Andy Clark, in his book, talks about human beings being technological to the core. Hence, the term natural-born cyborg is used time and again. When I read the word cyborg, I was instantly reminded of characters from Star Trek, although I admit I never was a fan of. The word cyborg has a very technological hit to it. When one says the word, one immediately thinks of robots made of iron and steel, with heads of human beings, shiny and metallic body, some with a robotic voice and some really strong and intelligent. One might also be reminded of movies and TV shows like Robocop, Terminator and Small Wonder. The idea of humans implanted with machines and/or attacking the human race might sound frightening, and make one feel uneasy. However, it’s perfectly normal and acceptable for us to increase our intellect and abilities by using technology, take cell phones and computers for example.
“As our worlds become smarter, and get to know us better and better,” writes Andy Clark in Natural-Born Cyborgs, “It becomes harder and harder to say where the world stops and the person begins.” He is quite right, that I have to agree. Human beings are extremely technological in today’s world. Like Clark said he somewhat experienced brain damage and a mild stroke in the days when he spent without his computer, I have to agree that that is quite true for the rest of us as well. One cannot think to live without their laptops and computers. And those who do not own cellphones are freaks. Cellphones are like a part of our lives, a part of us. One cannot even think of leaving the house without their cellphones. We also use technology to turn disabilities into something more, for example hearing aids for the deaf and partially deaf, prosthetic limbs, etc.
Clark also talks about the importance and demand of the World Wide Web in today’s world, the urge to ‘smarten up’ and the many everyday objects that are techy and have populated our homes and offices. But his interest is not primarily in new technology. “Rather,” he writes, “it is to talk about us, about our sense of self, and about the nature of the human mind. The point is not to guess at what we might soon become, but to better appreciate what we already are: creatures whose minds are special precisely because they are tailor-made to mix and match neural, bodily and technological ploys.”
Clark relates cyborgs with humans with the argument that humans are quite like cyborgs, because humans also evolve with time and it is because of technology that has helped man to be smarter and faster than he actually is. He also stresses out the fact that technology has made human life much easier, smarter and faster and the way it helps the human race in every aspect of life. For example, we already have devices to replace our hips, knees, shoulders, wrists, elbows, jaws, teeth, arteries, veins, heart valves, arms, legs, feet, even fingers and toes. Human beings are growing more and more intimate with technology as time goes by.
The image that I chose shows a character from the hit British TV show, Doctor Who. The metallic robot that you see is called a Cyberman. According to the show, the Cyberman is an enemy of the Doctor who is the savior or rather, the hero of the series. The background information reveals that the Cybermen were once “human beings, but gradually they replaced their weak mortal flesh with metal and plastic. In the process they lost their compassion, along with other emotions.”
This is what Clark fears, I think. He thinks we, human beings, will literally become like these fictional Cybermen, allowing our human bodies to transform into steel and metal, and ultimately having our brains turned into machine, too.
Despite all the arguments and the conspiracies, one cannot refuse to acknowledge the benefits human beings receive from the technology in every aspect of life be it social, educational or medical. And I think it is safe to admit that technology was created and is being developed by the human race for their own advantage.