An Augmented World

By Bryan Chan - on 05 Sep 2011, 11:07am

As the sun dips below the horizon and darkness begins to envelope the night, you stare hard but all you see are shadows and outlines. You reach for your trusty torchlight but alas, its batteries are dead. You’re walking blind, that is until you enable Night Vision on your peripheral enhancements. Now the night holds no secrets from you. The question remains though, are you still human?

Night Vision? Sure- with a cybernetic eye of course...

After a week’s worth of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, that’s the question that is stuck in my head. For those unfamiliar with the Deus Ex franchise, it is a series of video games set in the future where mankind has come to rely on an assortment of bio-mechanical implants and limbs that serve a variety of functions, from improving the quality of everyday life to enhancing battle prowess.

See that gun? That's his arm as well.

In all three games, various factions are vying for absolute control, and as the saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Power hungry, greedy, and decadent – these factions resort to extreme means to gain control. How, you ask? By using the very same technology designed to help mankind to kill, suppress and even mind-control.

In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the game comes to a point where the protagonist weighs the pros and cons of technology. He realizes that technology has somewhat brought more destruction than good. Cars, factories, air-conditioning pollute the earth on a day-to-day basis. Logging, mining, fishing (with the help of heavy machinery) are also contributing to the desolation of this planet.

He also argues that technology has made it possible for men and women to experience a better quality of life, thanks to medical breakthroughs, and this is where a decision has to be made, to continue down the path of human augmentation or to let humans evolve as nature intended.

Meet Adam Jensen. He's the protagonist of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. He's also a dead man brought back to life.

A cybernetic arm can make you a better athlete, but what happens if that arm goes haywire? Think The Hand (the 1981 movie starring Michael Caine).

As a person who deals with technology on a daily basis, I do not doubt that one day, advancements in technology will allow humans to be augmented from the ground up. This has already been done. In fact, an article was published in the News section showing the possibilities that await us.

I just hope that our humanity won’t begin ebbing away anytime soon. What do you think? Will there come a time when the border between man and machine is blurred? What sort of augmentation(s) would you like to have? Will you feel any less human if you became a cyborg?

In Deus Ex 2: The Invisible War, The Omar is a faction that has taken cybernetic implants to an entirely new level. They are linked via a worldwide neural network, making communication efficient, and privacy non-existent.

Till my next blogpost,

Let’s hope we won’t be shouting Viva la Revolución! anytime soon.


Bryan Chan

Bryan Chan / Freelance Writer

A guy who really needs to go on a diet, loves to laugh and gets high on life. He loves gaming and wishes he could drive the way he does in video games. He also loves photography but needs a hell of a lot more practice to be good at it.