If you can read this you're a Cyborg.

by 2:05 PM 1 comments
D. S. Halacy's Cyborg: Evolution of the Superman in 1965 featured an introduction which spoke of a "new frontier" that was "not merely space, but more profoundly the relationship between 'inner space' to 'outer space' – a bridge...between mind and matter.

Cyborg's are typically relegated to the realm of Science Fiction, but today-as I write this, they walk among us.

The classical description of a cyborg is a being that is more machine than man, a being that cannot hide the  mechanized portions of their anatomy, but that is not the technical definition.

The technical defintion I have included below-

cy·borg  (sbôrg)
(source is included in link)


The proliferation of medical implants such as pacemakers and cochlear implants are the obvious connections here, but I mention that only to disregard it and move on to the true nature of my statement, as I'm sure that 100% of the readers of this blog don't have these devices in their body.

If you look at the definition above, you will notice that it does not specify that these devices be contained within the human body. Whereas the general population would assume that the devices are physically contained by the cyborgs body, if you take a look above, it is not a literal requirement. Since you are on this blog reading information of a literary nature, I feel safe assuming that I can stick to the literal definition here.

My point, and I apologize for taking so long to get to it, is that every time you look up information online, retrieve an itinerary from your cell phone, or (gasp) surf facebook, you are defining yourself a cyborg.

(And yes, I can see the look you are giving me right now. Don't worry, I only use my ubiquitous webcam surfing for good, lol)

Remembering, the act of retrieving information that is somewhere in your mind, is a "physiological process".

Since the inception of the internet, we become exponentially more adept at retrieving information stored there instead of learning it through more traditional means. I actually had a conversation with someone the other day who questioned how I could remember so much about something that was not common knowledge, and I explained it to them as this-I prioritize what I need to remember and what can be easily accessed elsewhere.

Do I need to know the atomic number of Barium? It is highly unlikely that I will ever be in a situation where this information will be needed in a fashion that will prohibit me from taking two seconds to punch the request into my Android phone. Have I been privvy to this information in the past? Absolutely, I had to memorize atomic numbers in one class or another during my education.

So in effect, I have effectively offloaded that portion of my brain to the cloud. I would venture a guess that many of you have done likewise with certain information without even realizing it.

So, with most of the periodic table offloaded to the internet, I am free to remember information that is much more useful to me as I make my way through my day. I have delegated the physiological process of remembering to climate controlled serviers stashed all over the world.

Of course this is all metaphorical, but in the near future it will not be. Brain computer interfaces are already a reality, here, take a look at these as proof-

2010-An overview.
This is a grainy video from a television program that gives a good basic idea behind the most common kind of Brain Computer Interfaces- ones that use a cap (it looks alot like the ones that women use to highlight their hair at home).

Driving a wheelchair with a Brain Computer Interface
This is the first test of this technology-notice there's a noticeable delay between when the driver starts thinking about a direction and when the wheelchair moves, but it has gotten much better since then.


First Internal BCI implant-first direct communication from one human nervous system to another.
This one is fascinating. He has chosen to implant a chip in his arm to record nerve signals, which has allowed him to turn lights off and on, to control a robotic hand over the internet, and even connect the implant in his arm to the one in his wifes via the internet and have her hand control his remotely.


So the future is coming, and the fact that we have already started to condition ourselves to begin using commands that the computer interfaces can interpret more readily through our assorted devices will smooth the transition.

I'm writing about this because I always have a hard time explaining some of the advanced fictional concepts in the novel I am currently writing (pre://d.o.mai.n), and came across some of these videos (there are thousands more) in my research. I find this subject fascinating and thought that sharing it here would serve the duel purpose of sharing something cool to my friends and also (selfishly) inferring an increase in familiarity with these topics prior to the novel being completed, so that when it comes out hopefully everyone will be more interested in the science behind the advances I am writing about.

One thing is for certain though, at some point in the future people will have instant access to the cumulative documented knowledge of all of humanity in the blink of an eye.

It's going to make insufferable know-it-alls even more insufferable, lol





Chris Godsoe

Developer

Christopher Godsoe is a science fiction author in Central Maine. A single father, he spends his time enjoying video games with his son, cooking, and is an unrepentant film buff.