–Coming soon to a world near you: Economics for cyborgs. Humans as a transition species.

Mitchell’s laws: The more budgets are cut and taxes inceased, the weaker an economy becomes. To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments. Austerity = poverty and leads to civil disorder. Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

Let’s predict.

Unfortunately, to predict, we tend to use today as a starting place, then visualize a linear transition to the future. So, our predictions generally include more powerful computers, better medicine, more efficient rockets – in short, more/better versions of today. A hundred 100 years ago, who could have predicted the Internet, a seemingly non-linear transition from 1900?

So, given that caveat . . .

Those of you who are Star Trek fans – the Captain Picard version – will remember the Borg. They were an alien people, part humanoid and part machine, the defining characteristic of whom was a “hive mind,” i.e. all knowledge and decisions linked by radio. Individuals were not individual, but were part of the collective, perhaps less independent even than ants and bees.

My prediction is that one day, possibly within the lifetimes of my grandchildren, we all will be well on our way toward becoming cyborgs, and this will have a profound effect on economics.

.Monetary sovereignty

An article in NewScientist Magazine hints at this:

Beyond Kinect: Gestural computer spells keyboard death
15 May 2012 by Jim Giles

The advent of multi-touch screens and novel gaming interfaces means the days of the traditional mouse and keyboard are well and truly numbered. With Humantenna and SoundWave, you won’t even have to touch a computer to control it, gesturing in its direction will be enough.

(A technology called) Humantenna uses the human body as an antenna to pick up the electromagnetic fields – generated by power lines and electrical appliances – that fill indoor and outdoor spaces. Users wear a device that measures the signals picked up by the body and transmits them wirelessly to a computer. “It’s just an electrode that measures voltage, digitises it and sends the signal for processing,” says Desney Tan of Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington.

By studying how the signal changes as users move through the electromagnetic fields, the team was able to identify gestures, such as a punching motion or swipe of the hand. In all, the researchers found that the technology could detect 12 gestures with over 90 per cent accuracy.

One version of the system, presented this week at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Austin, Texas, runs off a sensor that sits in a small bag. With training, that sensor can learn to recognise specific gestures. Another paper, under review, describes a version that relies on a much smaller wristwatch-sized sensor. Thanks to advances in processing techniques, this newer system needs no training to recognise the same 12 gestures.

Our brain causes our hand to gesture. A computer senses and decodes our gesture, and makes something happen. But what if instead of decoding our gesture, the computer were able to decode our brain’s signal. Our thoughts alone could make something happen. Such technology already exists.

Monkey think, monkey do with robotic arm
By David Templeton / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Making things happen with the mind has long been a favorite topic of science fiction. But with new technology developed at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, a rhesus monkey, with arms comfortably restrained, learned to use a robotic arm to feed itself by thinking about the action.

The monkey used the arm to grasp marshmallows and fruit and put them in its mouth. It even used the grasper, as it would its own hand, to prevent the food from falling from its lips. In a 2004 study, Pitt researchers taught a monkey partially to use a robotic arm, but in the latest research published in the journal Nature they taught the monkey to control the arm fully with its mind.

Back to the NewScientist article:

All sorts of applications would open up if Humantenna can be commercialised. The body could become a kind of universal remote control, and basic gestures such as pointing or swiping might be used to control lights, appliances and computers in the home. Fitness monitoring is another possibility, says Tan. We already have devices that can infer how hard a person is exercising by tracking step patterns, but Humantenna could provide a more holistic measure by monitoring whole body movements.

Imagine switching a phone to silent mode just by pressing a finger to your lips. This is one possible application of Touché, a system that turns any object, including the human body, into a touch interface.

Researchers at Disney Research in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, built Touché by sending a small current through everyday objects. A person touching the object changes the flow of electricity depending on the type of touch, be it a finger or a firm grasp.

The system can also send low levels of current through the human body. The current changes when users clasp their hands or touch their faces. The signal generated could one day be used to control a phone or other electronic device.

I don’t know how far and how fast this will go, but clearly the merger of machine and human — the cyborg — is ahead of us. Biology is frail. Machines can be stronger, faster, more accurate and with better sensors — superior in every way to our human body. Consider this article:

Self-Repairing And Self-Sustaining Autonomous Machines
The George Washington University

Machines are subject to wear due to friction between moving parts. Researchers at the George Washington University have developed a real-time sensor and nanotechnology-based system that detects the component surface damage in moving parts, such as gears, and repairs and sustains the moving parts of the machines automatically.

Our future cyborg body not only will be stronger, faster, more accurate and with better sensors, but will be self repairing. We could live forever. And this unstoppable train is bearing down on us, faster and faster. Our grandchildren or great grandchildren will see it happen.

What will be the economics of a “Borgworld”?

Some things will become less important than they are, today. The traditional “big three” — food, clothing and shelter — surely will become far less important. Visualize you, as a borg, standing outdoors. You don’t care about the elements. You use power only to heat or cool your brain, and any other human body parts that remain. Compare that minimal energy use with heating and cooling all the air in all the rooms in your house.

Two-dimensional, human-controlled, surface transportation will give way to three dimensional, computer controlled, air transportation. With dramatic decreases in agriculture (for food, clothing and housing), more efficient transportation (i.e. no traffic jams), and less need to heat and cool homes, much less energy will be used.

Our need for oil, coal, natural gas and certain ores used for shelter-building, will fall dramatically. The resultant reduction in pollution will reverse the trend toward global warming. Farm land will return to nature; trees will convert carbon dioxide to oxygen.

The incidence of disease will decline. Sports will change. Religion will change. Our need for creature comfort will decrease, since “comfort” merely is our brain’s translation of sensory input. Given the appropriate programming, our brains could translate a bed of spikes into “comfort.”

Computers will create any product, just by following your thoughts. Product lack and envy will become less important in the demand equation, so crime will decrease. Economics, being greatly dependent on human desire, will reflect the new reality. Or it may disappear as a science.

With our reduced need for food, shelter, clothing, along with less crime and envy, our need for money and for security will decline. And because the primary purposes of governments are to provide food, shelter, clothing, security and money, our desire for government will decline. A benign form of anarchy-in-unity will emerge — one language, one source of information, one “human nature.”

All human knowledge will be available to everyone, instantly. We won’t have to look for information on the Internet; we will live the Internet. Of course, we don’t have the mental capacity to assimilate all that is on the Internet, so in the final conversion, our brains too, will be replaced.

Homo sapiens will have been a transition species. And at last, immune to aging, radiation and boredom, we will be ready to fly to the stars.

I truly believe, that with the ever-increasing rate of technological advancement, it all will be accomplished well before the end of this century.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia. Two key equations in economics:
Federal Deficits – Net Imports = Net Private Savings
Gross Domestic Product = Federal Spending + Private Investment and Consumption + Net exports


6 thoughts on “–Coming soon to a world near you: Economics for cyborgs. Humans as a transition species.

  1. CBS News

    Paralyzed woman drinks coffee using thoughts.

    Using the Braingate neural interface system, a paralyzed woman was able to use her thoughts to control a robotic arm, and serve herself coffee for the first time since she became paralyzed nearly 15 years ago.


  2. Gadgets work under your skin – but are you ready?
    NewScientist, 14 May 2012 by Jim Giles

    LEFT your phone at home again? A solution is at hand: make sure it is with you at all times by having it implanted in your arm.

    But given the opportunity, would you want your gadget to be a permanent part of you? The question may need answering sooner than you think.

    Researchers at Autodesk, a software company in Toronto, Canada, checked to see whether the methods we currently use to interface with our gadgets work when the device is implanted in human tissue. The answer was a resounding “yes”.

    Would anyone want a piece of consumer electronics inside their body? There is something intrinsically creepy about the idea. Yet there are reasons for thinking that the cyborg future will come to be.

    There are also clear benefits to implanted electronics. “The device is always there,” says Holz. “You cannot lose it.” And implants provide new interface methods. A gadget similar to a smartphone could provide a calendar alert by means of a gentle sub-skin vibration, for example.

    And that creepy feeling? It is a common reaction now, but may lessen as people become familiar with the technology. The idea of using a machine to assist a human heart was once deemed unnatural, for example, but the insertion of a pacemaker is now a routine procedure.

    “In general, the trend has been that people are more and more willing to incorporate bits of the machine world into themselves,” says Sherry Turkle, a sociologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    “The perception [of this technology] 10 years ago would differ from today and from what we would get in 10 years’ time,” agrees Holz.


  3. If technology allows us to live “comfortably”, outdoors, without clothing and minimal food – I can almost guarantee that the 1% (or maybe it’s just the 0.01%) will use that as an excuse to buy, steal, or cheat their way to owning 100% of the earth and leaving everyone else to exist at the landlord’s pleasure.

    Unless we first change our economic systems so the earth is equally shared instead of privately owned.


  4. When the “programmers” become the gods (who needs religion now?) you can be assured your great-great-great grandchildren along with your grandchildren (imagine the “comfortable” living arrangements) will flounder simultaneously & eternally in a dystopia NOT a utopia.


    1. You may be right, but the programmers, being machines, may not want to be gods, and our great-great-great grandchildren, being machines won’t care about gods.

      I suspect morality will change even more dramatically than it has since the bible days, when so many seemingly minor infractions warranted the death penalty.

      Or not.


  5. it’s not something far off in the future–it has already happened to some extent: artificial lungs, kidneys and cardiac pumps/valves, pacemakers, hearing aids, nicotine patches…


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