Sunday, June 1, 2008

Technology Changing Human Performance

Technology empowers me. As someone who's lived through the initial trauma of a spinal cord injury at age twenty, I'm certain had I lived a century ago I would never survived the first few days, let alone lived a full and productive life for twenty-nine additional years and still be going strong. Servomechanisms and PCs allow me to drive independently; I connect remotely to work via a laptop and data and telecommunication networks; and this past January I received a chair outfitted with gyros and three computers that enables me to once again communicate eye-to-eye with another standing adult. Wow how my life has changed!

Oscar Pistorius has a feel-good story too. He runs very fast, so fast he may compete in the Olympics; but on carbon fiber legs.
He has overcome unusual limitations as a disabled athlete. But his bid for the Olympics with artificial legs also raises fresh questions about what it means to be human.
Having not formed an opinion yet I am conflicted. On one hand I think, "You go Oscar!" On the other, I question whether the technology that empowers him makes for fair competition. I rest in the fact I don't have to decide. I urge you to read the full article and decide.

2 comments:

yeepage said...

nice and informative blog would you care to swap links?

http://ultralightwheelchairs.org
yeepage37@yahoo.com

IrmaPince said...

Kurt,
As promised I am working my way through the links you sent, when I noticed this intriguing entry. There is a new YA book out (yeah, yeah, I know - the librarian can't exist outside of the realm of books) called The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Set in a future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. After a car accident, doctors can only save 10% of her brain and none of her body. She is totally reconstructed and her memories downloaded. It is a fascinating examination of what it means to be human and how much can be artificial before you aren't "real".
JB