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cyborg, n. a person whose physiological
functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device.
What's the difference between
replicants, cyborgs, androids and robots? Look
Although the replicants in Blade
Runner are robots, the cyborg - part man part machine - is the source of much
fascination in science fiction.
Will he be cobbled together from
remanants and spare parts?
androgynous creature of beauty and printed circuitry?
"The alternative to
artificial reality is to build a mechanical body which carries
the brain simulator around, just as our bodies carry around our
brains now. The body would need to duplicate the senses and motor
functions of a real human body if we want to minimize the patient's
adjustment. Artificial bodies would no doubt be crude at first,
with numbed senses and clumsy muscles, but if demand is high,
technology is sure to improve. Rather than clunky metal robots
such as the famous "C-3P0" of Star Wars fame, artificial
bodies will probably be made of smart polymers, ceramics, and
other advanced materials.
Note that as artificial
bodies will probably run on some sort of fuel cell or nuclear
power source, eating will no longer be necessary. However, a properly
designed body may still allow for the act of eating, for the pleasure
of it. The same goes for other bodily functions (e.g., sex) --
if there is demand for it, then artificial (or simulated) bodies
will no doubt be capable of it."
Digital Destiny and Human
Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer
by Steve Mann, with Hal Niedzviecki, ISBN: 0385658257
Published October 2001 by
is a cyborg, and the inventor of the wearable computer, called the WearComp.
He sees the world as images imprinted onto his retina by rays of laser light.
This allows him to transmit his viewpoint live to the Internet, block out
billboards and other unwanted visual stimuli, and turn his world into a series
of hyperlinks. Constantly connected to the WearComp system, Mann has all the
capabilities of a standard office at his disposal, even as he utilizes shrinking
technologies to turn himself into a portable movie studio.
The first person
to live in total constant intimate contact with the computer,
Steve Mann exists at once in the real and virtual worlds, living
an entirely videographic existence, seeing everything around him,
including himself, through a wearable computer. Over the past
twenty years, Steve Mann has been his own human guinea pig, testing
his various wearable computer prototypes on himself. In Cyborg,
he uses his own unique experiences to assess the state of wearable
computers and their potential impact on our lives, articulating
a vision for a tomorrow that sees humanity freer, safer, and smarter
in ways most of us can only imagine.
Mann is fascinated
by the possibilities of the cyborg future, but he does not shrink
away from frankly discussing the dangers of a post-human age in
which our computers come to control us. In this unique ground-breaking
book, Mann charts the development of a wearable computer industry,
and warns of dangers to our liberty, privacy, and democracy. He
contrasts those dangers with his own sweeping inclusive vision
of a wearable computing age that brings about new ways to teach,
learn, make art, communicate, and even think.
part breath-taking manifesto, part startling look into the very
near future, Cyborg is a powerful book that challenges preconceptions
and invites readers to enter the mind of one of the most fascinating
thinkers of our time.
Cyborg links: Cyborgmanifesto | The
ethics of the Cyborg
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