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Friday, November 6, 2020

Upgrading Me


I became a cyborg a month ago. It’s not nearly as cool as science fiction promised me it would be.

Nonetheless, it became medically necessary. As we age, different biological subsystems wear out at different rates. At first you adapt, improvise, adjust your behavior, and look for workarounds. Eventually you get to the point where the only thing left to do is to replace the failing part, either with its direct biological equivalent via transplant or with its cybernetic functional equivalent.

Since they are not yet able to 3D-print new internal organs, this means I now have a small sensor module implanted in my right upper arm. 

Actually, the full kit is a two-part system. There’s the sensor, which is surprisingly unobtrusive, and then there’s the readout device, which is about the size of my old Samsung flip-phone. I’ve taken to calling it my R2 unit, as it communicates with me in a language of beeps, buzzes, and squawks. 

There’s the happy noise it makes when everything is proceeding as it should. The alarming noise it makes when my biological indicators are going wrong in one direction; the direction that’s easily corrected. The really alarming noise it makes when my indicators are going wrong in the other direction; the direction that can put me into a coma or kill me. The downright angry noise it makes (and keeps making) whenever I’m not paying sufficient attention to it: I’m never supposed to be more than 20 feet away from my R2 unit, at least not for more than 15 minutes. Then there’s the plaintive little noise it makes when it’s getting hungry and needs to be plugged into a USB port to suckle electricity.

At least it doesn’t talk to me in words. That’s probably coming in the next upgrade. 

The USB port is the most interesting part of the system. Once plugged into an active computer, it goes out to the Internet and downloads a remarkable torrent of data to my doctor’s system, and presumably to my medical insurance provider as well. I guess this means I’m now officially part of the Internet of Things. 

Seems fitting, don’t you think?

~brb

1 comment:

Robert said...

Creepy in its matter of fact tone. Well told.