Natural evolution has produced the eye, butterfly wings and other wonders that would put any inventor to shame. But who’s to say evolution couldn’t be improved with the help of a little technology?
So argues James Auger in his controversial and sometimes unsettling book, Augmented Animals. A designer and former research associate with MIT Media Lab Europe, Auger envisions animals, birds, reptiles and even fish becoming appreciative techno-geeks, using specially engineered gadgets to help them overcome their evolutionary shortcomings, promote their chances of survival or just simply lead easier and more comfortable lives.
On tap for the future: Rodents zooming around with night-vision survival goggles, squirrels hoarding nuts using GPS locators and fish armed with metal detectors to avoid the angler’s hook…
"To offset the cruelty of factory-farming, routine implants of smart microchips in the pleasure centers may be feasible," says David Pearce, associate editor of the Journal of Evolution and Technology. "Since there is no physiological tolerance to pure pleasure, factory-farmed animals could lead a lifetime of pure bliss instead of misery. Unnatural? Yes, but so is factory farming. Immoral? No, certainly not compared to the terrible suffering we inflict on factory-farmed animals today."
There is more here, and yes Wired is essential reading.