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Are You a Competent Cyborg?

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the assimilation-is-taking-longer-than-i-expected dept.

Cellphones 101

An anonymous reader writes "Beyond your smartphone screen lies an infinitely more interesting world, if only you could get past the myopic app view you're currently bound to. Glen Martin ponders the existential unease lying at the root of the Internet of Things: 'We're already cyborgs: biological matrices augmented by wirelessly connected silicon arrays of various configurations. The problem is that we're pretty clunky as cyborgs go. We rely on screens and mobile devices to extend our powers beyond the biological. That leads to everything from atrophying social skills as face-to-face interactions decline to fatal encounters with garbage trucks as we wander, texting and oblivious, into traffic. So, if we're going to be cyborgs, argues Breseman, let's be competent, sophisticated cyborgs. For one thing, it's now in our ability to upgrade beyond the screen. For another, being better cyborgs may make us — paradoxically — more human.'"

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Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (5, Funny)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 8 months ago | (#46279535)

I'm not a cyborg.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (5, Informative)

BenFenner (981342) | about 8 months ago | (#46279957)

Those who modded this poster as a troll have no clue what the poster is doing. They are pointing out that the headline of the article is a LEADING QUESTION, and pigeonholes the reader into a false scenario. The poster simply says they reject the premise that they are a cyborg at all.

The beating your wife question is a classic example of a leading question. Hopefully the post will get modded properly? I'm sorry kruach aum, there are some fools modding today.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46280807)

If you are here, you have a computer. If you have a computer, you are a cyborg.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46282351)

The computer is a tool. Owning and using a computer doesn't make me any more a cyborg than does owning and using a hammer.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 8 months ago | (#46288551)

About that... Clothes make you a cyborg. Augmenting your limb for whacking things certainly would qualify. Technology makes us cyborgs. That's exactly what cybernetics was meant to address and develop, especially when second-order cybernetics necessarily dragged even the cyberneticists into the system scope. You'd have some argument for a hasty generalizing definition for less dedicated users or tools, but us and hammers are pretty involved. Computers extend us greatly: our physical manipulators, senses, mental processing, memories, even identities.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (1)

zsau (266209) | about 8 months ago | (#46290757)

Then what is the value of the word "cyborg"? It contributes nothing of value. All humans almost ever would be cyborgs, whether they're throwing stones and lighting fires or have computers between their senses and the outside world.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 8 months ago | (#46293569)

What about tool-users, speakers, or currently sophonts? Cyborg has use in the scope for which it was originally defined. Hacker had use in the scope it was originally defined, despite applying to almost everyone that would ever use the word by its original definition and most people they're bother referring to as well.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46292851)

Uhh, using a hammer DOES make you a cyborg. I think you watch too many movies. Cyborgs aren't just people with robotic limbs, idiot.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46281803)

The term is "loaded question": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_question

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (2)

pr0t0 (216378) | about 8 months ago | (#46280005)

I'm guessing you are being modded as troll because the well-known logical fallacy you used in your subject to illustrate your point, went straight over the heads of the mods. To wit:

The question "Have you stopped beating your wife?" is a common illustration of the "loaded question" logical fallacy. Kruach's point was the question "Are you a competent cyborg?" is also a loaded question. We are not cyborgs at all, and the use of a cell phone doesn't make me a cyborg any more than using a car makes me a mode of transportation. In primitive terms, a cell phone is a tool not an augment, and its use is a conscious endeavor.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 8 months ago | (#46280259)

Yep. The article is just a fluff piece starting from a false presumption. The author might as well suggest that early tool using humans were cyborgs because they augmented their natural physical abilities with sharpened stones, or if we go a little more recent augmented their ability to store and transfer knowledge by carving cuneiform into clay tablets. There really is nothing to see here.

ALSO, FUCK BETA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285017)

comment

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46280053)

Exactly. I am not, nor do i want to be, a cyborg. How about putting away the blinking toys and having a life. Go out and ride a bike. Take a hike in the wood with your friends (you know, friends, people that you actually do things with and have conversations with that are longer than 160 characters). Go skiing with your kid. Learn how to play an instrument (a real one, not a simulated one on an LCD screen). Be bold and go out and actually meet people where you cannot hide behind a keyboard.

Uh huh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46280887)

Why don't you go do that? I understand though. I am an Anonymous Coward myself. I just don't care for people telling me what to do.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46280339)

For us cyborgs, kruach, better explicate that allusion.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (0)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 8 months ago | (#46280549)

I wouldn't call myself a cyborg, but I am, in part, bionic. I have ocular implants that vastly improve my vision and adjustable, augmented hearing.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46281979)

Yeah, right.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 8 months ago | (#46282301)

I'm not making any of that up. I had cataract surgery in both eyes, and the implants corrected my astimatism and changed me from being intensely nearsighted to slightly farsighted. (I now need reading glasses for close-up work.) And, I have hearing aids that can be adjusted for more or less amplification. How would you describe that?

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#46291743)

I can back you up on that, I'm a cyborg, too. I have a CrystaLens implant. If yours is the old fixed focus lens it's debatable whether or not you're a cyborg, it depends on whether your monofocal implant is a device (I would agree it is, but there's no argument about something that focuses).

Dick Cheney used to be a cyborg but no longer is. Since his heart transplant there's no implanted device, so he's now a chimera. You would be surprised how many real cyborgs and chimeras there are today, especially since the first cyborg was a Brit in 1949 who got the first cataract surgery and the first chimera was in the 1960s (first transplant surgery).

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 8 months ago | (#46291839)

If yours is the old fixed focus lens it's debatable whether or not you're a cyborg

I had my surgery in 2011, so I'm fairly sure that I can change the focus to some extent. I do know that if I've been doing close-up work, such as I am now, it takes some time for my eyes to adapt when I start watching TV; for the first twenty or thirty minutes, the closed captions are a tad hard to read. Of course, I'm 64, so that might just be my aging eyes. And, as I'm very much a fan of SF and Fantasy, I prefer to call myself a bionic fan.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46282105)

This isn't funny as much as it's insightful.

Re:Have you stopped beating your wife yet? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#46291571)

Oh, how the mighty slashdot community has fallen. First "troll" and now "funny"? That was insightful. An automobile, a telephone, Google Glass, even prosthetic feet don't make you a cyborg. A cyborg is an organism with an implanted device which allows the organism to function better. Look it up in Webster's or the OED, they both agree (and no, wictionary and the urban dictionaries are not accurate about much of anything except slang). Your glasses don't make you a cyborg, but my eye implant makes me one. Your artificial limb doesn't make you a cyborg, but your hip and knee implants do.

Dick Cheney used to be a cyborg, as he had a pacemaker. He's no longer a cyborg, now he's a chimera since he had a heart transplant.

Dumbest article I've read all week. What's happening to my beloved slashdot that ignorant stories like this get voted to the front page and insightful comments like the above are modded "troll" and "funny" by people with two digit IQs, voted and modded by people who five years ago wouldn't have been caught dead at slashdot.

The normals are starting to outnumber we nerds here, which is even a worse development than Beta (especially since we still have classic).

Wow, more techno-shamanistic religious crap (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46279549)

You're not a cyborg because you have a cell phone you self-important hysterical lunatic...

Re:Wow, more techno-shamanistic religious crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46281387)

You're not a cyborg because you have a cell phone you self-important hysterical lunatic...

flamebait perhaps, but 100% correct. This guy is horribly abusing the term "cyborg". Using technology does not make you a cyborg, integrating technology into your physical body is what is required for that definition to apply.

It's like claiming that riding a horse makes you a Centaur.

Re:Wow, more techno-shamanistic religious crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46281595)

The author sounds like the kind of 100% earnest but completely misinformed self-important geek who goes on, without any sense of the ridiculous, about what will happen when we 3D print new bodies at will.

External cognition is not a new idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46279553)

The unease lying at the root of the Internet of Things is not that you're becoming more machine-like. It's that you can't turn it off.

Re:External cognition is not a new idea (2)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 8 months ago | (#46279997)

It's that you can't turn it off.

You don't have free will?

Re:External cognition is not a new idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46280559)

It's OK, no one has free will in any meaningful sense. We're effects, rather than any kind of first cause.

Re:External cognition is not a new idea (2)

William Baric (256345) | about 8 months ago | (#46281627)

I don't have any control over what happens inside my brain and, in fact, I'm not even aware of it.

So not only I don't have free will, but I'm not even conscious of myself.

False assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46279579)

Does talking on the phone while driving make us better drivers than when texting? There's only so much focus to go around. Just because there's no screen doesn't mean our focus will be in the right place. Social skills could suffer more due to it not being obvious when we're not paying attention to people.

No. (4, Informative)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 8 months ago | (#46279581)

We rely on screens and mobile devices to extend our powers beyond the biological.

Which is exactly why we're not cyborgs.

Re:No. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46279647)

Cyborg is a being with both human and mechanical parts; however that doesn't mean the mechanical parts need to be inside you.

Re:No. (3, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46279699)

Yeah, that's more cyberphilia.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46282203)

Cyberphilia sounds dangerously sexy.

Re:No. (3, Informative)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 8 months ago | (#46279751)

Cyborg is a being with both human and mechanical parts; however that doesn't mean the mechanical parts need to be inside you.

From the Oxford English Dictionary: cyborg /sbôrg/ noun. a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body.

Merriam-Webster: a person whose body contains mechanical or electrical devices and whose abilities are greater than the abilities of normal humans.

Dunno about you, but my phone, laptop, tv, etc do not fall under Oxford's built into my body nor Merriam-Webster's contained in my body.

Re:No. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 8 months ago | (#46279807)

Dunno about you, but my phone, laptop, tv, etc do not fall under Oxford's built into my body nor Merriam-Webster's contained in my body.

...And thank $deity for that; could you imagine such a thing, in today's world of proprietary hardware and software, not to mention planned obsolescence?

Scary.

Re:No. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46280179)

The obvious solution is to place the minimal interface hardware inside, and the replaceable parts outside. The wires go on the brain, and the computer goes on a hat, connected via socket/magnetic coupling/ultra-low-power radio/transdermal optics.

Re:No. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#46291769)

And thank $deity for that; could you imagine such a thing, in today's world of proprietary hardware and software, not to mention planned obsolescence?

That train already left the station. It's certain you know real cyborgs, it's just that we cyborgs don't stand out; we don't look like the terminator or robocop. A very large number of (mostly older) people have artificial hips, CrystaLens eye implants, artificial knees, cochlear implants, pacemakers, and other other mechanical parts implanted. Without those parts some of us would be disabled, often severely, or in the case of pacemakers, dead.

I was severely nearsighted all my life, then passed 40 and was farsighted as well as nearsighted. Then I got a cataract from steroid eye drops that had been prescribed and had surgery. I now have better than 20/20 vision at all distances; no more contact lenses, no more reading glasses.

And people wonder why I love technology so much...

As to planned obsolescence, my mother's eye implants are obsolete (although still used, the new ones that focus are more expensive) since she got them in 2000 and the CrystaLens wasn't approved until 2003. When its patent runs out, nobody will have monofocal lenses implanted.

I just hope one of the struts doesn't break...

Re:No. (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46280213)

Cute, however maybe you should read the actual use of the word?

Protip: as soon as it's defined as a person, and not an organism, what you are reading it likely to be wrong.

Now explain to me why an electrical signal to our brain from your optical nerve is different then to your brain via any other nerve.

Re:No. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 8 months ago | (#46291845)

Protip: as soon as it's defined as a person, and not an organism, what you are reading it likely to be wrong.

Animals are organisms. Humans are an animal species. We ARE organisms. Your dog has an artificial hip? He's a cyborg. You have an artificial hip? You're a cyborg.

Now explain to me why an electrical signal to our brain from your optical nerve is different then to your brain via any other nerve.

Nerve signals are chemical, not electrical. You can, however, affect chemistry with electricity, which is how it's different.

Re:No. (1)

Keyboard Rage (3448471) | about 8 months ago | (#46284415)

So someone with a pacemaker can be seen as a cyborg by that part of humanity that is currently dying from heart disease, but since a normal healthy human isn't dying from heart disease at the moment someone with a pacemaker is not a cyborg.

However, if Oscar Pistorius replaces his prosthetic legs by some jet engines and has one of his hands replaced by an incorporated pistol, he can become the first cyborg drone in history and not be arrested for murder

Re:No. (2)

khasim (1285) | about 8 months ago | (#46280063)

I have an abacus and a car.

Fear my part-human/part-abacus/part-automobile wrath!

And someone riding a horse is not the same thing as a centaur.

Re: No. (1)

Esteanil (710082) | about 8 months ago | (#46279941)

Some of us are more cyborg than others, like my (partly battery-powered) brother with electrode implants in his brain.

Re:No. (1)

SplawnDarts (1405209) | about 8 months ago | (#46280327)

The definitions of "cyborg" and "cybernetic" are in an academic context VERY broad. Really only science fiction has narrowed the concept to a William Gibsonesque "person with machine bits grafted on".

In Norbert Wiener's sense a person holding a phone definitely qualifies. Many scholars would have no problem at all with the "machine" part being something even more disconnected or abstract - perhaps business/social/economic in nature.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46281553)

The definitions of "cyborg" and "cybernetic" are in an academic context VERY broad. Really only science fiction has narrowed the concept to a William Gibsonesque "person with machine bits grafted on".

In Norbert Wiener's sense a person holding a phone definitely qualifies. Many scholars would have no problem at all with the "machine" part being something even more disconnected or abstract - perhaps business/social/economic in nature.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

I'm calling total bullshit on that, and Wikipedia is NOT a citation.
Picking something up with your hands or wearing something on your head does not make that thing PART of you. Riding a horse does not make you a Centaur. Driving a car does not make you a vehicle, and wearing a pure Seal-Skin coat does not make you a Seal.

The term Cyborg indicates some type of fusion between man and machine, not simply man USING a machine. Such a definition as you're proposing would render the word effectively meaningless, because under such a definition pretty much everyone on the planet has been a "cyborg" since the advent of machinery.

Re:No. (1)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 8 months ago | (#46288119)

Red herrings and appeal to consequences... The word is quite meaningful in second-order cybernetics. Let me guess you don't know what bionic originally meant either? You're lack of care is irrelevant to a matter of fact, BTW.

I'm a zomborg (1)

Dareth (47614) | about 8 months ago | (#46285383)

I had a cadaver bone graft and titanium inserted into my neck. That makes me a zomborg. So either way if the machines or the zombies rise up, I'm already covered.

You will be upgraded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46279607)

Please stand by. You will be upgraded. Welcome to the Cyberiad.

Re:You will be upgraded (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 8 months ago | (#46279787)

Welcome to the Cyberiad.

Trurl and Klapaucius will arrive shortly.

Darwin makes us better cyborgs (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 8 months ago | (#46279631)

... with the help of a few garbage trucks, that is.

Selection pressure is most certainly against those who wander oblivious.

I do not think it means what you think it means... (4, Insightful)

michaelwigle (822387) | about 8 months ago | (#46279663)

You keep using that word (cyborg). I do not think it means what you think it means... :P http://youtu.be/G2y8Sx4B2Sk [youtu.be]

Re:I do not think it means what you think it means (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46279829)

A cyborg is an organism enhanced by technology. What the difference between information being automatically handled and the results getting to your brain via the optic nerve as opposed to any other nerves?
They fact that I am doing things view the signal coming through the optic nerves opposed to other nerves doesn't really matter.

"For the exogenously extended organizational complex functioning as an integrated homeostatic system unconsciously, we propose the term 'Cyborg'. - Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline"

also:
The purpose of the Cyborg, as well as his own homeostatic systems, is to provide an organizational system in which such robot-like problems are taken care of automatically and unconsciously, leaving man free to explore, to create, to think, and to feel.

http://cyberneticzoo.com/wp-co... [cyberneticzoo.com]

Re:I do not think it means what you think it means (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46279955)

So blind people are part-dog because they use a guide dog to augment their senses?

Re:I do not think it means what you think it means (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46280239)

You questions underlines your preconceived, and incorrect, notion of what cyborg means.

It also show your ignorance of genetics, because we share a lot of genes with dogs.
Guide dogs do not augment any senses. I don't think you understand how they work.

Re:I do not think it means what you think it means (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46280619)

They allow the blind person to used their senses of touch and hearing to interact with a trained dog to take advantage of its sense of sight.

Just like using your eyes and fingers to interact with a cellphone to take advantage of it.

How is it any different?

Re:I do not think it means what you think it means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46281589)

You questions underlines your preconceived, and incorrect, notion of what cyborg means.

No, YOUR posts underline YOUR preconceived, and totally incorrect, notion of what Cyborg means, as well as your complete lack of understanding of how language works. Just because some guy 100 years ago wanted it to mean one thing does NOT mean that the definition is the same today.
It's not. Cyborg means a man-machine integration, not simply a man using a machine as you are trying to claim.

Guide dogs do not augment any senses. I don't think you understand how they work.

No, you obviously are the one lacking understanding, and repeatedly posting your same incorrect drivel does not make you any less wrong.

Re:I do not think it means what you think it means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46280253)

no i think they are still cyborgs

and so is everything else on the planet with a nervous system that isnt also contained in a sensory deprivation tank.

Re:I do not think it means what you think it means (2)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about 8 months ago | (#46280283)

"For the exogenously extended organizational complex functioning as an integrated homeostatic system unconsciously, we propose the term 'Cyborg'.

Just for kicks, I put that sentence through The Hemingway App. [hemingwayapp.com] Their server has been down for some time now.

Re:I do not think it means what you think it means (1)

michaelwigle (822387) | about 8 months ago | (#46288047)

Just for failing to see my humor I shall counter your meaningless reference with another meaningless reference. From the great and un-erring Wikipedia!

A cyborg, short for "cybernetic organism", is a being with both organic and mechanical parts.

Take that!

!cyborg (4, Insightful)

snarfies (115214) | about 8 months ago | (#46279715)

That's like arguing that I am an ox because I use a tractor to plow my field rather than do it all by hand.

Re:!cyborg (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46283497)

You + tractor is not an ox, but a biomechanical entity used for plowing.
Cannot be considered cyborg, because there is nothing cybernetic in a tractor or you (assuming you are not equipped with a smartphone).

Re:!cyborg (1)

Keyboard Rage (3448471) | about 8 months ago | (#46284421)

You + tractor is not an ox, but a biomechanical entity used for plowing.

So a 'robox'?

Re:!cyborg (1)

zenith1111 (1465261) | about 8 months ago | (#46284561)

No, that's like arguing you're a plowing cyborg :)

Predictions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46279799)

People tend to think future will look as scifi writers and movies imagine. We want to make those ideas happen, but can't do it in such spectacular way, so we have to resorts to "becoming a cyborg by having a smart phone" way. The end-result is the same, even if you are disappointed. For example, telepathy, did not have to wait evolution to solve it for us, you can talk to anyone using that smart phone.

Yes! (2)

Slashdotgirl (912338) | about 8 months ago | (#46279803)

You will be Assimilated.

Regards
Slashdotgirl

Re:Yes! (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 8 months ago | (#46282479)

I am a competent 'cyborg' because I have a goddamn mouse and a goddamn keyboard, unlike all these incompetents pawing at sheets of glass.

sheep, not competent cyborg (2)

NikeHerc (694644) | about 8 months ago | (#46279875)

If you endlessly pursue screens and mobile devices, facebook, twitter, and similar accouterments, then you are a sheep, not a competent cyborg.

Re:sheep, not competent cyborg (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 8 months ago | (#46279905)

Yeah, a real cyborg would have wi-fi connectivity in the brain, be able to memorize and compute huge amounts of data as well as current computers, he would also have a built-in CNC, 3D printer, laser/plasma cutter and could dispense ice cubes in hot summer weather.

Wait, what was the topic again?

Yes I am... (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 8 months ago | (#46279891)

just look at my posting history.

A competent cyborg would f beta (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46279913)

Cyborgs can and will replace humans in most futuristic evolutionary scenarios,
humanity would cease to exist.

And all because of beta.
Humanity will not survive because of the inability to discuss /. articles in a comfy and user-friendly CMS.
So, maybe cyborgs made beta in order to bring humanity to extinction!

Me == Cyborg (2)

kwiecmmm (1527631) | about 8 months ago | (#46279935)

I would argue against being a cyborg, but my insulin pump and my constant blood sugar monitor tend to tell me that I am a cyborg.

And they also tell me not to eat cookies, but I mostly ignore that part of it.

It's a metaphor for the modern self. (2)

coldsalmon (946941) | about 8 months ago | (#46279945)

Many people have made the point that we are already cyborgs; the main prototypical example that comes to mind is Donna Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto [egs.edu] . She argues interestingly that "By the late twentieth century, our time, a mythic time, we are all chimeras, theorized and fabricated hybrids of machine and organism; in short, we are cyborgs." All the casual Marxism makes for fun reading too. She is making a metaphorical comparison, as is Mr. Martin in TFA, but it's a useful and interesting metaphor. No, I do not have electronics built into my body, but I also could not survive without technology. Thus, when I answer the question "Who am I," it is reasonable to extend the boundaries of my "self" beyond my physical body to encompass the technology that I rely upon to sustain my existence. It's also reasonable to include the data that I maintain and publish as part of my self-concept, and the technology that makes that possible.

Re:It's a metaphor for the modern self. (1)

coldsalmon (946941) | about 8 months ago | (#46280043)

In pertinent part: "...taking responsibility for the social relations of science and technology means refusing an anti-science metaphysics, a demonology of technology, and so means embracing the skilful task of reconstructing the boundaries of daily life, in partial connection with others, in communication with all of our parts. It is not just that science and technology are possible means of great human satisfaction, as well as a matrix of complex dominations. Cyborg imagery can suggest a way out of the maze of dualisms in which we have explained our bodies and our tools to ourselves."

Re:It's a metaphor for the modern self. (1)

bluegutang (2814641) | about 8 months ago | (#46284225)

But why limit it to modern technology? Is a knight a human-armor-horse hybrid? Is a caveman a human-spear hybrid? I can't imagine how describing things this way leads to a deeper level of understanding.

As a true cyborg knows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46280093)

Slashdot is dead.

Soylent is where the smart people hang out now.

Meh (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 8 months ago | (#46280117)

I'm not a cyborg, but I think I'm pretty competent; after all, I didn't design beta.

Re:Meh (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | about 8 months ago | (#46285021)

How do you know? You might have been drunk.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46289829)

Somebody might have been, but it wasn't me. If I was drunk enough to try that I'd be too drunk to be capable. Ooer, matron!

Project much? (1)

boristdog (133725) | about 8 months ago | (#46280147)

That leads to everything from atrophying social skills as face-to-face interactions decline to fatal encounters with garbage trucks as we wander, texting and oblivious, into traffic

Or you could, you know, not be a dumbass.

"Yes, I have a credit card right here, Miss Bunny" (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 8 months ago | (#46280155)

"I am a cyborg. You are pretty. Will you go out with me?"

"Uhhhh...no."

"Yeah get lost nerd."

"By the three laws of robotics, I must obey commands from humans. Goodbye."

Negative (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | about 8 months ago | (#46280177)

I am a meat popsicle.

Do not want (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 8 months ago | (#46280447)

I wouldn't want to be a cyborg, because in our society, being a cyborg means that you are truly and irresitibly a captive audience. You really DON'T want the internet hooked directly into your brain because there is no way to turn it off. What a hell it would be to be a cyborg. You'd be constantly bombarded with ads you don't want; information you don't want; and no way to unplug it.

Re:Do not want (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 8 months ago | (#46281085)

Oh God. DRM. In your brain.

Re:Do not want (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 8 months ago | (#46287133)

Imagine if you had a thought that was deemed illegal. Or that you had an idea that infringed on someone else's "itellectual property".

I like to ride public transit (2)

IgnorantMotherFucker (3394481) | about 8 months ago | (#46280633)

working out of my home as a consultant gets pretty lonely, so I like to ride the bus and train so I can meet new friends. But I recently started to be dismayed at how many people stare glued to their phones during their public transit rides. Typically it is half the passengers. Wouldn't we be better off if we spoke to our neighors? Just now I walked pass a kiosk in an electronics shop that had a screen with the text "Use Skype while watching your favorite movie". I regard using Skype while watching my favorite movie as the problem, not the solution. If one is to watch a movie, especially one's favorite, one lives a more fulfilling life if one gives it one's full attention. Similarly, if one uses Skype, both ends of the dialog get more out of it if both parties are not at the same time distracted by a movie. Read a book lately? I was a voracious reader when I was a kid, but these days it's everything I can do to read the damn newspaper. Books are out of the question.

Re:I like to ride public transit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46281611)

I hate most people. It is rare I find someone I don't find painful to interact with. Much of the day is spent faking it. Reading is sweet escape.

I suspect this feeling is more common than people may be comfortable with.

I also feel very bad for those who live in cities. F-that-noise.

Re:I like to ride public transit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46285535)

I disagree entirely. I use a phone to avoid talking to people around me. It's my commute time, I'd rather decide myself how to spend it, and that often means spending time online with my actual friends rather than spending time talking to strangers. All the rest is the same, I don't agree with most of your statements. I still read books, I do watch movies, and sometimes if it's a movie I'm not interested in I'll have it playing while I use my phone. Again, my time I'd rather decide myself how to spend it.

Cyborg status due to technological enhancement? (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 8 months ago | (#46280893)

Damn it, you're not a cyborg because you're standing on that step ladder.

Now come down off of it so I can beat you with my cane (which also doesn't make me a cyborg)!

Please tell me I'm dreaming! (1)

wdhowellsr (530924) | about 8 months ago | (#46281305)

Please tell me the browser cache is screwing with me. Please tell me that my wife wants to have sex more often ( ok that isn't going to happen, I have a 12 and 15 year old) Do we really have Slashdot.org back?

The Definition of 'Human.' (1)

Lairdykinsmcgee (2500904) | about 8 months ago | (#46281841)

An important element to this conversation is what we do and do not consider to make us human. There are plenty of people walking around with pacemakers, prosthetic limbs, and metal in their skeletal structures. We don't question their humanity, and yet by definition they are 'cyborg.' If I have a contact lens, or hell a surgically implanted visual augmentation system, will my humanity come into question? Will it change who I am? If I walk around with a device implanted in my stomach that tells me how many calories I've consumed and the nutritional breakdown of those calories, will I no longer me human? The definitions of 'cyborg, trans-humanism, post-humanism' aren't the only things at stake when we talk about this. The definition of 'human' is also at stake. Changes in technology have always been incremental enough for human beings to perceive them, adapt to them, and become comfortable with them. It might be, before we notice it, that we will have adjusted to content of 'cyborg' before e adjust to the term 'cyborg.'

Identify yourself? Are you human? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46281903)

Negative, I am a meat Popsicle.

I know plentyh of cyborgs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46282131)

They wear cochlear implants.

We are cyborgs, here are the facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46282255)

We wear sunglasses/prescription lenses / contacts. We wear clothes and use a variety of tools. Our brains have biologically changed to require computers to function properly as we have assimilated with computers to a degree. Have you tried doing 32x12 in your head lately? Bet you can't do it but your child self can. We can call our clothes and shoes exoskeletons, we can call glasses "augmented vision", and we can label anything we want but what it all comes down to is how our brain interfaces with these pieces of technology. If we become reliant on something, or if we seem to become "one' with technology I think that is enough to use the term "cyborg". But understanding this we are all cyborgs and have been for thousands of years but robots have existed for a long time too, it's just we don't normally consider certain things to be something unless it's like how hollywood describes them. But I guess if you really want to be a cyborg of the future you can pick up Google glass or something equivalent and even wear an exoskeleton since those aren't as expensive as they used to be.

Re:We are cyborgs, here are the facts (1)

blackest_k (761565) | about 8 months ago | (#46282359)

384 although my preference is (32 x10) + (32 x 2) I was figuring out cubic concrete say 4.5 * 5 * .1 2.25 but twice as deep 4.5 .15 deep 3.38 near enough. There is a lot of mental math that you can breakdown this way.
 

Better interfaces aren't everything. . . (1)

wardred (602136) | about 8 months ago | (#46282439)

I also posted this on O'reilly's site.

Edit: After thinking about it a bit, having the device as another "person" that everybody interacts with might be a way around somebody pulling out of a social interaction to check something on Google.

There are some things where a "better interface" would allow technology to slide into the background. A simple example is a good GPS unit with great voice recognition rather than having to type in a start and end destination. Maybe with a see through display on your car's HUD rather than on a small screen set somewhere out of the "normal" view of the driver so that all you have to do to see your next turn is change your focus point, rather than look away. Taken even further your car drives itself and you no longer have to worry about the road - you can interact, safely, with the passengers in the car, or over a cell phone.

That said, we're single taskers. If I'm composing a note to billy, be it with pen and paper, on a cell phone's screen, a keyboard, or a device capable of reading my thoughts so I don't have to talk, type, or write, I'll still be concentrating on that note. I may *try* to talk with people around me, but then both my conversation and my written note would obviously suffer.

There are a couple ideas that excite me, but neither really solves the problem of ignoring those around us in favor of our toys. One is the idea of an augmented mind via a neural interface. This is a long way off, but having the "hud" behind one's eyes, rather than something strapped on top of them is kind of exciting. Add in a computer as part of one's brain, and some wireless technology built into that, and I could see a realm where you get the best of the binary and analog worlds when it comes to thinking. The wireless bit would allow one to offload tasks that are too big for your built in computer, but just having the built in computer offers some cool vistas. There are just some calculations that computers are better at than humans, and being able to think in both modes would be quite exciting, I'd think. I don't know if we'd ever really get to the point where the silicon, for advanced interactions like programming or mathematics ever actually "feels" like a part of the brain, or if it'd just be a much faster interface than keyboard and monitor. I could see having sensors, like a compass, that the brain simply uses, similar to the interaction with our eyes or ears.

Another idea I like to kick around is a companion device along the lines of the movie "Her", with an optional robotic avatar ala Persocoms in "Chobits". I'm not talking the end game in either show where the computer surpasses us, but an actual companion device. It could be as small as a Furby, or as large as a human. (Technically it could be any sized, but I don't think we'd want anything bigger than that unless it's a vehicle we're riding in or a domicile.) Secretary, personal trainer, a more "natural" interaction with you and the people around you than typing in a screen, etc. You'd run into strange situations where an adult might become emotionally attached to the device. Asking something with even a hint of a personality about something that's available online could be a lot more natural than breaking off a conversation to look it up on one's phone, and a computer *would* be able to multi-task like that without breaking the illusion that the conversation is the center of its world. Japan's already looking into robots for elderly care, and if the robot had a bit of personality, it'd surely help there.

I guess if you combined the two ideas you could "ask" the computer side of you to Google for the currently tallest building in the world, or how close we are to getting long chains of carbon nano-tubes for a space elevator with a minimal amount of interruption and have it return the results to you. . . but even then, the regular gray matter would need to take some time out to send and receive the data from the computer half.

I think an external thing that's everyone could talk to, as a part of the conversation, rather than something one person does away from the conversation, could be more natural. Cell phones aren't that far from it. They have voice recognition and offline processing. Offload the computing and get a bit of rudimentary "personality" into it, put it into speaker phone mode, and it could join the conversation rather than taking people out of it.

Cyborgs since the stone age (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 8 months ago | (#46283827)

If we extend the definition to technology that is not tightly integrated with the body, then we've been cyborgs since we started using stone tools. Modern humans couldn't survive without hardware - I don't think that a clear line can be drawn between sticks and wheels, wheels and engines, or engines and microcomputers.

Back in the '80s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46284457)

Back in the '80s was the first human-level artificial intelligence project. One of the problems the burgeoning intelligence had was Holistic extrapolation: That the state of one part of person usually extended to the rest of the body. eg. If my left foot is in the Antarctic, then my right foot probably is too. If my left foot is 45 years old, then my right foot is too. A further problem was not extending the solution to tools: If my hand holds an electric razor, it still operates separate from my hand.

The author is arguing that 'thinking' devices which we connect to via touch, sound, sight can be a part of us. But for the most part, these devices do not augment reality in a real-time way. That is, they do not improve the ability of a individual to survive and manipulate the world around that individual. We could give an individual a course of steroids, memory training, speed reading, a slide rule, and Curtis tabulator, an encyclopedia, carrier pigeons. Such a low-tech toolbox will achieve at a much slower rate the same results as the latest iShiny. We certainly wouldn't argue that a person equipped with these unthinking devices integrate them into the body.

"Unease" is not due to my (not) being a cyborg (1)

twocows (1216842) | about 8 months ago | (#46285513)

It's because the "internet of things" is a terrible idea that, for a very marginal benefit, opens up tons of things to security issues where before there were none. Also, I'm not a cyborg.
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