Monday, June 20, 2016

Technology and the Human Body

Last week, the frame of my glasses broke, and I had my prescription updated before ordering a new pair. I had the dubious pleasure of transitioning from ordinary glasses into progressives (i.e., trifocals or multifocals). As if that wasn't enough, that same day I also received a pair of personalized orthotics to help me with my plantar fasciitis. (The orthotics aren't a rite of passage for me, since I got a pair a few years ago when I first developed foot problems.)

Rather than focus on the ways in which my body is aging, I thought I'd think about the technology people have used throughout history to protect and improve their bodies. Clothing and shoes have been with us for a long time, though they've evolved from very simple wrappings to tailored items to synthetic materials made by machines. There have also been various inventions to expand on our senses; better ways to maintain, diagnose, and treat our bodies; and so on. How do you think technology will be used to improve our bodies in the future? What would be your favorite assistive technology? My first thought was nanobots that would travel through your bloodstream and repair damaged cells to keep you from aging and developing cancer. Another idea would be something nonmedicinal to help me fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Of course, we could always try to engineer the need for sleep out of ourselves, the way Nancy Kress depicts in Beggars in Spain. We could also try to upload our consciousness out of flesh-and-blood bodies into androids or computer systems. Technology has allowed our society to evolve faster than our DNA can, resulting in a mismatch between what we currently do and what's optimal for our bodies. Adapting our agriculture and work habits to be healthier for us won't be easy.

Unfortunately, some odd e-mail issue is preventing Alex. J. Cavanaugh from getting my guest post. (I swear I sent it at least twice on Friday, once as an attachment and once pasted into the body of the e-mail.) I may end up posting it here if we can't figure out the problem.

If you haven't purchased Scattered Seasons yet, prices will go back to $3.99 at the end of the day tomorrow, so get the eBook for $0.99 while you can. It's available on Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and Kobo.

Finally, to celebrate the summer solstice (which happens to be my heroine Jenna's birthday), here's one of my favorite songs from the B-52s:


6 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Preventing or curing cancer would be a big deal. Although something that fixes eyesight without surgery would be nice.
I just checked my email - nothing! I'm getting your Twitter messages. Maybe you could post it into one of your pages here, send me a message, and I'll come get it. Sorry, that's the best thing I can come up with since I'm not getting your emails.

Sandra Almazan said...

Alex, it sure would be nice to fix my eyes instead of having to mess with my glasses!

Maria Zannini said...

I suspect I'll be more Borg than human by the time I die.

I did have my natural lenses replaced with synthetic ones. It is a vast improved over Lasik.

Maria Zannini said...

re: your email trouble

Why not try to send the document to someone else and have him forward the email to Alex?

Sandra Almazan said...

Maria, were the lenses cheaper than Lasik? Alex and I figured out a workaround, so we're good.

Maria Zannini said...

I had Lasik while it was still relatively expensive. I think it's pretty cheap now. The lens replacement was covered by insurance since I was diagnosed with glaucoma.

Between the two, I preferred lens replacement. I had to go in twice for Lasik because they didn't change the shape of the eye enough for me to see without glasses. The lens replacement was quicker and less painful in the long run.

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