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science

What is the greatest engineering feat of all time?

1

The International Space Station

Feb 02, 2015
The International Space Station
For ages, man dreamed of venturing into the stars and exploring the night sky. In the 20th century, this dream was realized with both the lunar landings and the establishment of an indefinite space station, launched with the assistance of multiple countries around the world. The International Space Station, first deployed in 1998, was fraught with financial concerns and uncertainties over its operation and cyclical crew design, but critics quickly realized the inherent value of the project. It was the culmination of decades of aeronautics engineering and space studies, and gave the world a renewed dose of confidence in researchers’ abilities to both innovate and expand the current space program. Countless experiments and observations have been sent back from the scientists aboard the ISS, and due to the public’s growing interest in space-related exploration and studies, the station is sure to become even more valuable in the years to come.

Location: In low orbit | Date of Completion: November 20, 1998 | Primary Challenge: Maintaining a livable space for astronauts in an ongoing research setting, including psychological and medical support.

Defining Innovation: Placing a long-term and habitable station into the Earth's orbit, enabling research to be carried out indefinitely. | Function: Offer a habitat for international astronauts to make observations and monitor real-time space data. | Materials: nickel hydride, plastics, aluminium, titanium, steel, carbon fiber | Fun Fact: In connecting its electrical systems alone, the ISS utilizes eight miles of wiring.
2

The Large Hadron Collidor

Feb 02, 2015
The Large Hadron Collidor
If you’ve never heard of the Small Hadron Collider, there’s probably a reason for it. Yes, one reason is because it doesn’t exist, but another is because it’s dwarfed by its far more impressive counterpart. The Large Hadron Collider was a project funded by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Currently based in a facility near Geneva, this particle collider has been responsible for some of the greatest breakthroughs in modern science, including the search for the Higgs-Boson Particle. CERN devoted a lot of its time to ensuring the safety of the facility, as well as designing it to be the perfect “race-track” for particles, which would lead to more observable reactions upon impact. With so much energy contained in one facility, the potential for a loss in coolant or catastrophic failure was high, and the facility sustained some damage during its early operation. Despite these setbacks, however, the collider has been able to stay running and perform experiments ever since.

Location: Near Geneva, Switzerland | Date of Completion: September 10, 2008 | Primary Challenge: Designing an efficient manner of conserving energy while powering the facility's superconducting magnets and beam technology.

Defining Innovation: Expanding on particle collider design to make the world's largest facility in its class. | Function: Running practical tests involving particle physics and collision. | Materials: steel, concrete, magnets, aluminum, plastics, titanium, lead | Fun Fact: Particles accelerators, much like those found in the Large Hadron Collider, are used to set the paint on soda cans.
3

The Colosseum

Feb 02, 2015
The Colosseum
Anybody who grew up with sword-and-sandal films knows about the thrills of The Colosseum, including its famous gladiatorial sparring. But for the Ancient Romans, the Colosseum was an invitation to some of the best live entertainment around, and it included far more than fights between armed men. The Colosseum’s design, which incorporated complex acoustics and a seating arrangement that hosted enormous numbers of onlookers, was only possible because of revolutionary techniques using materials such as Roman concrete. The Colosseum played host to a number of games, including hunting events, but its most time-honored activity is certainly the gladiatorial games, which could be accompanied by any number of surprises due to the amphitheater’s slew of trapdoors and hidden entrances. In short, the Colosseum was more than a design – it was a shining example of the Roman spirit and its dedication to mechanical excellence.

Location: Rome, Italy | Date of Completion: 80 A.D. | Primary Challenge: Utilizing the relatively new processes of concrete laying and vaulted arch placement to ensure structural stability.

Defining Innovation: Enabling almost 50,000 spectators to watch the gladiatorial games, which meets the capacity of many modern sports stadiums. | Function: Host all manners of combat, historical re-enactments, play performances, and other public spectacles for Roman citizens. | Materials: stone, tiles, bricks, limestone, mortar, lime, cement | Fun Fact: According to ancient sources, the Colosseum was capable of being flooded and used in mock sea-battles.
4

Palm Jumeirah

Feb 02, 2015
Palm Jumeirah
Up until a few years ago, taking an island vacation usually meant heading somewhere in the Pacific. The latest and greatest trend in island vacationing nowadays, however, is found in the United Arab Emirates, where the artificial archipelago of Palm Jumeirah makes its home. Although Jumeirah was the first of two intended Palm archipelagos, construction on its sister islands has not yet been completed. Jumeirah’s numerous design challenges included creating a base that would not wither under constant water flow, giving the islands enough sand to remain in place and support construction work, and crafting an enormous shield made of rocks to prevent wave surges. When all was said and done (and after countless tons of sand deliveries), Jumeirah was considered stable enough to be accented with a slew of hotels and resort facilities, and quickly established a name as a prime resort destination.

Location: Dubai, UAE | Date of Completion: April 30, 2009 | Primary Challenge: Creating an enveloping ring of breakwater stone to prevent waves from destroying a delicate rubble-and-sand foundation.

Defining Innovation: Forming one of the world's first large-scale and functional artificial archipelagos. | Function: Provide a luxury resort and vacation complex intended for the extremely wealthy, designed to hold a multitude of buildings and activities. | Materials: rock and sand | Fun Fact: Over 12,000 palm trees have been placed or grown on the island in its nursery habitats.
5

The Great Wall of China

Feb 02, 2015
The Great Wall of China
Throughout history, almost every ancient faction has turned to the wall as a defensive strategy against outsiders. Rome’s attempt, Hadrian’s Wall, succeeded in covering a wide cut of land, but failed to provide enough height to dissuade attackers. The Chinese did not make the same mistake. The Great Wall began during the Qin Dynasty, which was also the first dynasty to truly unite China as a centralized entity. Using taxation and the concentrated efforts of thousands of laborers, the Qin leaders succeeded in making significant progress on the wall. It was later continued during the Han and Ming dynasties, though its construction was halted during the relatively modern Qing Dynasty. Despite the cessation of construction, The Great Wall of China held historical value as a protection against the Mongols and other groups, and to this day, it remains a powerful icon around the world.

Location: Throughout China | Date of Completion: N.D. (Construction discontinued by the Qing dynasty in the 17th century) | Primary Challenge: Safeguarding laborers against extreme temperatures and weather conditions.

Defining Innovation: Constructing a massive fortification spanning over 5,000 miles and mobilizing China's scattered labor force. | Function: Protection against invasion from raiders and armies on the Steppes, possibly taxation on Silk Road goods or border protection. | Materials: bricks, stones, rammed earth, lime, wood | Fun Fact: Contrary to popular belief, the Great Wall cannot be observed from space (or even, in most cases, from low orbit!).
6

Burj Khalifa

Feb 02, 2015
Burj Khalifa
The United Arab Emirates’ Burj Khalifa is currently the world’s tallest building, and it made sure to claim the honor with a dose of flair. Constructed in a terraced style and boasting everything from nightclubs to entire shopping malls, the Burj Khalifa is the apex of engineering and development in an architectural sense. Its glass façade is flawless and designed to evoke a mirror-like surface, and its rooms are focused around a theme of opulence and impeccable taste. Like its predecessor, Burj Al Arab, the Burj Khalifa needed to withstand a constant barrage of wind and inclement weather, and needed even more protection due to its added height (which comes out to a staggering 830 meters). With some of the world’s top architects, designers, and engineers in tow, the Burj Khalifa’s construction team set out to create one of the most lavish buildings in existence – and succeeded.

Location: Dubai, UAE | Date of Completion: January 4, 2010 | Primary Challenge: Developing high-pressure pumps capable of transporting and laying concrete at dizzying heights

Defining Innovation: Challenging vertical limits with the addition of sky lobbies and terraced architecture | Function: Serve as a high-end hotel with an attached mall, condominium complex, night clubs, restaurants, and park grounds | Materials: aluminum, stainless steel, concrete, glass, silicone | Fun Fact: The structure was popularized in the action film Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which featured a death-defying rappel down its glass windows.
7

Aqua Appia

Feb 02, 2015
Aqua Appia
Access to clean drinking water has often been a source of celebration and conflict in human history. For the Ancient Romans, procuring clean water was more than just a luxury – it was an essential ingredient to survival. As the population of Rome grew during the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C., the need for more food and water became extremely pressing, and threatened to slow down or halt the city’s development if not met. Roman civil engineers were quick to devise a solution, which involved carrying water from distant natural sources directly into the city. These systems, which would later be known as aqueducts, began with the Aqua Appia, the “prototype” of the project. The Aqua Appia carried water underground for much of its journey, but flowed above-ground for some of the later portions of its journey in stone tunnels. Despite constant leakage and the need for clockwork repairs, the Aqua Appia proved itself to be the defining step forward in Roman civil planning.

Location: Rome, Italy | Date of Completion: 312 B.C. | Primary Challenge: Properly fitting the stones of the conduit, which carried water from the source to its above-ground destination.

Defining Innovation: Using engineering principles to ferry water from one location to another without using buckets or other manual transfer methods. | Function: To deliver fresh water to Roman citizens with a centralized aqueduct system. | Materials: stone, lead, earth, wood, terra cotta | Fun Fact: The imprecise nature of this aqueduct's construction often necessitated frequent repairs and rebuilding, largely due to leakage.
8

The Duomo

Feb 02, 2015
The Duomo
Like many cathedrals from the Renaissance, the Florence Cathedral was able to achieve significant amounts of construction progress in its early years, but took hundreds of years to reach full completion. One of the men responsible for hastening the Florence Cathedral’s construction was an architect named Filippo Brunelleschi. Brunelleschi designed the duomo, or dome, to the cathedral, using a design of his own invention. He relied on lightweight bricks, stacked in a fish-bone pattern, as well as an octagonal design for his inner support structure. The end result to the project was a sleek and elegant look for the dome’s exterior, and a dome capable of supporting its own weight. Brunelleschi was rewarded handsomely for his efforts, and to this day, the average tourist in Florence can still marvel at the architect’s design.

Location: Florence, Italy | Date of Completion: 1469 | Primary Challenge: Overcoming the tremendous strain placed on a dome of that size and weight.

Defining Innovation: Pioneering an inventive system of octagonal ring support for a large and ambitious dome shape. | Function: Crowning the famous Florence Cathedral and solving previous architectural woes associated with dome collapses. | Materials: bricks, stone, mortar | Fun Fact: Although the dome was completed in 1469, the cathedral's façade was not officially finished until 1887.
9

The Golden Gate Bridge

Feb 02, 2015
The Golden Gate Bridge
In the modern world, it’s easy to something like a bridge for granted. After all, in its simplest form, a bridge is simply a span that allows us to cross over water or chasms. The logistics behind designing a lasting and secure, bridge, however, are extremely complex, and often camouflaged in aesthetic design. This is especially true for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, which has soaring suspension cable systems and delicate arches that hide the enormous amount of strain and mechanical tension placed on the bridge every day. This groundbreaking structure, which had its construction begin in the early 20th century as a solution to the San Francisco Bay’s impassable nature, soon grew into a symbol of American ingenuity and engineering prowess. A rash of on-site accidents claimed the lives of several workers, but diligent work protocol – including safety nets and attentive civil engineering – helped to prevent further injuries to the workmen as well as future drivers.

Location: San Francisco, California, USA | Date of Completion: April 19, 1937 | Primary Challenge: Designing a bridge capable of withstanding extreme wind speeds.

Defining Innovation: Capitalizing on a unique design based around suspension cable rigging and new metallurgy techniques. | Function: Allow traffic to pass directly over the mile-wide San Francisco Bay | Materials: galvanized steel, concrete, epoxy asphalt | Fun Fact: Out of concern for passing ships in the Bay, the Navy requested that the bridge be painted with eye-catching stripes.
10

The Pyramid of Khufu

Feb 02, 2015
The Pyramid of Khufu
While all of the pyramids at Giza may command respect and attention, one of them stands out among the rest. The Pyramid of Khufu, also known as the Great Pyramid of Giza, is the largest and most prestigious structure in the grouping. Khufu was a pharaoh during the fourth dynasty in Egypt, and his pyramid’s design was intended to reflect his status as a demigod. Using a special method of elevating bricks on slopes, the Egyptians constructed the pyramid using limestone blocks, and in its original form, the structure had straight, sloping sides. Due to the outer surface wearing away, the pyramids now seem to have a ziggurat-like appearance, but they still appear as grand and majestic as in their prime. Within the pyramid, the builders were able to incorporate chambers for the queen and various items, and tunnels both ascend and descend throughout the structure, offering access to a collection of sacred rooms. While Khufu may not have lived forever, his pyramid certainly may.

Location: El Giza, Egypt | Date of Completion: Between 2560 and 2540 B.C. | Primary Challenge: Lifting the large limestone blocks to the desired height using limited technology.

Defining Innovation: Organizing manpower and resource delivery systems to ensure a constant and productive work pace on the megastructure. | Function: Housing the entombed body of Pharoah Khufu. | Materials: limestone, pink granite, basalt, alabaster | Fun Fact: The Pyramid of Khufu is the only pyramid at Giza to have passages continuing upward and downward into the structure.
11

The Channel Tunnel

Feb 02, 2015
The Channel Tunnel
During World War II, one of the largest operations of the war took place in June of 1944, termed D-Day. Tasked with crossing the English Channel, planners spent months trying to resolve the weather, the course of approach, and the logistics of travel. Decades later, teams of engineers and architects had a similar situation on their hands, but approached it radically differently. Drilling under the English Channel itself, the builders formed a tunnel that would allow passengers and trams to move between England and France without ever turning to boats or planes. The Channel Tunnel, also known affectionately as the Chunnel, is one of very few large-scale tunneling projects to succeed without encountering significant issues, not including the ever-present anxiety about funding. Today, millions of travelers use the Channel Tunnel as convenient and decidedly unique way to travel abroad.

Location: Spanning from Kent, England to Pas-de-Calais, France | Date of Completion: May 6, 1994 | Primary Challenge: Working around the exorbitant costs associated with high-pressure drilling beneath the channel.

Defining Innovation: Developing a system of reliable and passenger-accessible transport beneath a major body of water. | Function: Permitting traffic and travel beneath the English Channel. | Materials: steel, concrete | Fun Fact: 85% of the passengers using the Channel Tunnel are British
12

The National Stadium

Feb 02, 2015
The National Stadium
The modern Chinese architectural world is an astounding thing, and has proved its efficiency multiple times in the past few years through quickly-built skyscrapers and widespread public works projects. Beijing’s crowning steel jewel, The National Stadium, reflects the meticulous work of China’s engineers and planners in every inch of its steel latticework appearance. Using a complex system of support and beam-weaving for an eye-catching aesthetic design, The National Stadium proved to be one of Beijing’s most memorable features during the 2008 Olympics, and even earned the name Bird’s Nest due to its exterior composition. During the building’s construction, its designers and builders faced a large amount of challenges from dwindling budget figures. In the end, however, the team was able to succeed in creating its vision of a unique and lasting monument to Chinese engineering.

Location: Beijing, China | Date of Completion: September, 2007 | Primary Challenge: Balancing a unique steel aesthetic with the stadium's intended functionality.

Defining Innovation: Employing massive amounts of steel to create the world's largest enclosed space. | Function: Hosting sports such as soccer or track running. | Materials: steel, concrete, aluminum | Fun Fact: Midway through the stadium's construction, its budget was cut from $500 million to $300 million.

GOAT Staff Score - Engineering Feat

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. Only weighted scores are displayed in this table. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Obstacles Overcome (35%)Influence on the Future (25%)Uniqueness (20%)Practicality (10%)Contemporary Reception (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
The International Space Station1111121010541100
The Large Hadron Collidor107118440865
The Colosseum 9886940825
Palm Jumeirah89105234775
The Great Wall of China121671137745
Burj Khalifa712141236725
Aqua Appia31079332615
The Duomo6542825515
The Golden Gate Bridge46211730510
The Pyramid of Khufu5391624500
The Channel Tunnel14512527405
The National Stadium2233111220

GOAT Verdict:

The ISS is the Greatest Engineering Feat of All Time
Space has always been the final frontier, according to one well-known captain in the Federation. But conquering the unknown has also been one of the most pressing and difficult tasks of the modern age, and like deep-sea exploration, the road to exploring space and overcoming logistical concerns will always be intertwined. The International Space Station is a step toward a future with better access to space-age technology and goals, and provides a sort of community bonding for the world to cooperate and collectively succeed in making progress. Simply launching the ISS was a monumental task, but expanding on its successes is a larger and arguably more risky venture. Still, the promising results of its mission have provided more reasons than ever to funnel money into space research, and the technologies pioneered in its construction will only improve in time. The ISS represents a crucial step toward a world with more interstellar knowledge and curiosity, not just another impressive structure bound by Earth’s gravity or physics. Because of this, the International Space Station is the greatest engineering feat of all time.

0

What is the greatest transhumanism technology of all time?

1

Gene Splicing

Nov 10, 2014
Gene Splicing

One of the most persistent fixations from body horror films is the concept of a human-animal hybrid, or a subject so horribly mutated that they no longer retain their identity. Gene splicing, the colloquial term for genetic engineering, involves manipulating DNA or RNA to achieve desirable effects. Most applications of this technology have been based in the modification of crops for better durability and resistance to disease, but gene splicing has also been used to help people with diabetes and blood-clotting complications. With gene splicing, humanity has the ability to someday filter out the genes responsible for a range of diseases and undesirable traits, including cosmetic deformities. Gene splicing may also pave the way to crops and animals that are immune to various environmental conditions and pathogens, creating a more sustainable and durable ecological landscape.

Year Introduced: 1972 | Area of Advancement: Medicine, Social | Primary Benefit: gene therapy for select illnesses and vaccines, genetically-modified crops with better protection from pathogens and environmental changes

Potential Future Use: the creation of humans with specially-selected traits, manipulation of parental DNA to produce new mutations | Ethical Questions: eugenics programs, manipulation of naturally-given genes, radical rewriting of evolutionary principles

2

Nanotechnology

Nov 10, 2014
Nanotechnology

Many steps toward an evolved form of humanity are immediately visible, especially regarding new bodies and tech-enabled cityscapes. One of the most important steps toward this future, however, is hidden from the naked eye. In fact, one nanometer – a measurement often used in this field – is just half the size of a DNA’s double-helix structure. Nanotechnology runs the gamut of nanoparticles, ranging from incredibly strong metallic alloys and tubes to nanobots capable of hunting down and destroying individual cells within the body, including cancerous growths. Nanotechology is promising because its applications are nearly limitless, and in due time, we may see impossibly complex structures built from nanomaterials, self-repairing or self-replicating machines, and nanobots capable of delivering medicine and maintaining your body like an invisible army.

Year Introduced: 2000s (industrial-grade nanomaterials) | Area of Advancement: Medicine, Engineering, Industrial | Primary Benefit: stain-resistant fibers and ultra-durable alloys, nanocatalysts for coal and gas operations

Potential Future Use: delivery of drugs throughout the bloodstream, repair of individual damaged cells, light-warping invisibility devices | Ethical Questions: weaponized usage, rampant self-replication

3

Drosophila Connectome

Nov 10, 2014
Drosophila Connectome

Many people may have heard nothing about this project, let alone its first word. The drosophila connectome is an attempt to map the entirety of a fruit fly’s brain, turning a living organism’s identity and personality into a program stored on a hard drive. After reading that, the lowly fruit fly doesn’t sound so lowly at all. The project has the potential to completely redefine how we think about a person’s mind and thoughts, if the technique can someday be adapted for humans (with respect to the inherent complication of the human mind). If human minds can be mapped and replicated, the ability to upload a consciousness and store it on digital media will be a few small steps away. Because of the enormous scope of the project and its implications, there is almost no way to make predictions about the effectiveness or long-term functions of the technology. Regardless, the measly fruit fly may soon be waking waves in the science world.

Year Introduced: In progress | Area of Advancement: Medicine | Primary Benefit: limited aside from increasing knowledge about brain structure and neural pathways

Potential Future Use: the complete upload of a human consciousness into a virtual space | Ethical Questions: diminishing need for a physical body, dissection of a human mind into components and chemicals, loss of the mystique of personality

4

Cloning

Nov 10, 2014
Cloning

Despite popular culture’s vision of a society populated by identical, mindless clones, the first steps into this revolutionary process have been far more benign. The complete replication of a subject’s DNA and mind is, in fact, one of the largest challenges for modern science. In the 1980s, the sheep “Dolly” was successfully cloned, prompting widespread controversy about the nature of cloning and its possible expansion. Today, the most common application of cloning mimic gene splicing, with a specific focus on replicating things such as growth hormones and insulin for appropriate patients. Of course, the future uses of cloning promise far more dramatic and controversial results, including the development of stem cells and human subjects. Cloning could help to repopulate endangered animal populations, multiply the amount of animal tissue available for consumption, and even resurrect extinct species, under the proper circumstances.

Year Introduced: 1984 (first mammal) | Area of Advancement: Medicine, Social | Primary Benefit: production of growth hormones, insulin, and (in the near future) stem cells

Potential Future Use: new strains of meat created through cloning tissue, resurrection of extinct species, creation of duplicate bodies for a single host | Ethical Questions: theological arguments over the soul and body, control over nature or the blueprints of an individual being

5

Weak A.I.

Nov 10, 2014
Weak A.I.

We may be years off from a functional, self-aware artificial intelligence construct, but that doesn’t mean that the framework isn’t already in place. When speaking about artificial intelligence, there are often two distinct categories: strong, or self-aware AI, and weak, or dependent AI. Weak AI’s best example in popular culture is Siri, which currently resides on the iPhone, though many other variations exist in everyday life, powering search engine analytics or the temperature controls on home appliances. These “weak AI” constructs rely on specific information to make judgments about your preferences or next course of action, and are a precursor – even if an incredibly early one – to the strong AI that holds promises of a technological singularity. Artificial intelligence may currently seem like a distant pipe dream, but once it becomes reality, it may find its way into everything from medical analysis programs to human neural integration.

Year Introduced: 1990s | Area of Advancement: Medicine, Social, Engineering, Industrial | Primary Benefit: user assistance via commercial devices (such as Siri or Google Now), simplification of queries and online searches

Potential Future Use: strong AI capable of self-regulation and advancement, technological singularity that paves the way for incredibly advanced technology and a changed society | Ethical Questions: takeover of society by rogue AI, inability to govern fully sentient and advanced programs, blurred boundaries between organic and inorganic beings

6

Smartphones

Nov 10, 2014
Smartphones

This innovation is something that most modern consumers keep in their pockets on a daily basis. These palm-sized wonders may seem like a commonplace item to us, but just a few years ago, the concept and processing power of these devices would have seemed outlandish. Thousands of plugins, apps, and customized settings have turned smartphones into a necessary tool for the modern era, going far beyond the basic communication of previous mobile phones and landlines. Smartphones have the potential to give us incredible connectivity with the world around us, possibly streaming data in real-time to our brains, bodies, or eyes through the use of up-and-coming techniques. Devices such as Google Glass offer hope for a future where information and technology are inherently considered part of the “human experience.”

Year Introduced: 1994 | Area of Advancement: Social | Primary Benefit: better communication abilities, integration of impressive computing power into a small device, readily available information and real-time data

Potential Future Use: implementation of current phone features into a user's body, direct transmissions of information to the brain, handheld artificial-intelligence constructs | Ethical Questions: increasing pervasiveness of technology in everyday life or the body, loss of privacy

7

Cryogenic Preservation

Nov 10, 2014
Cryogenic Preservation

Anybody who has ever thrown a bag of frozen vegetables into the freezer has probably dwelled upon the more ambitious applications of the process. To those who are involved in cryonics – also known as cryogenic preservation, cryogenics, or cryopreservation, depending upon the technology’s application – there is a world of possibility behind low temperatures and metallic cylinders. Cryogenic preservation is a process of controlled freezing that has far-reaching origins, but tremendous potential for the future. Currently the procedure is used for the long-term storage of sperm, eggs, seeds, and limited types of specimens, but companies such as Alcor offer privatized preservation programs that hope to reawaken patients when the world has drastically changed, or has developed treatments for crippling illnesses. As the technology develops, it may provide a viable method for interstellar expeditions (by keeping astronauts in suspended animation) or give terminally ill patients more time while researchers develop cures.

Year Introduced: 1957 | Area of Advancement: Medicine, Engineering | Primary Benefit: sperm and egg storage, preservation of Earth's seeds in enormous underground vault systems

Potential Future Use: cryogenic sleep for distant space travel, preservation of ill or voluntary patients who wish to be woken in the future | Ethical Questions: indefinite lifespan

8

Myoelectric Limbs

Nov 10, 2014
Myoelectric Limbs

Artificial internal organs may be a possible route to immortality, but one of the most helpful advancements in modern society – not only for future humans – has the ability to rebuild lives and heal damaged bodies by restoring limb functionality. Prosthetic devices have existed since antiquity, including an iron hand given to a wounded Roman general, but their transition to a bioelectric system is a relatively recent endeavor. Myoelectric prosthetic devices rely on the input of nerves, muscle contractions, and internal power systems to provide users with an intuitive, dexterous platform. These durable and sophisticated devices are close to replicating organic limbs, outfitting newer models with skin covering and lifelike fingers. Eventually, this technology will be adapted into things such as powerful exoskeletons for soldiers or laborers, increasing strength output and speed for the wearer.

Year Introduced: 1960s | Area of Advancement: Medicine | Primary Benefit: provides strong and responsive prosthetics to those who suffered amputations or were born without specific limbs

Potential Future Use: prosthetics which are significantly stronger and more durable than organic limbs, military applications in powered exo-suits | Ethical Questions: theoretical advantages in athletic competitions

9

Artificial Heart

Nov 10, 2014
Artificial Heart

In the eyes of the first science-fiction novelists, space and contact with extraterrestrial beings was well within the realm of possibility. The design and impermanent aspect of a human body, however, was almost unthinkable. To many of these visionaries, the concept of a mechanical or electrical heart – with an undetermined lifespan, no less – would have rewritten what it meant to be human on a fundamental level. The artificial heart has become a symbol of modern medical advancement and resistance to the will of natural design, relying on internal power sources and durable pump mechanisms to replace a failing heart. In its current form, the artificial heart cannot create immortality because other organs (such as the brain) can still decay and fail. In future applications, though, a range of artificial devices may be available to prolong life indefinitely, whirring until the moment the user decides to flip their own switch.

Year Introduced: 1952 | Area of Advancement: Medicine | Primary Benefit: replacement of failing organic hearts, life extension

Potential Future Use: highly developed models (of both hearts and other organs) capable of keeping a person alive for centuries, or theoretically longer | Ethical Questions: questions of immortality, predetermined lifespans, conversion to artificial bodies

10

MMORPGs

Nov 10, 2014
MMORPGs

As strange as it may seem, some of the most innovative steps in humanity’s future may not come from government facilities and underground laboratories, but from programmers with an affinity for fantasy and quest givers. Massively-multiplayer online role-playing games, more commonly known as MMORPGs, have become a cultural icon as well as a rallying point for hordes of gamers eager to level up and outfit their avatars in virtual chainmail. Various novels and films have toyed with the idea of a constructed digital world, but MMORPGs are a tangible step toward this concept. MMORPGs reflect a vision of a world without physical boundaries, where virtual reality and avatars modeled on an uploaded human consciousness are able to interact and coexist. In addition, they present a model of a world where viewing another person’s information, belongings, and status is as simple as clicking on them. In the future, workplace promotions may be handled by a new system – experience points.

Year Introduced: 1991| Area of Advancement: Social | Primary Benefit: widespread player base for enjoyment and international contact

Potential Future Use: entirely virtual worlds consisting of avatars and lifelike surroundings, societies based on detached versions of the consciousness suspended in animation | Ethical Questions: transitioning from the physical world to a virtual space, the implications of avatars versus real bodies, breakdown of social interaction or physical bonding


GOAT Staff Score - Transhumanism Technologies

The candidates have been assigned a raw score across a range of criteria. The raw scores have been weighted to reflect the impact that each individual criterion has on the 'Final GOAT Score'. -->TURN DEVICE SIDEWAYS TO VIEW ON MOBILE-->
 Innovation Factor (30 %)Benefits of Human Application (25%)Future Potential (25%)Contemporary Relevance (10%)Return on Investment (10%)Raw ScoreFinal GOAT Score
Gene Splicing61064632680
Nanotechnology10485229670
Drosophila Connectome9591429670
Cloning7953528640
Weak AI82106127610
Smartphones43710832550
Cryogenic Preservation5842322500
Myoelectric Limbs2729727445
Artificial Heart3618927435
MMORPGs11371022300

GOAT Verdict:

Gene Splicing is The Greatest Transhumanism Technology of All Time
Gene splicing is among the most controversial and groundbreaking processes developed by modern science, and there’s no dispute that it has the potential to shape our world like no other technology before it. Future humans will be molded to reach new heights through the addition of high-tech implants and modifications, but at their core, the DNA must be altered. Removing a predisposition for disease or strengthening a current trait with better genetic sequencing has always been a fantasy of those involved in genetic research, but for the first time in history, it’s becoming possible. No matter how many technologies enhance a human being, only a select few have the honor of creating a better human body without discarding the organic form entirely. Gene splicing will create a more bountiful world in the agricultural sphere, a more profitable world for livestock holders and consumers, and a stronger and more adaptable human being in general. The future still holds a great number of promises for the upper tiers of genetic engineering and research, but one thing is certain: in the quest to make a more advanced human, the answer is in the helix.

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