The story of Beyond the Pale takes place circa 2060. Much of the technological advances in cybernetics which are featured in the book are referred to in this recent report by the U.S. Intelligence think tank.
In the new report, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) describes how implants, prosthetics, and powered exoskeletons will become regular fixtures of human life. The report predicts that prosthetics should reach the point where they are more capable and effective than organic limbs. By 2030, the military will increasingly rely on exoskeletons to help soldiers carry heavy loads and soldiers will also be administered psychostimulants to help them remain active for longer periods.
Retinal eye implants to enable night vision and other previously inaccessible light spectrums. Advanced neuropharmaceuticals will allow for vastly improved working memory, attention, and speed of thought.
Neural interfaces into the brain will become more common allowing integration with devices that will bridge the gap between minds and machines. Biocompatible electronics will enable improved integration with cybernetic implants. These technologies will allow for brain-controlled prosthetics, some of which may be able to provide enhanced strength, speed and completely new functionality.
Many of these technologies will also be used by the elderly to help extend their life and combat the effects of ageing. They will be seen as a way to maintain more youthful levels of strength and energy.
Augmented reality systems will be integrated into real-world situations. They will be used with robotics allowing a more realistic and practical use of Avatars which will be able to transmits senses of touch and smell as well as audio-visual.
The exponential advances in new technologies will provide technical answers quicker than they can be applied. Advances and discoveries in one discipline will accelerate advances in other areas; this is referred to as converging technologies. For example, longer battery life and more efficient power cells will be a driving force for exoskeletons and bionic prosthetics. Progress in neurosciences, biocompatible electronic , and nootropic biochemical discoveries will aid the development of cybernetics. Technology will be increasingly integrated with the human body, but maybe not everybody. The author of this report suggests that the gradual implementation of these new transhuman technologies could result in a two-tiered society comprising enhanced and nonenhanced persons. Many enhancements would likely be prohibitively expensive. However many enhancements such as neural interfaces would give the children of the wealthy early advantages over their peers. Thus generational family wealth rather than acquired personal wealth could be an important factor in deciding who benefitted most from these transhuman advances.
The report also identifies security vulnerabilities presented by these technologies. Developers will be increasingly challenged to prevent hackers from interfering with these devices.