Cyborgs and their place in the future

Why we should start thinking of cyborgs as more closely related to people than to their fully-robotic counterparts

When you hear the word ‘cyborg’, is your mind unearthing images of the Terminator giving you a thumbs-up as he sinks into a vat of magma-hot steel in an underground Skynet factory? Or how about Blade Runner?

Cyborgs, by definition are not definitively classified as robots, so disassociate those fictional scenes from your living reality, post haste! (Unless you’re writing a novel or making a video game about these beings. Then, by all means, blur the lines that define us. It’s your dream you’re living!)


While the Oxford dictionary remains outdated, listing a cyborg as a “fictional or hypothetical person physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body”, Merriam-Webster has little to say on the subject, one woman saw fit to contribute to the comment section of the definition while classifying herself as a cyborg.


Cyborgs of the future

Kevin Warwick, Robert Spence, Jason Barnes, Neil Harbisson, and Moon Ribas. What do these names have in common? These are the names of future. And there are thousands of other people out there, like them, who have robotic limbs or other mechanical devices working in tandum with their otherwise organic bodies to help them achieve their transhuman needs.

kevin-warwickKevin Warwick – The first living cyborg, implanted a microchip in his left arm to send feedback to a computer in order to further studies in the advancement of mechanical limbs to help people with disabilities.




rob-spenceRobert Spence – A filmmaker with one prosthetic eye that he uses to shoot films, such as the making of the video game, Deus Ex among other short films and documentaries.




neil-harbissonNeil Harbisson – This man hears color. After dealing with color blindness for most of his life, he incorporated an antenna system embedded into his skull to give him the ability to hear color, as a regular human might listen to music.




Moon Ribas – A dancer and choreographer, currently in a relationship with Neil Harbisson, who uses an implant in her arm to detect seismic current and incorporate into her dance routines.


These are just a few people who have designated themselves as cyborgs, and we’re sure to learn about more as we see the future of technology becomes our present reality in the coming years.

Cyborg Nest

Cyborg Nest is the brainchild of Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas. Together, they’ve created the North Sense, an implant that allows you to feel the pull of the Earth’s magnetic north pole.

Visit Cyborg Nest’s blog to read stories from real people who have the North Sense.

As you can see, the term “cyborg” refers to a very broad definition of augmented human beings, depending on who is claiming to have additional mechanical attributes.

What do you think? Which would be your sixth sense of choice?


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