There are cyborgs everywhere… :)

by obannova

cluster11

  1. NASA is using in-house expertise to develop this plant habitat to go on an EXPRESS rack, like the one pictured above, in the International Space Station’s Destiny laboratory. It will provide a large, enclosed, environmentally controlled chamber designed to support commercial and fundamental plant research aboard the space station. (NASA)

Fear

Fascination

Fashion

Frustration

Focus or determination

It seems these are common emotions attached to image of a “cyborg”. But maybe it has been changing for some time and Donna Haraway looks at it much broader and deeper when she is talking about social, political, gender, cultural aspects of cyberology.

“A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction. Social reality is lived social relations, our most important political construction, a world-changing fiction.”

After all, wanting it or not but all of us become more or less cyborgs. Even those who fought it and tried to oppose cyborg idea to nature can’t escape fascinating mystery surrounding cyborg identity, perhaps because it denies the idea of identity itself, at least from human perspective.

Donna looks at the cyborg theory in details and offers to apply it to our social environment for a better understanding of its phenomenon and where it may lead us. What is happening now and what may happen with us soon? Fiction may become reality but would it be how we imagine it now? The discussion may bring us to an essential question of all humanity: What is “bad” and what is “good”? And if cyboring our lives into fiction is considered to be “no good” why do we keep doing it over and over again? Maybe we see it as an opportunity or a game:

“Cyborg imagery can suggest a way out of the maze of dualisms in which we have explained our bodies and our tools to ourselves. This is a dream not of a common language, but of a powerful infidel heteroglossia.” 

Katherine Hayles in her ‘Unfinished Work: From Cyborg to Cognisphere’ extends Haraway’s thoughts:

“The characteristic dynamic of this formation is the penetration of computational processes not only into every aspect of biological, social, economic and political realms but also into the construction of reality itself, where ‘reality’ should be understood, as Haraway says in a different context, as ‘made’ but not necessarily ‘made up’.”

Hayles brings up an example of the surveillance programs under the Bush administration and argues that the fact that the data is collected by machines makes the process less intrusive into personal lives of the US citizens. But those machines are not only designed by humans but also deliver collected data to them which make it a close loop system and a cyber-system.

I like the idea of humans co-evolving with intelligent machines as they do with animals. A symbiotic co-existence stirs evolution in a positive direction. After all, we are still humans and we can’t resist from humanizing what we like or get attached to, either it is an animal or a machine and maybe it’s a good thing!