cyborg woman

Are we humans or are we cyborgs?

I think I was in primary school when I was into animated series such as Cyborg 009 and Cyborg Kuro-chan. Even Robocop. The idea of cyborgs fascinated me and it does till this date. I’ve been wanting to finish ‘Ghost in the Shell’ for a while now. The idea of being a machine and a human at the same time is really intruging to me for some reason.

But what is a cyborg? defines ‘Cyborg’ as

a person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic devices.

You know the kind of childhood fantasies we have. I would daydream about this for hours. And then, life happens to us. We get bombarded with assignments and questions such as “What do you want to be in life?”

But then one day, I happened to watch one of the Elon Musk interviews where he goes “We are already cyborgs”. Now his reasoning is that we are utilizing our “machine extensions” such as our smartphones and computers. He also brings up the Internet and social media on the discussion and how we can gather knowledge and communicate with the rest of the world instantly.

Now the thought of our phones and computers being an extension of ourselves wasn’t anything new to me. It’s something I’d always pondered upon and I’ve had read articles that validated my feelings but I hadn’t looking at it from the prespective that Musk was presenting.

He further adds that the problem currently lies in something called “input-output Inequality”. Basically, what it means is that we can perceive the huge amount of information through our sensory organs. But, the method by which we output data i.e by typing or speaking, is really slow. He is proposing something called “neural lace mesh”. A tiny microscopic electronic component that can be injected and wrapped in our brain tissues. And, that way we wouldn’t have to rely on our fingers to output the data.

The smartphones have not become the part of our physical form in a way we typically think of cyborgs. Even though, they have become extensions of ourselves in some ways. We know where to find information and how to use it. We know which internet page to navigate through. It’s like we’ve uploaded some of our consciousness online but we’re still far from the fictional portrayal of cyborgs. But, are we?

This is Kevin Warwick. One of his most popular research is known as “Project Cyborg”. Using implants, he was able to control a robot arm in a different location and receive feedback from it where his nervous system was connected to the Internet.

Neil Harbisson has an antenna planted on his head and is legally recognized as a cyborg. He is a cyborg artist who is designing new senses and sense organs. The antenna allows him to feel and hear colors as audible vibrations.

Apart from these two, there’s Jesse Sullivan who controls his robotic arm with his mind as if it were his real arm.  Nigel Ackland, Cameron Clapp, Claudia Mitchell, Professor Steve Mann are some other examples of cyborgs that exist amongst us.

Some say we’ve been a cyborg for a long time. Bicycles, Cars etc were always extended part of ourselves. While some others think that the robotic enhancement of our bodies is the future and we are slowly and gradually becoming cyborgs. Whatever it is, ‘Human Enhancement’ seems to be our present and it can predicted that this is only going to grow in the future.

What are your thoughts on it? Do you think we are already cyborgs? or do you think that we are becoming cyborgs? Or, are you somebody who fears this kind of technological advancement?

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