Planet Cyborg Essay

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Planet Cyborg

Since the beginning of civilization, the concept of a super-human has fascinated our species. Whether imagined as a semi-god, super-hero, or monster, the vision of some superior yet human-like being never seems to die out through time. An equal, if not more of a plausibility than artificial intelligence is the emergence of a sub-species of humans enhanced with artificial or computerized limbs, organs, and capabilities. Fundamentally, however, an increase in cyborg technology will alter our conception of intellgence just as much as the achievement of A.I.

The term cyborg originated in 1960 as a combination of “cybernetic” and “organism,” coined by NASA scientist Manfred Clynes as he envisioned the modification of humans to be more space-compatible.[1] Since then, the term has been tossed around from the media to science-fiction authors as a general reference toward human-machine integrations. As alien as these concepts still seem, a great deal of cybernetic technology has undergone implementation in today’s society—beginning with the basic bionic building blocks of artificial limbs and organs.

The earliest reports of attempts at life-like prosthetics come from 1504, with an account of a clumsy but functional iron hand with flexible joints.[2] Modern bionic limbs are not a far cry from the naturalness of the artificial hand that wowed the audiences of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back over two decades ago. With today’s technology, prosthetics are more than mere stand-ins for limbs and organs, but can, through complex wiring systems, undertake the actual functions of the missing parts by responding to electro-chemical signals sent from the brain.

The Dobelle Instit...

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...eck Muscle.”Chemistry and Industry (20 May 2002): 7.

Gray, Chris Hables. Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Posthuman Age. New York: Routledge, 2001.

“Historical Highlights in Bionics and Related Medicine.” Science, 295 (8 February 2002): 1003.

Towner, Natalie. “Cyborg.” Computer Weekly (29 August 2002): 31. Expanded Academic ASAP.

Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT. Accessed 10 November 2002.

Underhill, William. “Merging Man and Machine.” Newsweek (14 October 2002): 38Z.

University of Reading Department of Cybernetics. “Professor Kevin Warwick.” Available from Accessed 10 November 2002.

Vogel, Gretchen. “Part Man, Part Computer: Researcher Tests the Limits.” Science, 295 (8
February 2002): 1020.

Warwick, Kevin. “Budding Cyborg.” New Scientist, 173 (30 March 2002): 19.

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