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More Deus Ex: Medical Revolution

September 23, 2011

Following on from the post on Wellcome’s blog about the science and issues behind Square’s amazing Deus Ex game, I thought it worth sharing a couple of other links. (I’m part way into Deus Ex and it is really well done, from the iPad-style newspapers you pick-up around the game with updated news on, to the excellent array of choices you get in each mission.) First Dan posted this interesting video, the live-action Deus Ex trailer:

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And Sara emailed around this story on the consultant who help keep the science in Deus Ex ‘real’;

Will Rosellini is a science fiction purist. So much so that when his favorite video game–Eidos Montreal’s Deus Ex series–started phoning in the science, he offered to consult for free so their next venture would ring a little more true and present a plausible future of enhanced humans. Rosellini helms a research company, the Dallas-based MicroTransponder, that develops implantable wireless neurotransmitters to help control disorders such as tinnitus, pain, stroke-induced motor loss, and post-traumatic stress. The technology uses tiny electronic devices inside the body to electrically stimulate, reset, or override faulty nerve cells. “I was a fan of the first game, which was based on a lot of these ideas,” says Rosellini, a former pitcher with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who went on to get a master’s in computational biology, law degree, MBA, and, soon, PhD in neuroscience. “It’s a thinking man’s shooter game in the sense that it responds to a player’s strategy in different ways.

One of the early trophies you unlock in the game is titled Transhuman – and for those not aware, this is the ethos around use of technology to progress humanity as a being (singular) and beings (a race). Now ‘progress’ is a loaded term (and for a good critique I’d recommend John Gray) however it does seem to me that technology is fundamental to being human. When we say the word ‘technology’ we tend to think of high-technology such as that depicted in the video above – but technology is any appendage we’re using to help us; flint axe, the cultivation of crops, cooking – all technologies. Now Deus Ex is far from the first media form to explore these issues (the film Gattaca, the Hyperion books to name but a few of many) but what is important is that these games are helping to force the debate back into the open where it needs to be.

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