E. Paul Zehr


On his book Inventing Iron Man: The Possibility of a Human Machine

Cover Interview of November 24, 2011


There are two main take home messages from Inventing Iron Man. I truly hope readers gain additional insight into the amazing ability for adapting and changing that the nervous system has. If you expose yourself to the right training stresses, you can adapt and tune yourself in marvelously complex and useful ways—even if not necessarily to control and robotic suit of armor with your mind! Another message is we should start to think about how to regulate our interface with technology now—before it really is feasible to do all of what I explore in Inventing Iron Man. There are big ethical (how will we use our enhanced abilities?) and safety (how does it change our biology?) issues here. Let’s try and address some of them in advance.

I have always been fascinated by brain machine interface and have mused about how far such interfaces can go. Inventing Iron Man represents my musings using a tangible pop culture icon. I like to think of this concept from the perspective of rehabilitation and how to improve and restore function. With this in mind, this kind of brain machine interface could be amazingly useful. Or amazingly dangerous. Or both.