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13-06-2009, 03:05 PM
A cyborg is a cybernetic organism (i.e., an organism that has both artificial and natural systems). The term was coined in 1960 when Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline used it in an article about the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space. D. S. Halacy's Cyborg: Evolution of the Superman in 1965 featured an introduction by, who wrote 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." The cyborg is often seen today merely as an organism that has enhanced abilities due to technology, but this perhaps oversimplifies the category of feedback.
Fictional cyborgs are portrayed as a synthesis of organic and synthetic parts, and frequently pose the question of difference between human and machine as one concerned with morality, free will, and empathy. Fictional cyborgs may be represented as visibly mechanical (e.g. the Cybermen in the Doctor Who franchise or Amber from the game Project Eden); or as almost indistinguishable from humans (e.g. the "Human" Cylons from the re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica). The 1970s television series the Six Million Dollar Man featured one of the most famous fictional cyborgs. Cyborgs in fiction often play up a human contempt for over-dependence on technology, particularly when used for war, and when used in ways that seem to threaten free will. Cyborgs are also often portrayed with physical or mental abilities far exceeding a human counterpart (military forms may have inbuilt weapons, among other things).
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18-03-2011, 03:01 PM
S.SHAKTHIKUMARAN & E.SURESH KUMAR
CYBORGS paper presented by students of Dr. Pauls Engg. College.doc (Size: 47 KB / Downloads: 144)
In the years ahead we will witness machines with intelligence more powerful than that of humans. This will mean that robots, not humans, make all the important decisions. It will be a robot dominated world with dire consequences for humankind. The question is - Is there an alternative way ahead?
Humans have limited capabilities. Humans sense the world in a restricted way, vision being the best of the senses. Humans understand the world in only 3 dimensions and communicate in a very slow, serial fashion called speech. But can this be improved on? Can we use technology to upgrade humans?
The possibility exists to enhance human capabilities. To harness the ever increasing abilities of machine intelligence, to enable extra sensory input and to communicate in a much richer way, using thought alone. This possibility is made possible in the form of Cyborgs. A Cyborg is a Cybernetic Organism, part human part machine; it thrives on the inputs both from the living senses and from the machine interface, which acts as an enhancement module.
Dr. Kevin Warwick heads the Cybernetics Department at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom and has taken the first steps on this path, using himself as a guinea pig test subject receiving, by surgical operation, technological implants connected to his central nervous system.
In this seminar and presentation, I intend to throw some light on, how exactly the cyborgdom is achieved and what are the future aspects and prospects? Are we witnessing a true revolution in human futuristics or is it going to be just a flight of fantasy? That the future will tell. But for now let us understand what Cyborgs are all about?
How might we interact with future computers? Let me list the ways: By gesture, by hand, foot and body motion, by the speed and forcefulness of our activities, by our thoughts, feelings and emotions, by where, how and when we look, by speech and sound, by music and touch. Imagine it and it shall come to pass? Not quite, but the potential is staggering, especially in the area of the cyborg—the implantation of bio-electronic devices to amplify human thought, memory, vision, and muscle power.
Cyborg is a cybernetic organism whose mental and physical abilities are far extended by the machine technology.
It’s partly human and partly a machine.
The Evolution of the Cyborg
It`s obvious that the process of technical penetration of consciousness is inseparable from the development of the cyborg, and involves the replacement, augmentation and integration of parts of the human body with machines. And this process has obvious evolutionary implications and may be simplified and schematized in a model of four stages, as follows:
• Stage I Cyborg: Replacement or augmentation of the human skeleton. Examples: wooden leg, hook for lost hand, armor, false teeth, etc.
• Stage II Cyborg: Replacement or augmentation of muscle. Examples: mechanical hand for lost hand, other prosthetic devices, mechanical heart valve, replacement of lens in eye, etc.
• Stage III Cyborg: Replacement or augmentation of parts of the peripheral nervous system, autonomic nervous system and the neuroendocrine system. Examples: bionic arms and legs, pacemakers, automatic biochemical pumps, etc.
• Stage IV Cyborg: Replacement or augmentation of parts of the central nervous system. Examples: video "eyes" for blind, Air Force cyborg fighter plane control, etc.
The number of respected scientists predicting the advent of intelligent machines is growing exponentially. Steven Hawking, perhaps the most highly regarded theoretical scientist in the world and the holder of the Cambridge University chair that once belonged to Isaac Newton, said recently, "In contrast with our intellect, computers double their performance every 18 months. So the danger is real that they could develop intelligence and take over the world." He added, "We must develop as quickly as possible technologies that make possible a direct connection between brain and computer, so that artificial brains contribute to human intelligence rather than opposing it."1 The important message to take from this is that the danger—that we will see machines with an intellect that outperforms that of humans—is real.
The communication to robots is very difficult. There are certain grey areas in the man’s ability in order to rectify them.
How Are Cyborgs Made..?
The chip is to be implanted in to our body, which consists of an array of electrodes. These electrodes are extremely thin, similar in dimension to a human hair. When implanted this get in contact with median nerve in order to record the reactions and simulate the nerves. The array is in turn in connected to the signal processing system through wires. The implant is a two way communication.
A British university professor has been fitted with cyborg technology enabling his nervous system to be linked to a computer. He is Professor Kevin Warwick, probably, the world’s first cyborg. Readings will be taken from the implant in his arm. These readings will be of electrical impulses coursing through his nerves. These signals, which are generated by encoding movements like wiggling fingers and feelings like shock and pain, will be transmitted to a computer and recorded.
Surgeons implanted a silicon square about 3mm wide into an incision in Warwick's left wrist and attached its 100 electrodes, each as thin as a hair, into the median nerve. Connecting wires were fed under the skin of the forearm and out from a skin puncture and the wounds were sewn up. The wires will be linked to a receiver device to relay nerve messages to a computer by radio signal. The procedure involved inserting a guiding tube into a two inch incision made above the wrist, inserting the microelectrode array into this tube and firing it into the median nerve fibers below the elbow joint.
A number of experiments have been carried out using the signals detected by the array, most notably Professor Warwick was able to control an electric wheelchair and an intelligent artificial hand using this neural interface.
Another important aspect of the work undertaken as part of this project and implimentation has been to monitor the effects of the implant on Professor Warwick’s hand functions. This was carried out by Allesio Murgia a research student at the department, using the Southampton Hand Assessment Procedure (SHAP) test. By testing hand functionality during the course of the project and implimentation the difference between the performance indicators before, during and after the implant was present in Kevin’s arm can be used to give a measure of the risks associated with this and future cyborg experiments.
Classification of Cyborgs.
A critical perusal of the role play featured by cyborgs, in movies, may revel the presence of four major stereotyped categories namely (1) Unique/solitary cyborgs (2) Social cyborgs (3) Futuristic cyborgs and (4) Reluctant cyborgs.
i). Unique/Solitary Cyborgs
ROBOCOP and BIONIC MAN represent the unique and solitary type of cyborgs. These cyborgs are usually alone and unique in their crusades. In the portrayal of Robocop, the cyborg stands out as a sentinel of human fantasy as a superhero, always ahead of other fellow human beings with reference to their intelligence and capabilities. Extended capabilities of the Bionic Man always make him to win due to his superhuman abilities. Such technological abilities in human body are magnified. The machine character dominates the human character. In these portrayals human nature is mildly expressed as a show of sentiment and weakness which, when expressed often makes the cyborg to fail in his venture. In short, in these cyborgs the normal human part is weak, illogical and destructive. However, the society looks to these cyborgs and fantasies for their protective capabilities.
ii). Social Cyborgs
These cyborgs live in world where cyborgs are the social norm. They actively interact with society. For example, in the book, "NEUROMANCER" by Gibson (1995) and the movie "CIRCUITRY MAN" (1990) portray cyborgs as bartenders and vigilantes, where the human character dominates over the machine part. In these cyborgs, the presence of bionic extensions does not change the person's character in any way.
iii). Futuristic Cyborgs
The Futuristic cyborgs (FUC) are totally fabricated and they bear no resemblance to any of the real world. These cyborgs live in a fantasy world where they are capable of extraordinary feats and are also equally matched by their opponents. They usually have higher responsibilities of saving the planet and the galaxy from destruction. The FUC's are totally merged into a human-machine interface. In such representations, they can transform into war machines as seen in the cartoon series "CENTURIONS"(1985) and " POWERRANGERS "(1993). Their personalities can also be uploaded into various machines. There is neither any special importance nor there is any importance to human character. The whole idea is that they are literally born as cyborgs and their whole world compliments their nature.
iv). Reluctant Cyborgs.
These are the cyborgs that truly portray the human spirit by offering glimpses into the question of irreversibility of cyborgation. The Teen Titans, a teenager reconditioned cyborg, finds it difficult to fit in with the normal human society since the society is not yet ready to accept the cyborg as a human being. Similarly, if the ROBOCOP wishes to return to a fully human being/life then it is also not possible. They are forced to remain a cyborg. Such ethical dilemmas offer a rare preview of what the cyborg would really appear emotionally, if their superhuman fantasy role is stripped off from them. For the reluctant cyborgs, the cyborg body is a prison.
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