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Occasional Writing for T17 – Cybernetic Addendum

February 23, 2013

I’ve already posted the official prompt for the Occasional Writing due before class on T17. However, I didn’t really leave any room for people to explore the the main topic of this week’s reading: cybernetic organisms.


Sorry about that. If you want to write on Andy Clark‘s piece about cyborgs, please post it as a comment on this page. The usual rules apply:

  • Please limit yourself to 300-500 words;
  • Please do this no later than 24 hours before class begins on T17.

Even if you don’t write on this topic this week, check out what Clark has to say here. You can also read Clark’s book Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence and become an expert on the subjet.

  1. Heather Ireland permalink

    Andy Clark’s cyborgs provide a compelling argument in which he asserts that we, humans, are already all cyborgs and that is what makes us all so deeply different from other species. In many ways, humans are certainly leaning towards cybernetic addendum. Advancing technology in prosthetic limbs has gotten so sophisticated that computer programming can now read electrical impulses going into an amputated limb. The person with the prosthetic can control the prosthetic with their mind…this is an extremely advanced step…a piece of technology that can read electrical impulses and translate those impulses into motion. These prosthetics can be considered just as functional as human limbs.
    Clark’s argument, however does not stop there. He states that our brains are plastic..meaning it is capable of being shaped or formed. He asserts that technology such as cell phones, laptops, and google, are all exploiting our brains plastic nature. More importantly neural implants and cochlear implants are made to assist people, however it is technologic devices implanted directly into the brain. These types of devices are most definitely capable of manipulating the mind. Clark is not concerned by this trend; he sees this trend towards increased technologic and human interaction to expand the sense of self and physical presence to a remarkable extent. I tend to agree with Clark’s opinion—our uses of technology makes us different from other animals; that is to say that we are not physically so different from other animals and our rise to dominance was brought about by our mental faculties and technology.
    So while there are certain benefits of technology; through movies and characters like the terminator we have seen the negative impact of this increased human-technologic interaction. Particularly with the advent of those neural implants: imagine a technology with direct access to the brain where it could control a persons actions, thoughts, and ideas; suddenly the idea of an evil cyborg taking over the human race. Particularly at the rate that bio-technology is emerging and changing.

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