How Will Neurotechnology Impact Sports in the 22nd Century?
Today, neurotechnology is already beginning to play a direct role in how athletes train and excel. If we indulge ourselves and imagine where all of this might be going, it’s not unreasonable to think that the way we watch and play sports will change tremendously over the next hundred years. So where are we at now and where might we be in 2117?
These days if you spend a lot of time in the gym, it becomes pretty obvious pretty fast that people take their training seriously and that they’ll spend a lot of time, money and energy into finding smart ways to do it. Anything that brings improvement faster with less effort is a hot, marketable commodity.
As neurotechnology emerges onto the scene, this will reach a new level. People will be taking advantage of the ability to directly tune their brains to optimize weight loss and muscle gain. For example, early research is already providing ample evidence that directly stimulating the vestibular nerve with a low-level current can tweak fat storage.
As companies like Neurogress work to develop simple, noninvasive methods of accessing our brains, getting this competitive edge may well be as simple as putting on a small headset.
In the near future, Neurogress plans to create a full-fledged robot-android that can be controlled via a neurointerface.
With the toll we are seeing on athletes heavily involved in full-contact sport, will these robotic avatars be a way for athletes to compete without permanent harm?
Perhaps the general attitude towards sport today is that it just wouldn’t be the same without the physicality of huge bodies crunching against other, similarly huge bodies. But attitudes change! Take a look at the crowds that show up to watch battle bots — and they are just glorified shoe boxes with blow torches stuck on top!
Neurogress is developing technologies that could create a whole new genre of spectator sports. Here is their description of what this might look like: “Imagine a race of flying or running neurocontrolled robots. Imagine being able to see what the robot sees in the real world with augmented reality glasses. Imagine an exoskeleton or its part controlled by the power of thought”. I know I’d pay to see that.
Now we’re getting into real science-fiction territory, but it’s reasonable to think that if neurotechnology allows the physicality of sport to be played out through robots, then the “edge” in athleticism will come from other attributes: quick reflexes, cunning, intelligence and the ability to adapt.
In this reality, sports will become a synergy of human brain and technological prowess, where the most perfect fusion of brain and technology prevails. It’s kind of mind-blowing to think that, even though this is speculative futurism, the beginnings of these technologies are here right now, being developed by companies like Neurogress.
Neurotechnology is already directly affecting how athletes train and excel but from here on out the possibilities will only become more amazing.
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