Technology Tuesday: June 20
Welcome to Technology Tuesday! Every week The Job Shop Blog will bring you our 5 top science and technology news stories from around the web.
This week: How the cyborg might be the next stage of human evolution, what a fully automated society might mean for humanity, babies with three parents, doctors are fighting depression by targeting the brain’s wiring, and Magic Leap claims it will launch soon and change everything.
The Next Stage of Human Evolution May be Cyborgs
Cyborgs: humans who have been merged with machines; a hybrid of sorts. What was once the subject of far-out science fiction has now entered reality as a medical tool. From implants to robotics, there is a whole host of emerging technologies that aim to treat health conditions and aid those suffering from different disabilities by turning people into, technically, cyborgs.
It might seem to be going too far to use the term cyborg when discussing, for instance, new versions of prosthetic limbs. However, carbon fiber and titanium prostheses are now commonplace, and most artificial limbs are fully functional. For example, in the video below, you can see the dexterity and capabilities of one prosthetic arm. Since this video was created, prostheses have advanced even further, with researchers going so far as to create robotic hands that can be controlled with one’s brain — and they have a sense of touch.
Is Content Creation the Answer to Our Concerns About Automation?
Automation will force most people out of a job and society will eventually be forced to adopt some form of universal basic income. What then? What are people going to do when they no longer have to work?
Initially it seems like a nice problem to have as it will free people to do what they really want to do with their lives. But we define ourselves by how we contribute to society, for most people their career is the answer to who they are and what they do.
A New Startup is Commercializing the Fertility Treatment Behind “3 Parent” Babies
A U.S. physician named John Zhang has created a fertility startup based on the technology used to create three parent babies. The technique, “spindle nuclear transfer,” is primarily geared towards older women who hope to get pregnant by transferring their DNA into a younger, healthier donor egg.
Originally, this technique was developed to prevent rare diseases caused by mitochondrial mutations passed down from parents to children. Replacing the mother’s egg with a healthy donor egg, then simply injecting her nucleus into that egg, eliminates most of her mitochondria. Zhang says the technique is just as feasible to “rejuvenated” eggs for women who would be considered too old to conceive naturally. Zhang’s company, Darwin Life, plans to offer the “infertility cure” to women ages 42 to 47, including those outside the U.S. where the procedure remains illegal.
Doctors Are Now Fighting Depression by Targeting the Brain’s Wiring, Not Its Chemical Makeup
Depression is becoming an epidemic that is damaging individuals, society, and the economy. Its has become the leading source of disability and of ill health in the U.S. It affects more than 15 million adults in total, including 1.5 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 18 in a given year. Depression is especially on the rise in young people, with its rates in teenage girls jumping by 37 percent over the last decade.
Researchers have developed a revolutionary treatment that pulses magnetic waves into the brain, treating depression by changing neurological structures. It has been shown to be extremely effective and could be an alternative to antidepressant medications.
Magic Leap is Getting Ready to Disrupt Multiple Industries
At eMerge 2017, Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz gave a number of updates concerning his company’s first product, which is currently in production. He revealed in his speech that the technology is “up and running and live” — it is hands free, does not require looking through a video display, and introduces an entirely new class to the technology which he coined as “spatial computing.”
Another exciting piece of news is that it is being priced for “affordability” — Abovitz stated “if you’re willing to pay for a premium mass consumer device, you’ll be happy with us.” He also said the “launch is not that far away,” and will focus on the “U.S. first, but definitely not U.S. only.”