The emotional impact of cyborg technology on the human brain
10 years ago
“My dream is to become the greatest ice skater in the world no matter the opportunity cost!” I shouted with a toothy grin, completely dedicated and determined to reach my goal. The people surrounding me stared with a great deal of concern as I practiced for another 5 hours, with ice and bruises covering me from head to toe by the end of it.
“My dream is nearly coming to fruition,” I said wearily. At the age of 16, I had managed to qualify for the Olympics and was about to compete in a few months. For years on end, I had endlessly practiced routines and skated till numbness spread across my body. The ice had become a second home for me as I spent more time there than at my own house. I was walking out of my late-night practice session after receiving the news of my Olympics qualification when suddenly, a car light flickered and a person with a red hoodie began driving in my direction.
“I’ll wait for the person to leave before I head to my car. I should head back inside,” I said to myself while squinting at the red hooded person in the car, attempting to get a look at the face.
BAM! The next second, the car slammed directly into me.
It’s too late I thought. My world had already gone black.
“Is this the end?” I ponder.
1 day later
“AHHHH! My eye is missing,” was the first thought that popped into my head. “Well, there goes my future” My brain spun for a good few minutes until I finally focused on a shape that looked somewhat like my doctor.
“What do you want from me? What is WRONG with me????” I questioned.
The doctor pointed at my eye and said, “Your eye is irreparable. Unfortunately, the car crash did a number on your eye and to some extent, your brain. You won’t be able to skate anymore. You can still move on with your life, but your eye won’t be repaired.”
Just when I was preparing to accept my fate and leave, the doctor quickly continued talking and offered an interesting proposition.
“I might have a solution to your dilemma. I can cure your brain damage with the newly made cyborg technology I had recently developed. Then you can ice skate again! I promise you, it’s undetectable and will not harm you,” she said with a look of excitement gleaming in her eyes.
I couldn’t tell if she was lying or not, but I desperately wanted to achieve the dream that I had for so many years. I weakly told her she could go ahead with the procedure and was suddenly knocked out again for the second time within two days.
I woke up at my house completely shocked by how amazing my eyesight was the next day and the fact that I was already at my house. I ignored all these coincidences with an impatient desire to practice my routine one more time. As I glided around the newly smoothed ice floor, I noticed that my movements were a lot more precise than they were before. Every time I did a jump or even finished any spin, one word would pop out of my mouth: Perfect! This even applied to the previously unachievable quad jumps. This feeling was unreal! The doctor had not only replaced my eye, but she had also advanced all five of my senses.
“WAIT,” I thought. “This is cheating. I shouldn’t compete.”
But then I took a moment to recall memories of my life — just me and the ice rink. I truly had nowhere else to go — I had to continue skating, even if it meant cheating. This is the life I chose for myself.
As the competition approached, my reflexes and jumps only continued to improve. However, I felt no happiness over the fact that I had improved so drastically. After scraping my leg against the ice rink wall, I realized that I could no longer feel pain. My coach told me I was performing better than I had ever done — but for some reason, I couldn’t care. Soon, it was time for the competition and I barely even noticed.
I won. That’s all that happened. My coach was there to congratulate me, but I didn’t care.
“Something is off,” I told myself. “I feel absolutely nothing.” I didn’t care that I cheated either. I just won until something strange happened.
“Your student was using a performance-enhancement drug to cheat,” the examiner told my coach. “She will be disqualified from the Olympics.”
My world ended. The examiner then told me to follow them to another room.
Every single person in the room I was in, except for me, was knocked out cold. “What’s going on?” I asked with a lack of interest. As the examiner turned around, I realized she was the doctor!
“The neuron reconstruction on your brain is working perfectly. You are no longer able to feel pain or anything at all, right?”
My mouth fell open. I blankly stared at her for a bit until she knocked me out once again. Following that day, my entire existence was forgotten by the rest of the world.
I awoke in a dark room.
“Open the door,” the doctor calmly requested.
“I don’t want to!” I simply replied, grasping firmly at whatever self-control I had left. It appeared to me that the neuron reconstruction process nulled my sense of morality and my willpower.
“Open the door!” the doctor repeated forcefully, and I felt my muscles moving to the door without my control.
After I opened the door, I saw an army of former athletes, all enhanced by the same cyborg technology I had used on myself.
“What is this?” I asked.
“This is the future,” a nearby officer replied. “Your life no longer belongs to you. From now on, you are an empty, lifeless soldier. One of many.”