Whenever we talk about about cyborg, people will relate to dystopical science fiction. It is about time to change perspective on man-machine combinations.
Are cyborgs bad?
For people with a strong affinity for technology, the idea of enhancing one’s own body through technical instruments is obvious and does not have a strong social and ethical threshold. This is already no longer a marginal phenomenon. The transhumanists have arrived in the middle of society. As already mentioned in the introduction, I postulate that mass-suitable developments of advanced cyborg technologies to optimize the abilities of healthy people are only a matter of time. To repeat: We should not be afraid of this, but rather look forward to the additional possibilities and help shape their use. Let’s avoid fighting water. Contrary to what was predicted in the Middle Ages, the invention of the absolutely deadly crossbow did not directly lead to the extinction of mankind. To put energy into the sensible use of the technology and not the fear of it is the key.
Are man-machines reality?
The technical challenge of cyborg technologies lies in the interface between man and machine. Many such interfaces already exist especially in medicine. Through the wireless connection of external cameras, images are transmitted from electrical plates onto the retina, thus providing the intact optic nerve with information. In this way, blind people can see again. So-called “Kocher implants” are installed in their thousands. They help deaf individuals to hear again. It works through a direct interface of the implant with the auditory nerves. This is also possible if the auditory bones have been dysfunctional since birth. The implant bypasses them and transmits the signal directly to the nerve. Artificial hearts, teeth, hips, and knees are known to us all. Pacemakers already control the nerves responsible for the contraction of the heart. Neuronally controlled arm and leg prostheses are in use. Relatively new and promising are deep brain stimulators. These are electrodes that are sunk into certain active areas of the brain. They are connected via a cable to a pulse generator often placed under the chest muscles. This impulse generator is addressed via a remote control. Originally developed to suppress tremor in Parkinson’s patients, they have now also been successfully used to cure drug patients or anxiety states through stimulating certain areas of the brain. It seems only a matter of time before you can be focused, aggressive or happy at the touch of a button. A great potential in the hands of the right people.
Why do I report in such detail here? Because it is important to realize that the cyborg age has already begun. It is not science fiction. We have no choice. It is reality.