Humans 2.0: The cyborg generation

Tanoya Poulsen

Humans can still improve themselves. We don't need to wait for evolution anymore.
Humans can still improve themselves. We don’t need to wait for evolution anymore. (Illustration | Tribune News Service)

As a kid, I read mythology—mostly Greek–Cyborg was one of my favorite X-men and The Power Rangers were one of my favorite after-school TV shows.

These childhood characters all emphasized the idea that one could be more than human without, necessarily, giving up their humanity. I was enthralled with this idea. I still am. Now, as an adult, my musings have taken a more science-based turn.

Neil Harbisson—a real-life cyborg—is an artist born completely colorblind that can hear colors. On his head he wears an electronic eye which can perceive colors and translate them to the musical scale.

At first, he had to memorize which colors belonged to which sounds, but Harbisson is now so acclimated to this device that he can even dream in color.

Harbisson has become so passionate about cyborgs that he even co-founded The Cyborg Foundation in 2010 along with Moon Ribas.

The Cyborg Foundation helps people become cyborgs. According to their website, this is done by “extending their senses by applying to the organism.” The foundation is based in New York and works to research, create and promote all things cyborg.

The most basic definition of a cyborg or bionic is mechanics integrated into the body to augment a sense. Other definitions have to do with the reason—voluntarily or those who are obligated.

Cyborgs have the same definition as bionic. What’s the difference? Well, one (bionic) is an adjective and the other is a noun (cyborg), also–from a random café and workplace polling—it’s the sound of the two words.

Bionic invokes the idea of a superhuman, like mythological gods. It has a softer sound to it, creating a sense of still being human, just better. Cyborg sounds like a computer program created by an evil genius.

It sounds harsher and invokes images of a human/machine hybrid that has lost its sense of humanity.