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We can't decide whether to embrace or strangle our inner cyborg.

The "Bionic Man/Bionic Woman" in us gives thanks for microchips that help our damaged bodies, pills that keep our brains happy and focused, Palm Pilots that put information in our hands and eye implants that improve our vision.

But will we welcome a future that includes: designer children, their brains 20% smarter and wiped clean of the most violent impulses; older adults living 20 years longer than today; wireless links connecting our brains to e-mail transmitters; perhaps even human eyes endowed with night vision?

Quietly, technology that remedies the failings of our bodies and provides us with high-speed information might be leading us to the brink of a new and ethically complex frontier - one in which we have the ability to redesign ourselves and our children.

This is the brave new world Marquette University assistant philosophy professor Keith A. Bauer examines in a forthcoming paper titled "Wired Patients," due to be published this year in the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.

In the paper, Bauer describes how electrodes...