What will the future look like in the eyes of those one step ahead of us?
I’ve been speaking a lot lately about what I believe the future will be like, as envisioned by robotics company Humai. For a change of pace, I decided to reach out to someone else and get their take on the world of tomorrow.
That someone is cyborg and bionic actress Angel Giuffria.
Born with only one arm, some people might assume that she’d be destined with a life of struggle. For Angel, however, she was destined for greatness. Once equipped with a prosthetic arm not that long after being born, her life became etched in stone — albeit one made out of silicon — as one of many cyborg citizens of the future.
Today, she is taking the world by storm with her bebionic3 bionic arm. Landing roles in Hollywood’s biggest films, like the Hunger Games, it would appear that yesteryear’s “disabled” are now transforming themselves into becoming tomorrow’s augmented — celebrities and role models of the future!
Below is a transcript of our conversation, which has been slightly edited for clarification.
BJ Murphy: Hello, Angel. It’s a pleasure to be speaking with you. First off, tell me a little about yourself.
Angel Giuffria: Hello! It’s great talking to you too. My name is Angel and occasionally people call me the bionic actress. I am the youngest ever to be fit with a myoelectric prosthetic. I was 4 months, 10 days old and I’ve been wearing one ever since. It kind of set me on a path of seeking out the most advanced prosthetic that I could wear.
BJ Murphy: You’ve been called a cyborg and a bionic actress. Despite the unfortunate circumstance regarding your arm, would you say that your newly-found bionic augmentation has enhanced you in anyway?
Angel Giuffria: To me I was born without an arm and that’s just me and how I am. So, technically, I am enhanced. My prosthetic arm is adding something to me that wasn’t there before. Adding functions to me that weren’t there before. I never lost anything and I’m not trying to use a prosthetic to replace anything I ever had before. In other words, I think of myself as enhanced. Also, yeah, I love to be called a cyborg!
BJ Murphy: How do you envision the future 10, 20, 30 years from now based on the current projection of exponential technological growth?
Angel Giuffria: It’s crazy to think about how far we’ve come with technology in my lifetime. As an example, the myoelectric prosthesis I wore 20 something years ago is substantially different from the one I have now. It’s funny because most of those changes only really happened in the last eight years. There are so many other things that have advanced technologically in such a short amount of time. It’s exciting to think about the fact that something we’ve never even dreamed about is going to be available in 10 years time.
BJ Murphy: Here at Humai, the company is working to develop an entire bionic body replacement for the human biological substrate. Would you say that this is something that you would be interested in? Why or why not?
Angel Giuffria: I’ve been asked if they were currently, or even in the future, able to grow an entire arm for me, would I take it? Honestly, I would much rather acquire a completely functional bionic arm because, why go for the fleshy stuff? So I can see why an entire bionic body would be of interest. I really wouldn’t say no to the idea!
BJ Murphy: Lastly, is there any final advice or thoughts that you have for people who may be interested in becoming cyborgs or wish to replace their biological substrate for a more bionic artificial system?
Angel Giuffria: At this time, replacing any limbs with bionic limbs might not be the best idea, just because of the current state of technology. Hopefully we just have to give it a couple more years before we’re there. Other than that, I love the idea of being able to do whatever you want to yourself. Your brain controls your body, so if you want to make your body bionic, then why not? Everyone always talks about trying to be your best self… Well what if your best self is bionic?