IP Goes Pop!—Techno-Humanism: The IP of Integrating People and Technology

Welcome to the synthesized world of “Techno-Humanism,” the latest episode from IP Goes Pop!®, where the promises and legal challenges of an augmented future are decoded through the lens of pop culture. Join Co-hosts, Shareholders and Intellectual Property attorneys Michael Snyder and Joseph Gushue as they navigate the interface of IP and transformative technologies that can augment human capabilities, both in science fiction and emerging reality.

In a world where people are entwined with technology, where the integration of machine and human is swiftly becoming more than just a sci-fi trope, our hosts illuminate the potential for technology-enhanced life, scaled creativity, and augmented intelligence.

They draw upon well-known figures such as DC Comics’ Cyborg and Marvel’s Winter Soldier to frame the dialogue, highlighting how these characters provide a dramatic, albeit fictionalized, commentary on the human condition amplified by advanced technology.

As Michael and Joe explore the Borg from Star Trek, a formidable collective that erases individuality in favor of uniformity, they pull back the veil on how creative constraints and imagination resulted in one of the most iconic sci-fi representations of techno-humanism. This conversation segues into a look at the genesis of cyberspace as envisioned by William Gibson in Neuromancer and in the “ahead of its time” film adaptation Johnny Mnemonic, starring Keanu Reeves.

The hosts unravel the complexities around the patenting of bioengineered life forms, examining what distinguishes bioengineered entities like synthetic insulin from unpatentable naturally occurring elements. This exploration extends to the groundbreaking technology of Neurolink chips, currently safeguarded by patents, which hold the promise of revolutionary medical treatments and cognitive enhancements.

The episode then explores the rapidly evolving questions of inventorship in an era where human augmentation might become a source of creativity or innovation. The ripples of this technological integration touch on the principles outlined in the Patent Act and Copyright Act, sparking a debate on the intersections between legal protocols for artificial intelligence and looming human technology augmentation.

As Joe anticipates the normalization of AR and VR technologies with the introduction of Apple Vision Pro, the podcast underscores the significance for pioneers to bravely adopt—and adapt to—these emerging innovations. Simultaneously, the episode ponders the legal frameworks that have yet to fully grapple with such advancements.

If you’re interested in intellectual property, bioethical dilemmas, the future of technology, or just love a good legal quandary set against a backdrop of pop culture, this episode is tailored for you. So, put on your thinking caps, open a window in your Apple Vision Pro, or turn on your Neuralink Chips and tune in to the IP Goes Pop!® podcast. Available for free wherever you find your other podcasts!


01:19 Defining Techno-Humanism

02:36 Exploring human-machine combination in comic book characters

06:58 Star Trek and The Borg Collective

  • The origin story of the Borg

09:29 Influence of William Gibson on Science Fiction

  • Neuromancer, 1984 novel (part of the Sprawl Series)
  • Johnny Mnemonic (1995) with Keanu Reeves
    • Information Transportation
    • How patent law might apply
  • “Cyberspace” term and conception invention
  • Relationship of Science Fiction and Science
  • Gridlinked, Neal Asher

15:12 Blade Runner (1982)

20:04 Augmenting Human Bodies with Technology and Patenting Life Forms

29:34 Final Thoughts – Resistance is Futile

  • Timeline of the technology
  • Apple Vision Pro
    • Shift to “spatial computing”
  • Possibility for disability therapies driven by these technologies
  • “The Pioneers” of Tomorrow


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One comment so far. Add my comment.

  • [Avatar for Anon]
    February 28, 2024 09:19 am

    Human-involved does NOT satisfy ‘the prong’ of actually having a human satisfy the definition of BEING the inventor.

    The supposed ‘originalist view is NOT so (the speaker does not go back to the Lockean roots).

    The notion of “two brains” is a FAIL, as one of those two are expressly excluded (see DABUS).

    His wanting to be the first to make that argument – ok, but that arguments still fails.

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