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The History And Future Of Cyborgs

2696 words - 11 pages

In the latter half of the twentieth century society, culture and science evolved visions and capability around the common prefix ‘cyber’. It took on several virtual, computational, functional, scientific, sexual and criminal connotations. In the 21st Century, many computational notions have been replaced by ‘e’ to mean ‘of computer’ - however ‘cyber’, represented in music, words and films emerging at this time, which communicate the content of culture at the time, not simply technology – have not become ePeople, eMusic or eFilms, but remained postulated in cyberculture.

Cark (2004) identifies Manfred Clynes and co-author Nathan Kline as first coining the phrase "Cyborg" in a story called "Cyborgs and Space" published in Astronautics (September 1960).

The term was used to describe a human being augmented with technological "attachments". In popular fiction author Martin Caidin wrote the sci-fi fiction novel 'Cyborg' in 1978, later adapted in the 1973 television series "The six million dollar man". In this time, music also played a role in the popularizing the Cyborg - with an entire generation being familiar with the term. Kraftwerk (1981). “ComputerWorld”; Billy Idol (1993). “Cyberpunk”; The Prodigy (1995). "Music For The Jilted Generation"; Underworld (2007). "Oblivion With Bells".

Mark Weiser coined the phrase "ubiquitous computing" in 1988 as he envisioned computers embedded in walls, tabletops, and in everyday objects. While using, technology, makes us notional Cyborgs in that it allows us to extend our human ability – through information appliances (Benyon, D. Turner, P., & Turner, S., 2005) the evolution in Cyborgs is related to the human and animal rather than the devices that they can learn to use per se.

Today, the description of a ‘Cyborg’ is being evolved in world’s largest social-encyclopedia, Wikipedia where it was viewed over 29,000 times in August 2010. Thousands of people (experts and non) have updated, moderated and discussed changes to the entry since it first appeared on the site on 18th October, 2001, demonstrating continuing social negotiation and interpretation of the concept.

Also in Wikipedia is reference to the cybernetic scientist Professor Kevin Warwick, one of many involved evolving ‘cybernetic’ research. Warwick received an biotechnological implanted chip in 2002. It was placed is arm, through the skin, allowing him to send data from nerve impulses to a computer by connecting a data cable.

To elaborate the Cyborg discussion around limits requires it to be placed inside wider, existing discussion. There are two fundamental perspectives to the debate. The Bioconservatists (social, eithical, cultural, economic) and the Transhumanists (biological science, technology). With very different worldviews.

Condorcet (1979) wrote “man will not become immortal, but cannot the span constant increase between the moment he begins to live and the time when naturally, without illness or accident, he finds life a...

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