At the London Olympics this summer, South African sprinter and double amputee Oscar Pistorius, equipped with carbon fiber sprinting prosthetics where his lower legs once were, may compete alongside able-bodied racers. Though Pistorius was banned from the 2008 Olympics, officials were persuaded by his doctors’ testimony that the advantages conferred by his prosthetics are balanced out by his status as a double amputee. The “poster boy for our superabled future,” Pistorius is currently one successful race away from qualifying for this summer’s Olympic competition.
What’s the Big Idea?
Thanks to the burgeoning power of technology, a series of bionic devices my turn society’s disabled population into a generation of super-humans. That sounds far-fetched, but when brain implants combine instant neural communication with superior prosthetics, the performance of the human body will be easily augmented. “The sudden appearance of ‘super-abled’ people could put new and unforeseen strains on our society. For example, what happens when mentally sharp, physically capable retirees return to the workforce by the millions?”