enhancing human ability technology images 2015Technology has long been used as a way of heightening our senses, tackling debilitating physical problems and even increasing cognitive ability. It seems that for every area where humanity is lacking, technology has helped us to make up for our disadvantages. The rapid speed at which information can be shared and our desire for continuous self-improvement has led to some of the most ground-breaking inventions imaginable.

Technology in everyday life

Some technology has become so ingrained in our everyday life that we probably don’t even realise we’re using it. From a health point of view, devices such as prosthetic limbs have been used since ancient times and have now advanced to a stage where users can grasp objects, run and even wear high heels. Similarly, a common device such as the hearing aid has moved on from the clunky, cumbersome mechanism, to a discrete in-ear option which is barely noticeable to the naked eye. If we take the hearing aids from Hidden Hearing as an example, the devices not only provide discretion and sound amplification, but they aim to enhance cognitive function and decrease fatigue.

Technology as our sixth sense

Some people argue that the everyday technology we have around us such as smartphones, google glasses and smart shoes are already giving us a ‘sixth sense’. Most of us couldn’t bear to imagine a world without an internet connection or a mobile phone.

Wearable technology is one area which is giving us ever-increasing digital possibilities. Smart watches and fitness trackers provide us with quantifiable data about our health and wellness allowing us to make improvements based on real-time information.

The exploding app market also allows us to easily find solutions to very specific problems. Whether we want to translate a menu in a foreign country, control the sound and lighting in your home or make sure you’re drinking enough water, there’s generally an app for it.

What’s next?

There are many theories (ranging from the outlandish to the ridiculous) but it’s unlikely we’re all going to be replaced by robots just yet.  One of the more plausible ideas is that brain implants will one day give us perfect memories, and even night vision! Gary Marcus, professor of psychology at NYU, suggests that ‘brain implants today are where laser surgery was several decades ago’. Brain implants (otherwise known as neuroprosthetics) are already being used to help hearing and vision loss but as technology advances, the possibilities will become practically infinite.

Some suggest that brain implants will eventually turn us into ‘superhumans’ by making us better at mathematics, give us the ability for automatic learning, restoring memories and even controlling robots with our minds.

While we can, to an extent, predict where technology will take us next, the possibilities for cognitive enhancement in humans remain largely unknown – for many, this is an exciting prospect.

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