Wired has an article today on the first use of an artificial heart back in 1982. The patient survived for 112 days – pretty remarkable. I wonder if he felt any unnatural urges toward appliances… robot love, as it were. I doubt it. It sounds like it was a pretty miserable 112 days. I suspect that subtle emotional changes toward toasters… or uncomfortable fantasies about R2-D2… were secondary concerns.
Despite the derision with which the heart’s mystical associations have been dismissed, it’s a rather complex organ with a great many feedback mechanisms to keep it precisely regulated. We’ve come a long way in 30 years. In addition to thinking in terms of an improved plastic pump, there is a lot of thought going into manipulating stem cells to make new hearts from meat, the way nature intended.