Thursday, December 6th, 2012
11

Are You Already A Cyborg, Because Of Your Phone?

We Can Build YouThe human species is rapidly changing! Mostly not for the better, obviously, but some "futurists" believe their particular demographic (overeducated overpaid youngish professionals starting to worry about mortality) has already begun the process of becoming superhuman mutant cyborgs. Are you kind of depressed that you didn't get around to doing grown-up adult-type things until you were already (technically) middle-aged? Maybe it's okay, because you are the first generation of this new technological human-synthetic revolution! Or maybe you will physically and mentally deteriorate the way humans have always declined, unless they were lucky enough to be killed in a war or wiped out by a plague or eaten by saber-toothed tigers.

Experts are offering many cyborg scenarios in many media outlets frequented by those who are worrying a lot about the downward spiral of life. Let's examine our options!

Cyborg anthropologist Amber Case, on CNN.com: "A cyborg is not Terminator or Robocop, but the experience of everyday life that's been altered by technology. Everyone that uses technology is a superhuman. It's not so strange anymore because it's the norm–most everyone else around us is also a superhuman. The only time we notice it is when our devices run out of power. We're all super humans until our devices lose energy."

Evgeny Morozov, of The New Republic, in the New York Times: "If you trace the history of mankind, our evolution has been mediated by technology, and without technology it’s not really obvious where we would be. So I think we have always been cyborgs in this sense. You know, anyone who wears glasses, in one sense or another, is a cyborg. And anyone who relies on technology in daily life to extend their human capacity is a cyborg as well. So I don’t think that there is anything to be feared from the very category of cyborg. We have always been cyborgs and always will be."

Times of India: "Professor Kevin Warwick, celebrated as the first cyborg (a superhuman who has both biological and artificial parts in the body), is best known for being the world's first human to have a chip surgically implanted in his arm and conducting experiments on himself. [...] Now, he's planning implants in his brain which can enable telepathy."

Rebecca Greenfield in The Atlantic: "Google Glass now has a glasses-of-the-future competitor called the Vuzix smart glasses M100, which look about as cyborg-ish as Google's wearable computer invention, giving us pretty much no hope for a non-robotic version of these things, ever. If either of these products catch on, it looks like we're destined to a future with droid parts on our faces, as you can see above in Vizux's version and to the right with Google's Project Glass creation. Even on pretty women that look is straight out of the Stars Wars sequels that haven't been made yet. Maybe one day android fashions will be in and computer face accessories will separate the hip from the square."

Jon Mitchell at ReadWrite.com: "And if the folks we're competing with are determined to go the mutant route, do we even have the choice to opt out? [...] More to the point, companies are starting to realize these technologies could offer a tempting performance boost to their workforce. If it suddenly becomes profitable to hire jacked-up cyborg mutants, what do you think that's going to do to the job market for your typical Homo sapiens?"

11 Comments / Post A Comment

deepomega (#1,720)

We are about 5 years away from straight up Snow Crash gargoyles. Hope that's cool with you guys!

deepomega (#1,720)

@deepomega (Also I would actually argue that in a broader sense, even the way couples share memories between them is on the cyborg continuum. Offloading bits of yourself into other things!)

riotnrrd (#840)

@deepomega Already happening, I'm afraid: Instagram. The future is not only unevenly distributed, but it seems to be concentrated on documenting food and cats.

Leon (#6,596)

@deepomega – Could you summarize that article in the form of a King of Queens spec script? Thanks!

PoignancySelz (#238,693)

Where's my flying Prius???!?

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

I think this is where they're going with the final season of Fringe?

SkinnyNerd (#224,784)

"Give me all your money or I swipe this magnet."

"Cyborg anthropologist"

Nope.

riotnrrd (#840)

Didn't Donna Harraway and every cover of Heavy Metal magazine ever already deal with this?

BadUncle (#153)

Meanwhile, MIT's Sherry Turkle has been arguing this in critical theory since her '84 work "The Second Self."

banksters (#239,738)

I think it's pretty cool that we have every piece of human knowledge in the palm of our hands at all times.

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