If you were trying to hire an analyst, would you hire someone who has never used Excel or someone whose training and skills allows him or her to do the job 1,000x faster?
If you were building an elite military unit, would you choose the strong warrior who could walk 100km without breaking a sweat or the weakling who collapsed under the weight of a standard-issue rucksack?
What if the superior analyst or infantryman achieved his or her skills through a reliance on robotic or synthetic tools rather than human brain and muscle-power alone?
What happens if, by 2030, as predicted by Ray Kurzweil human brains (or at least the human brains of those that can afford it) are connected to “the cloud” and therefore to massive super-computing and artificial intelligence?
What happens when something like the Raytheon exoskeleton below becomes standard issue for those armies that can afford it?
I am not sure of the answer to any of the questions below, but I am becoming more and more interested by the bioethical questions that we as “humanity” will have to answer in the years ahead.
Will access to these technologies widen the “digital gap” defined by those who can afford the super-intelligence and super-strength and those that can’t?
And I think some of these discussions will start happening sooner rather than later. The first “Olympics” for athletes “with enhancements” is happening this October in Switzerland. Advanced Chess (computer and human playing jointly) is already a reality. The DARPA exoskeleton is in prototype phase.
Certainly a conversation that is starting…and will need to be had…