years becomes the norm, it would be painful to have just over one-third of this period qualify as youth. The term "youth" is not just about physical aesthetics. It also includes a host of features such as an impeccable cardiovascular system and the absence of diseases that start to appear around middle-age (45 - 65). This is where progress in bionics becomes interesting to track. At the moment, it appears that 35 is the unquestionable youth "limit". But what if bionics push this limit to 50 if not higher? Imagine the following scenario: the year is 2053 and 50-year old athletes are competing at the Olympics. Their bionic structures mean that they have the same capabilities as "natural" 20-year old athletes. Of course, there is no guarantee that both groups would compete in the same events since the use of bionic advancements could be considered as cheating. Bionics versus Bionics would make more sense than Bionics versus Naturals. But sporting events aside, the potential advent of mass-produced bionic organs could trigger an arms race in wider society to cheat death. I am convinced that regardless of the times considered, people will always be afraid of death. Always. And if the means to fight death on its turf become readily available, there is no reason to believe why self-centred humans will not abuse them. As soon as this happens, we can imagine this scenario: the year is 2057 and the bionics market is now fully segmented. Rich people buy the most sophisticated physical enhancements that tremendously improve their bodies whereas poor people only manage to buy enhancements with a short lifespan and whose cost of replacement is prohibitive. In short, buying a bionic enhancement in 2057 would be like buying a mobile phone in 2021. Your model will depend on your money and your self-importance. Let's call this insane possibility the Age of Ultra Bionics. Happy reading,

Ashley Boolell

Market Dystopia is available in the Amazon Bookstore on the following links:

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Intro video here

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