August 21, 2011

Deus Ex-Overtaken By Technology

Deus Ex is an action role-playing game (RPG) and first person shooter game. It sold more than a million copies as of 2009 and was named "Best PC Game of All Time."

A prequel Deus Ex: Human Evolution is due to be released this month (August 2011).

You play a coalition anti-terrorist agent in a world slipping further and further into chaos.

The time is 2052 and you are in a dystopian society where society has progressed faster technologically than it has evolved spiritually--and people are struggling to cope with technological change and are abusing new technology.

The challenges portrayed in the trailer show people using/abusing technological augmentation--the integration of technology with their human bodies--replacing damaged limbs, adding computer chips, and even "upgrading themselves".

There are many issues raised about where we are going as a society with technology:

1) Are we playing G-d--when we change ourselves with technology, not because we have too (i.e. because of sickness), but rather because we want to--at what point are we perhaps overstepping theologically, ethically, or otherwise?

2) Are we playing with fire--when we start to systematically alter our makeup and change ourselves into some sort of half-human and half-machine entities or creatures are we tempting nature, fate, evolution with what the final outcome of who we become is? As the end of the trailer warns: "Be human, remain human"--imagine what type of cyborg creatures we may become if we let things go to extremes.

3) Technology may never be enough--As we integrate technology into our beings, where does it stop? The minute we stop, others continue and we risk being "less intelligent, less strong, and less capable than the rest of the human race." In short, are we facing a technological race toward dehumanization and enhanced machines.

4) Drugs and other vices follow--To prevent technology augmentation from being rejected, mankind relies on ever larger and more potent doses of drugs. We not only risk losing elements of our humanity to technology, but also to drugs and other vices that make us forget the pain of change and rejection (physical and perhaps emotional).

Deus Ex literally is Latin for "G-d out of the machine." Perhaps, future dystopian society starts out by people trying to play G-d, but I think the risk is that it ends with the proverbial devil displacing the best laid intentions.

While technology holds the most amazing of promises from curing disease, solving world hunger, and endless innovations (even including developing the archetype bionic man/women--"We can rebuild him...we have the technology"), without a solid moral compass and frequent check-ins, we run the risk of technology getting away from us and even doing more harm than good.


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