At Autodesk, we are inspired by a better world designed and made for all. Our mission is to empower innovators with design and make technology so they can achieve the new possible. We deliver customers intuitive, powerful, and accessible technology that provides automation and insight for their design and make processes, enabling them to achieve better outcomes for their products, their businesses, and the world. So what constitutes better?
I am old enough to remember a TV show called The Six Million Dollar Man. From 1973 to 1978, The Six Million Dollar Man was a science fiction and action television series about a former astronaut, USAF Colonel Steve Austin, played by actor Lee Majors. After a NASA test flight accident, Austin was rebuilt with superhuman strength, speed, and vision due to bionic implants and was employed as a secret agent by the U.S. government. [wikipedia] In 1973, $6M was a lot of money. Today, not so much. In 1973, bionics were considered science fiction. Today, not so much.
Dr. Hugh Herr is a rock climber, engineer, and biophysicist. He has spoken at Autodesk University and was featured in a chapter of Autodesk's THE FUTURE OF MAKING book. Hugh Herr has bionic legs.
With Hugh Herr as a modern-day Steve Austin, consider these recent stories.
- Hugh Herr forms his own BionX Company
- French Army Gets Ethical Go-Ahead for Bionic Soldiers
- China OKs Bionic Implants
- Otto Bock Acquires BionX in Pursuit of Commercial Bionic Limbs
When one thinks of cyber-warfare, what comes to mind is computer hacking where infrastructure, political sites, or weapon systems are attacked/compromised; however, such warfare may also include biconically enhanced soldiers.
Sounds impossible you say? Elon's SpaceX is already partnering with NASA today with an eye towards commercial space flights in the future. Hugh Herr's BionX has been acquired by Otto Bock with an eye on the commercialization of bionics.
The path for Elon Musk has played out. Though hypothetical, could an analogous path for Hugh Herr play out?
It is not out of the question that BionX could partner with Russian teams competing in Cybathon competitions or form a joint venture with Chinese investment agencies (as Ekso did for exoskeletons). It is not yet clear how the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) at the Department of Commerce or the U.S. State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) will regulate bionics. Barring BIS/DDTC restrictions, is it only a matter of time before advancements in bionics have military implications where governments augment their soldiers to be superior in warfare? Will the technology make its way into the hands of the highest bidder?
Would bionic soldiers be considered part of better in that they reduce the number of soldiers need for warfare and thus, reduce the number of lives lost in battle? Or would bionics provide soldiers with even more destructive power to the detriment of mankind?
Cyberwarfare speculation is alive in the lab.