Are we cyborg?

11 Mar

In our first lesson we talked about Cyborgs. This obviously raises the question “Are we already Cyborgs?”.

So at first let me define what a cyborg basically is.

“A cyborg is a person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device.”
(Dictionary.com, 2011)

When we start thinking about a cyborg we find lots of hints in our daily life. I’m sure most people of our society have become a person with aided electronic device yet. It is not just a tale or a science-fiction story about cyborgs what we mostly assume. For sure the science fiction is full of cyborgs.

The world is speeding up. Everything is changing quickly. As years go by technology has been developed more and more. Our life is getting faster and technologies come and go. According to Maureen Mc Hugh nowadays the borders between humans and machines are merging more and more. She said “Soon, perhaps it will be impossible to tell where human ends and machines begin.”  (Gray & Figueroa-Sarriera 1995, p. 13)

Medical Part

In the medical sector for example we stepped already in the cyborg world. So just think of your parents or grandparents who may still live with a pacemaker, a hearing aid or an artificial limb. (Gray & Figueroa-Sarriera 1995, p. 12)

Pacemaker

Pacemaker

 

 

If you can see from the picture of the pacemaker it is a very tiny object.

Other persons are using psychotropic drugs to solve their problems and to survive. From a technical point of view all these types are cyborgs.

Research and Future

A good example for cyborgs and how they influence our current research and also the future is shown in the Documentary from CNN about Human Evolution I found in YouTube. Resarchers are using the science to get a communication connection between brain waves and computers.

And as John Donoghue a neuroscientist from the Brown University mentioned in the documentary it is a big breakthrough that we can get many complex electrical impulses from those neurons and yet we can read out those signals. For example they tested it on three patients. This patients got a implant that allows them to type through the activity from neurons on screen move a prosthetic hand or control a arm from a robot.

I think we are already in this step of processing at the moment that we are not able to see where the borders between human and machines are.

And in my case I can definitely say: Yes, we have already become cyborgs.

References:

  • Baker, 2008. The Rise of the Cyborgs. Discover Magazine.
  • Gray, C.H. & Figueroa-Sarriera, H.J., 1995. The Cyborg Handbook, New York, NY (etc.): Routledge.

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