December 15, 2021
A British scientist who is battling a terminal illness has transformed himself into a cyborg to prolong his life.
Dr Peter Scott-Morgan was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a debilitating neurological disease that leads to loss of muscle movement. At the time of the diagnosis, doctors informed Peter he had two years to live.
Refusing to give up hope, the robotics expert was convinced there was a way to beat the prognosis. Peter felt cutting edge technology could extend his life.
“I wanted to reinvent for everyone what it means to be trapped in your own body”, the scientist said.
“This isn’t just about MND (motor neurone disease). It’s about any disability, whether from accident, disease, genetics, or even simply old age, even dementia.
“But ultimately, it’s about everyone on earth breaking free.
“I’m lucky enough to be a prototype, and Neo human, an early experiment in how humanity can make a huge leap into our future.”
Peter was the subject of NHK World Japan’s The Man Who Turned Himself into a Cyborg, available to stream on Flash.
The program follows the doctor’s journey to become a bionic person, where he underwent a series of operations, replacing functioning body parts with machines. He had a device installed to deliver nutrients directly to his stomach and attached an apparatus that drains waste from his body.
Another procedure was performed to separate Peter’s oesophagus and trachea and connect a device that sends air to his windpipe. The equipment is stored in a wheelchair robot that is integrated with his body. He relies on a computer generated image and synthesised voice to communicate with the world.
Peter’s ultimate goal is to help revolutionise what it means to be human.
“At the moment, we are unable to evolve. Meanwhile, AI and robotics are accelerating ahead. I want us to jump aboard while we still can”, he said.
“We are at the early dawn of escaping the fear of becoming infirm, of being powerless, of feeling trapped in an inadequate body. Everyone on the planet, even in the poorest communities, will work closely with AI, but some of us will go far further and actually merge with AI to extend what being human means.
“And Neo humans, part biology, part AI, using our infinitely flexible reality to be whoever or whatever we choose to be. This is not the far future, it is a few decades away.”
“If you love somebody for over 40 years, as I’ve done and that person dies, your love for them doesn’t die with him.”, Francis said.
“So I will still have that love in my heart.
“I might be in a position one day to actually be in love with the machine. I mean, can you imagine that?”