In the future, will doctors have to treat hybrid beings – half human, half robot? Technology expert Gerd Leonhard ventures a prediction on cyborgization.

Are we the last non-augmented people? Today’s smartphones, medical devices and the like are mostly still outside the body, although there are already examples of a physical connection.

Futurist Gerd Leonhard Volvo Art Session 2019

Exponential trend

Medical technology and data processing are progressing at great speed, according to the researcher. Machines are rapidly becoming more powerful and cheaper – a trend that is not linear but exponential. With such developments, the medium-term changes are usually overestimated. On the other hand, the long-term effects – and Leonhard mentions a period of ten years – are often underestimated; changes can roll in unnoticed at first, before quickly developing to become something big.

Leonhard emphasizes that society will have to adapt to these changes and get used to them. He believes they can’t be held back: “Technology has no ethics.” The people, companies and societies need to discuss the questions resulting from this progress, such as what machines should be permitted to do autonomously and what not. Or the processes for which automation makes sense.