By Dominic Basulto
"A paralyzed woman completing the London Marathon using a bionic exoskeleton suit. A quadriplegic woman using a brain-computer interface to move objects in 3D space. Men and women opting to amputate entire limbs in order to replace them with a new generation of “beautiful” prosthetics. Welcome to the brave new world of Machine Beauty, where our new willingness to replace our limbs with superior prosthetic devices hints at our technological future as a species. Maybe futurist Ray Kurzweil was right after all when he predicted the merging of man and machine within our lifetime as part of the great Singularity.
"Versions of these human enhancements have been around a decade or more, thanks to mind-blowing advances in fields such as robotics. What’s changed now is how we – as a society – view these enhancements. Are we somehow becoming "more than human"? If, in the past, we made every effort to salvage our human limbs, we now are making a different type of cost-benefit analysis: whether we might be better off with beautiful, life-like prosthetics. The New York Times profiled an extraordinary number of men and women making the unthinkable choice – they are choosing to amputate entire limbs in order to have access to the next generation of prosthetics from companies like iWalk. Whereas before they may have tried to salvage part of a leg, they are now opting to amputate the entire limb and replace it with a full prosthesis."