Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cyborgs - They are Walking Among Us

General Grievous

"I am Grievous, warlord of Kaleesh and Supreme Commander of the armies of the Confederacy. And I am not a droid" ~ Grievous

I've always been fascinated by science fiction stories. I'm allured by the exotic locales, strange creatures and the wondrous but sometimes unsettling human characters that are portrayed as a synthesis of organic and artificial parts. People like the Six Million Dollar Man, Robocop and the Terminator raise questions about the differences between man and machine concerning morality, free will and empathy.

My favorite cyborg has to be General Grievous from the Star Wars saga. Not only because he's artistically cool but he's also a battered old warrior living precariously to fight another day. After a bomb destroyed his shuttle, Grievous suffered near fatal injuries that rendered his body useless. The Separatists reconstructed Grievous by implanting his brain, eyes and vital organs into a duranium alloy body. Grievous was brainwashed and used as a weapon against the illustrious Jedi.

Today, humans whose physical capabilities are extended beyond their limitations is no longer fiction. Restorative cyborgizaion is the repair of broken or missing processes that enable a person to revert back to a healthy or average level of function. For example, someone fitted with a heart pacemaker has mechanical parts that enhance the body's natural rhythm through synthetic feedback. We don't necessarily have to play the God-given hand we were dealt.

As we age, our natural parts wear out. That used to mean immobility or death. Now, we can replace them. Artificial implants such as knee or hip replacements can reduce the suffering of a patient and allow them to live more comfortably. Many scientists believe that cybernetic technology will play a crucial role in the ongoing, human-evolutionary process but the future is now. Look closely and you'll see, there are already cyborgs walking among us.

The Six Million Dollar Man

The Terminator

Robocop

"I am not a droid!"

2 comments:

  1. I have an insulin pump and an artificial knee. Am I a cyborg?

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    1. That's the big question isn't it. I have a heart pacemaker keeping me going and I just received a hip-replacement so I feel like I'm becoming more artificial than natural. I guess by the technical definition we are considered cybernetic organisms. Despite the artificial aids that are improving my quality of life, I must say "I am not a droid!"

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