Our Cyborg Destiny: Transcending Evolution to Survive and Thrive
Astrophysicists Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline coined the term cyborg in 1960, defining a cyborg as a “self-regulating, man-machine system”.
Clynes and Kline believed that attempting to recreate terrestrial conditions in space was inefficient and ineffective, like a fish taking a little cup of water with it to try to live on dry land. Instead, they proposed that astronauts should use medicine and technology to help them adapt to extraterrestrial living environments. Astronauts would then be able to travel longer and farther, and explore cosmic terrain, independent of simulated, earth-like conditions on spaceships or in spacesuits.
Augmenting or replacing default physiological and mental controls would enable humans to sustain life in any environment. Clynes and Kline predicted that astronauts would eventually be able to breathe without the earth’s atmosphere—or not breathe at all!—survive sub- or super-human temperatures and pressures, live without (or with minimal) water or food, modify their heart rates, counteract the muscular atrophy and psychosis caused by inactivity, induce prolonged wakefulness or slumber, and much more. These astronauts would become cyborgs, humans enhanced through all means devisable by our intelligence.
It’s not so outlandish. Since the homo sapiens emerged at least 100,000 years ago as the latest link in the evolutionary chain, our human brains have invented ways of evading danger and overcoming disease, to transcend the natural shortcomings of our evolved bodies. The last century, in particular, has brought a critical mass of miraculous breakthroughs, hurtling us with ever increasing speed beyond evolution, and towards our destiny as cyborgs.
In just over a decade, the smart phone, genome sequencing, 3D printing of human body parts (even brain tissue), the advent of smart prosthetics, other neural-feedback devices, and nanotechnology have swept the developed world.
Our cyborg future has nothing to do with horror stories like The Terminator or The Matrix. It’s really about saving lives, making our quality of life better, and adapting to our changing planet.
Click here to read The Diabetic Cyborg article.