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September Is Cyborg Month

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the please-participate-in-the-form-of-a-bot dept.

Media 118

Snowmit writes "In May 1960, Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline presented a paper called 'Drugs, Space, and Cybernetics.' The proceedings of the symposium were published in 1961, but, before that, an excerpt of Clynes & Kline's paper appeared in the September issue of Astronautics magazine (issue 13), entitled Cyborgs and Space [PDF]. Aside from a mention in the New York Times, that's is the first time the word appears in print. This month is the 50th anniversary of that article. To commemorate, a group of writers and artists have gotten together to create 50 Post About Cyborgs. Over the course of the month, there will be essays, fiction, links to great older material, comics, and even a song. We're going to talk about Daleks, IEDs, Renaissance memory palaces, chess computers, prosthetic imagination, Videodrome, mutants, sports, and maybe the Bible. To kick things off, Kevin Kelly wrote this essay arguing that we've been cyborgs all along."

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118 comments

Sept 18 (3, Funny)

sohp (22984) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556778)

September is Cyborg month, and the 18th is Talk Like a Pirate Day. What does that mean?

http://zenisstupid.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/cyborg-pirate-ninja-jesus.jpg [zenisstupid.com]

Re:Sept 18 (2, Funny)

greymond (539980) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557228)

Ninjas won't have a chance against Cyborg Pirates!

Re:Sept 18 (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560234)

I'm a cyborg (I have a device implanted in my left eye), but I try not to infringe copyright unless absolutely necessary, and I've never commited mayhem on the high seas.

I do talk like a pirate sometimes. Shiver me timbers!

Re:Sept 18 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33557698)

That means we get to hoist the Jolly Roger above our Salem Class Destroyers before having them walk inland to raid the base and get its leet loot. And then hack the Black Sun to torrent all the UEF's copyrighted works through the hyperspace nodes.

Arrrr!

Zombie Jesus (2, Funny)

Henriok (6762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558678)

as Jesus was a zombie, wouldn't that be a cyborg-pirate-ninja-zombie-jesus?

Re:Sept 18 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33559846)

Yarrr it be Sept 19th ya landlubber!

say what again? (3, Informative)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556842)

Aside from a mention in the New York Times, that's is the first time the word appears in print.

So the point is to celebrate the second time that the term was used?

Re:say what again? (4, Informative)

Snowmit (704081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557208)

The mention in the NYT is a reporter reporting on the talk that Clynes and Kline gave. So yeah, I figured the one where they actually publicly define the term would be the better anniversary.

IED's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33556856)

new there was some military connection
no thanks have a nice day

Cybauorg! (2, Funny)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556942)

If a cyborg is a cybernetic organism, that makes the likes of Terminators cyborgs. Daleks and Cybermen, and the Borg, are cybernetically augmented organisms, which I quoined "cybauorgs".

Re:Cybauorg! (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 3 years ago | (#33556992)

What's the difference between a cybernetic organism and a cybernetically augmented organism?
Does not the one entail the other?
And,as an aside, what's "quoined"?

Re:Cybauorg! (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557104)

Rhymes with coined, meaning to create a new word. A cybernetic organism is a life form constructed, like a Terminator, while an augmented one, in my opinion, is naturally born, but has later had something like a robot arm attached.

Re:Cybauorg! (2, Informative)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557294)

Ah, whether the basic part is built or born.

I'm pretty sure that "to create a new word" is "to coin a phrase" and not "to qoin a phrase",
as in "minting a new coin". Unless of course "qoined" was in fact the new word you were creating ; ).

Re:Cybauorg! (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557584)

Couldnt remember if it wasa spelling mistake I read once, or if there was some British spelling shenanigan going on.

Re:Cybauorg! (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 3 years ago | (#33559950)

Late reply : ).
I am almost sure qoined is a spelling mistake.
As other posters have pointed out a cyborg is based on an organism, a born, living creature cybernetically enhanced. The Terminator would be a biobot or biochine, a biologically enhanced robot or machine.

Re:Cybauorg! (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560070)

Qoined isn't English - it can't be as there is no U after the Q.

Quoined [thefreedictionary.com] is a word, though it has nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Re:Cybauorg! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33557342)

"coined" means to create a new word. "quoined" is a spelling mistake.

Re:Cybauorg! (4, Insightful)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557562)

No, no, no.

A Terminator is NOT a cyborg. A cyborg is an ORGANISM which has been ENHANCED or even REPLACED by cybernetic machinery. The key is that the original entity was a living biologically based organism.

A Terminator is merely a ROBOT covered by an organic covering. The covering is no more significant than if the robot were just wearing clothes. It's just covering. The machine underneath is not a living organism and never was.

Just because James Cameron doesn't know his technology, the word cyborg has been debased beyond all recognition. It's probably a waste of time to try to correct it any more, but I like wasting my time.

Re:Cybauorg! (2, Informative)

Snowmit (704081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558316)

You might be pleased to know that there's a contribution in the pipeline that will argue along these lines.

Re:Cybauorg! (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33559074)

We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Except for Master of Transhuman. We gonna kick THAT bitches ass to the kerb.

A cyborg is an ORGANISM which has been ENHANCED or even REPLACED by cybernetic machinery.

Okay, so they took a human, and REPLACED all the squishy internals with machinery. How is that NOT a cyborg ???

Re:Cybauorg! (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 3 years ago | (#33559130)

So you're saying that a cyborg is a path-based, rather than a state-based, definition?

So, no matter how many human parts you added to Data, he'd still be an android, but if you replaced Bareil Antos' whole brain with positronics he'd be a cyborg?

Re:Cybauorg! (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560500)

No, no, no.

A Terminator is NOT a cyborg. A cyborg is an ORGANISM which has been ENHANCED or even REPLACED by cybernetic machinery. The key is that the original entity was a living biologically based organism..

So... if you wear a wristwatch, and prescription lenses, or contacts... or even sunglasses, and... carry a cell phone, or wear a belt to hold up your trousers, or have a pin in the ankle you damaged as an adolescent, or are an amputee with a prosthetic, or any combination of these or similar enhancements, you are no longer merely human. You, sir, are a cyborg. Halo save us all.

Re:Cybauorg! (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560906)

No, no, no.

A Terminator is NOT a cyborg. A cyborg is an ORGANISM which has been ENHANCED or even REPLACED by cybernetic machinery. The key is that the original entity was a living biologically based organism..

So... if you wear a wristwatch, and prescription lenses, or contacts... or even sunglasses, and... carry a cell phone, or wear a belt to hold up your trousers, or have a pin in the ankle you damaged as an adolescent, or are an amputee with a prosthetic, or any combination of these or similar enhancements, you are no longer merely human. You, sir, are a cyborg. Halo save us all.

Well I wouldn't go that far. Actually I always thought of it as having a not easily removable piece of technology that replaces or enhances a piece of your body. So I wouldn't say that wearing glasses makes you cyborg, that is more using a tool to enhance your vision. If you had implanted lenses so you could see then that is more along the lines of cyborg. amputee with prosthetic definitely counts. I would consider myself one having my insulin pump connected to me. It always gets a bit interesting on the fringe cases.

Re:Cybauorg! (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558568)

quoined

Isn't that the stuff that lets you claim that the only reason you drink all those gin and tonics is to stave off malaria?

Re:Cybauorg! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560284)

The dictionary definition of cyborg IS an organism whose bodily functions are augmented by an implanted device.

I have been assimilated. Resistance was not only futile, I was willingly implanted. Best $1,000 I ever spent.

Emotion Chip... (1)

PmanAce (1679902) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557026)

What do cyborgs sound like when their emotion chips are turned on?

Cyborg #1: "All your base are belong to us biatches!!!1!11!!!"

Cyborg #2: "Duuuuude, that is so 1991, ugh..."

Cyborg #1: "Eat my shorts then!"

Cyborg #2: "..."

ummm... wha? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557266)

As a loyal slashdotter I have carefully read the summary and nothing else. If I understood TFS this isn't about the paper itself... and the New York Times and not this article was the first to use the word in print. What is this celebrating again? The second time cyborg appeared in print?

Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (4, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557268)

The idea is interesting, and it's certainly true that if all technology were removed, including stone and bone implements, humans would have a much tougher time surviving. But there are areas of the world where we could survive without handmade weapons or fire. We're not very well-equipped for such an existence, but we're not completely helpless.

One argument the author makes repeatedly which makes no sense to me is the notion that cooking provides an "external stomach" which pre-digests our food. There are some foods that are unsafe to eat without being cooked, because of disease that they could be carrying, but in general very little of what we eat MUST be cooked, or is even harder to digest without cooking. Raw meat is just as nutritious and as easily digestible as cooked meat, it just doesn't taste as good (with some exceptions). Raw vegetables are often more nutritious than cooked vegetables.

There's no argument that if we were to have all technology/tools removed and even lose our ability to create primitive tools the human carrying capacity of the earth would be at most a few million, maybe only a few hundred thousand. So I guess you could say that 99.99% of us are "cyborgs".

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557290)

We have to boil unprocessed water. That on its own makes fire essential.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (2, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557378)

No we don't. At least, not as a species. Just because I can't drink the water in Mexico without getting horribly sick doesn't mean that 'homo sapiens' broadly construed as a species can't. Exhibit A being the indigenous population that survives just fine drinking the water there.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557458)

You can't drink the water in the USA without getting horribly sick. Go out into the woods and drink some spring water. You're at risk of getting some nasty bacteria.

Oh, and once you're far enough south in Mexico, Mexicans don't drink the water [cancunsouth.com] . And the times they can it's only because MEXICO ALSO PURIFIES THEIR WATER! [articlesbase.com]
 
Most Homo Sapiens cannot safely drink water that hasn't been purified anymore. Especially standing water. Flowing water is lower risk, but still not a guarantee.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33557500)

Heh. You should move on to your next point - that gasoline is obviously essential because how else would we drive to the supermarket to get food.

The first thing to do when you find yourself in a hole is stop digging.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557532)

So, your entire argument boils down to this: Thanks to the sanitation implications of high density settlements, we need fire (and by extension technology) to survive?

Never mind that those high density settlements were only ever possible because of technology?

Even with those links, the inability to drink the water has nothing to do with humans, and everything to do with sanitation in dense settlements--which would collapse anyway without technology. The OPs point was that humans can survive without technology--not that we can maintain our current technology dependent lifestyles without technology.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560066)

The OPs point was that humans can survive without technology

I think it would be wiser to say that "humans could, at one time survive without technology".

At least in the so-called "civilized world", we don't seem to be selecting for "hardiness" these days.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557564)

Go out into the woods and drink some spring water.

Much rather drink the delicious organic water from the Cascade [wikipedia.org] brooks than the crap that flows out of metropolitan taps. Would you rather drink a few drops of deer piss, or do you enjoy putting pharmaceutical waste, fluoride, heavy metals, and who knows what else into your body?

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33557756)

Let me start by stating a fact: You're an idiot.
And yes, I would rather drink water that has fluoride, because that's actually good for you. There are more heavy metals and waste and deer piss in that garbage "organic water" you're talking about. Plus, there is really no such thing as organic water, water is water, h2o, that's it. And there is no pharmaceutical waste or heavy metals in tap water, it's cleaner than your garbage outdoors "organic water". And a few parts per billion is no big deal, does nothing, cleaner than what's in unprocessed water...

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557882)

Your kids are going to thank you for all of your Lysol-spraying when they're allergic to peanuts and chocolate. I hope they enjoy living life in plastic bubbles.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

Troggie87 (1579051) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558188)

Have you ever wondered why the rates of things like allergies are skyrocketing? People don't expose themselves to nature. I grew up on a farm, and I can tell you with certainty that no farm child in had hay allergies. In fact, allergies of any kind were rare.

Isolating yourself in a city drinking nothing but treated water in a perfectly sterile setting is weakening you, slowly making you dependent on that environment for survival. That's just reality, and honestly it would almost certainly be healthier for people to expose themselves to nature and gain the immunity.

There is nothing unhealthy in fresh water provided its from an untainted source. A mountain stream, or a fresh spring, will in most cases be perfectly safe to drink from. Especially in places with lots of limestone, as the stone itself is porous and filters the water (In case you don't know, this is much of the reason why the wells drilled for country homes don't have to be pumped full of chemical. Safely nature-filtered). This isn't foolproof, water paracites are still possible, but far, far less likely the smaller the body of water and the further from civilization you get.

Unfortunately, most open-air water sources aren't safe anymore simply because of urban waste, agricultural runoff, and in some places industrial mining, but in an ideal environment water isn't very dangerous (The Rockies are still pretty pristine, for example). Hence the reason Native Americans could drink their water, while Europe had to drink beer or risk death. (This assumes you know not to drink stagnant water of course.)

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557572)

Go out into the woods and drink some spring water. You're at risk of getting some nasty bacteria.

If it's actually spring water, come directly from being filtered through hundreds of feet of rock, you'll be just fine. If it's flowed on the surface for any distance at all, then you should purify it.

I often drink from mountain springs when backpacking. I carry a filter and/or purification tablets for drinking water from streams and rivers, but I don't bother to purify spring water.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

frehe (6916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558022)

You can't drink the water in the USA without getting horribly sick. Go out into the woods and drink some spring water. You're at risk of getting some nasty bacteria.

The water where in USA, which is a rather large and diverse country? And at how big of a risk?

I'm not afraid to drink unpurified water from streams in the woods here in Sweden (and no, I don't include the stream in the wood next to the local petrochemical industry in that), and have managed to do it for over 30 years without getting noticeably sick from it, as have many others.

On the other hand, I can't breathe the air here in Sweden without getting nasty viruses, as my current common cold, and the many similar ones I've had before it, clearly shows. But I still don't have any plans to start breathing my daily air through a filtered mask or from a tank.

Risk vs. reward...

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33558294)

*You* can't drink the water in *most* of the USA without getting horribly sick. *You* also could not live in *most* of the USA without the benefits of technology, climate control, gas-powered transportation and efficient and centralized food and energy distribution system.

Which says nothing about the ability of homo sapiens to populate the area in a lower density - as it did before - or of surviving on a lower threshold of resource consumption - as it continues to do so every day, outside of your comfortable suburbia.

I actually don't disagree with the conclusion of the linked article - modern society is a society of augmented humans, i.e.: cyborgs. But your argument is frankly a stupid argument.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#33559828)

Most Homo Sapiens cannot safely drink water that hasn't been purified anymore.

Purification is needed isn't because Homo Sapiens can't survive without, but because we have to many people and to little natural grown resources. Some hundred thousand years ago you had far fewer humans and thus could simply go around and search for wild growing food and clean water, if you try that with thousands or millions of people in a rather small area, you quickly have exhausted all natural grown resources.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557558)

Exhibit A being the indigenous population that survives just fine drinking the water there.

No, they don't. I lived in Mexico for two years, and except in locations where the water is purified (or from a spring), Mexicans do not drink their water without boiling or otherwise purifying it. That's the reason that Mexicans drink so much water with fruit juice in it -- the flavoring from the fruit covers the flat taste of water that has been boiled.

That said, that doesn't mean there is no naturally-occurring pure water in Mexico or elsewhere. There's quite a bit. Not enough to support our needs, but plenty for a much smaller population.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

dullnev (999335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557768)

You make boiling water sound like an absolute necessity, I don't know what part of the world you are from but I have personally drunk unboiled water from rivers, lakes, snow and somehow survived. In other words you are full of shit

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (2, Insightful)

daveime (1253762) | more than 3 years ago | (#33559120)

Better to be "full of shit" than having it running out of you like a waterfall.

As someone who has had Amoebiasis (from tap water no less), and spent pretty much 3 weeks on antibiotics sat in the bathroom doubled up in pain and everything I either ate or drank passing right through my system and out the other end in 5 minutes, I can tell you it's no joke.

Still, you go one drinking your deer piss and whatnot ... I'll stick with my purified drinking water.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#33559852)

Still, you go one drinking your deer piss and whatnot ... I'll stick with my purified drinking water.

Not all water sources in nature are the same. Just because you can drink the water from a spring, doesn't mean you can also drink the water from the a puddle where a dead dear is floating in.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (2, Interesting)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557328)

AFAIK, cooked meat actually is a lot easier to digest. Also, the argument that raw vegetables are more nutritious ignored the fact that the nutrients tend to be more bioavailable after cooking. So, while cooking may destroy some nutrients, it also unlocks a lot more so that your body generally winds up being better nourished by the "nutrient-poor" cooked version. See how long you can live on raw potato if you don't believe me. I imagine you'd give up pretty quick. (Even ignoring the taste.) OTOH, a human can live for a decent amount of time on cooked potatoes.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557628)

AFAIK, cooked meat actually is a lot easier to digest.

Cite? I can't find any support for that idea, and can find some apparently-respectable arguments that say the opposite, that heating meat decreases digestibility.

See how long you can live on raw potato if you don't believe me. I imagine you'd give up pretty quick. (Even ignoring the taste.) OTOH, a human can live for a decent amount of time on cooked potatoes.

Again, do you have any reference for this? I can't find any sources that indicate that raw potatoes don't provide the same nutrients as cooked. Plenty that talk about how most of the nutrients are in the skin, of course.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (3, Informative)

rpresser (610529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557708)

The potato in the human diet [3.ly] , By Jennifer A. Woolfe, Susan V. Poats, International Potato Center, p 104.

The major part of potato carbohydrate is present as starch. The digestibility of cooked and uncooked starches from various foods including potato has been reviewed by Dreher et al. (1984), who placed potato starch in the group of least digestible food starches. There have been various experiments in which raw potato starch was fed to humans and caused symptoms such as violent stomach cramps (McCay et al., 1975), and such preparations cause caecal hyperotrophy and death in rats (El-Harith et al., 1976). The latter effects were subsequently attributed to the resistance of potato starch to digestion by pancreatic amylase (Walker & El-Harith, 1978), and were lost when the starch was gelatinized.

Cooking either peeled or unpeeled potatoes increases the digestibility of potato starch. The results of a study in vitro with pancreatic amylase into the effects of cooking potatoes on starch digestibility (Hellendoorn et al., 1970) are shown in Figure 4.5. Raw starch was barely digested; partly cooked starch from potatoes heated in water at 70 C for 20 min and cooled immediately was incompletely digestible, and the digestibility of the starch increased with cooking time.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

rpresser (610529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557760)

When it comes to meat, however, the literature seems to support your contention that the tissues of raw meat are equally if not more digestible than cooked meats in most cases. However, raw meat is sometimes harder to chew, which can make a sizeable difference. (Sometimes it is not harder to chew; it depends on the meat. Organ meats are not as tough as muscle meat; chicken is not as tough as beef.) If the calories expended in chewing up the meat exceed the digestion benefits of the raw meat, then cooking the meat is still an advantage. And it is always an advantage for those whose teeth are not strong. Finally, cooking meat can render it safer by killing bacteria; the digestibility of the tissues is not of much concern to someone dying from trichinosis.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558102)

I'm curious where you got this from...

Does it also explain why sushi is so tasty?

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (2, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558138)

Finally, cooking meat can render it safer by killing bacteria; the digestibility of the tissues is not of much concern to someone dying from trichinosis.

Certainly. I mentioned in my original post that some foods need to be cooked in order to be safe to eat.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33558154)

Well, I also at one point picked up the notion that cooked meat provides better access to energy than raw meat, and that this may have contributed to our advancement as a species (fire => cooked meat => sudden energy availability boost => less time spend on foraging for food => more time for socializing/culture/science/etc).

It seems to be supported by wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_of_fire_by_early_humans [wikipedia.org]

The cooking of meat, as evident from burned and blackened mammal bones, makes the meats easier to eat and easier to attain the nutrition from proteins by making the meat itself easier to digest.[20][21] The amount of energy needed to digest cooked meat is less than raw meat, and cooking gelatinizes collagen and other connective tissues as well, "opens up tightly woven carbohydrate molecules for easier absorption."[21] Cooking also kills parasites and food poisoning bacteria.

[20] http://www.digonsite.com/drdig/earlyman/33.html [digonsite.com] (what the hell kind of reference is this)
[21] http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/316/5831/1558.pdf [sciencemag.org] (paywall)

I'd like some better references myself too..

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#33559940)

Cite?

The podcast episode Richard Wrangham - Rediscovering Fire [pointofinquiry.org] discusses the issue. As far as I remember basically cooking makes food easier to chew and increases its calories. Thus we get more energy, while at the same time saving a lot of time from the chewing.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560350)

Interesting. Google turns up a lot of articles that indicate that Wrangham's hypothesis is not widely accepted by other anthropologists, but perhaps that's because it's a new idea. I'm not completely convinced, though it bears watching.

I should mention, because some of the responses to my posts seem to make some incorrect assumptions about me, that I'm not a "raw foodist", nor do I have any inclination that way. My argument wasn't that cooking is bad, or that raw foods are healthier, just that cooking may not be necessary for survival.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1, Insightful)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557800)

There's no argument that if we were to have all technology/tools removed and even lose our ability to create primitive tools the human carrying capacity of the earth would be at most a few million, maybe only a few hundred thousand. So I guess you could say that 99.99% of us are "cyborgs".

If you make the definition of "cyborg" so broad as to include any basic tool use (as Kevin Kelly does) then the term loses it's usefulness, IMHO. It's actually pretty hard to define the word. I'd want to include active prosthetics such as myoelectric limbs and cochlear implants but not artificial limbs that aren't directly controlled by the nervous system or sensors that merely modify, filter or enhance stimulus for an existing sense organ (I don't think wearing night-vision goggles makes you a cyborg). I think the term is most useful to describe people who have been enhanced beyond the human norm, not merely those using technology to replace functions they individually don't have.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33560750)

I'd want to include active prosthetics such as myoelectric limbs and cochlear implants but not artificial limbs that aren't directly controlled by the nervous system or sensors that merely modify, filter or enhance stimulus for an existing sense organ (I don't think wearing night-vision goggles makes you a cyborg).

So you'd limit "cyborg" to only those systems that include a direct machine-nerve interface? Seems pretty restrictive. You'd even exclude neuromancer-like mirrorshades, since they're essentially surgically implanted night vision goggles. You'd exclude most of the existing powered prostheses, which are controlled by shoulder or stump motion. No myoelectric limbs have a direct neural interface, but use EMG (if they use any biopotential signal at all), which is a neural signal amplified by residual muscle. You'd exclude people who 'see' by mapping a video signal to their tongue.

I agree that tool use seems overly inclusive. Cyborg level modifications should definitely not require the active attention of the user to remain attached. They should be something attached for extended periods - not necessarily surgically attached, but certainly something that is worn for hours and not just in a special environment. ie: not night vision goggles, but yes goggles with light intensification that automatically adjusts to the surroundings. It seems like there should be an actively powered aspect, although I would include shoulder-powered prosthetic arms, or air-powered mechanical devices where the user compresses his own air.

Most importantly, I think the interface between the user and the device should be seamless enough that the user incorporates the device into his sense of self. People will definitely do this with tools, but only after acclimatization. (think about a trackball or thumbwheel - you don't think about moving your fingers on the ball, you think about moving the cursor on the screen) This puts a much lower threshold on "cyborg" than DBI, but if someone tells you his prosthesis feels like a part of him, I think that's a pretty good threshold for considering him a man-machine composite.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558072)

One argument the author makes repeatedly which makes no sense to me is the notion that cooking provides an "external stomach" which pre-digests our food.

To put it simply, it makes no sense to you because you hold false beliefs and it doesn't seem to have occurred to you that you just might be wrong.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558130)

One argument the author makes repeatedly which makes no sense to me is the notion that cooking provides an "external stomach" which pre-digests our food.

To put it simply, it makes no sense to you because you hold false beliefs and it doesn't seem to have occurred to you that you just might be wrong.

That's a very content-free rebuttal.

Re:Interesting premise, but flawed arguments (1)

astar (203020) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560736)

I look around for some links, but to think that meat uncooked is as energy efficient as meat cooked is just wrong. Beyond that, there is no lower animal that prefers uncooked to cooked. I expect this last claim has not been exhaustively tested, but for apes it has been tested. Hah, this was trivial to find:http://pdfcast.org/pdf/cooking-and-grinding-reduces-the-cost-of-meat-digestion

There is a particular difficulty in your general "we do not quite need tech"..Last I heard "we" had fire 4 meg years ago, based on sooted rocks. And through cooking, we changed our morphology. It seems to me to be difficult to argue that that with which we created ourselves is unnecessary to our future. But I liked your numbers. I guess we can say the anti-tech people are genocidal maniacs?

Some of us are (4, Informative)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557270)

For all the sci-fi fantasy and the "we all are" cyborg nonsense, some of us living among you ARE cyborgs. Maybe not as exciting as a Borgified Picard, but without computer implants and mechanical augmentation we wouldn't be alive (and some have advantages as a result).

Re:Some of us are (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557414)

All the comments as of this time have ignored the obvious: Facebook, iPhones and whatnot.

Technology satisfies emotional needs as well as physical ones. Humans require both.

Re:Some of us are (1)

Bodrius (191265) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558338)

No they don't.

Modern humans do. Arguably, 'healthy' humans do. But humans, as a species, have managed to do with far more traumatized lives on average than the typical iphone user does.

If you have time to worry about whether your facebook updates are up-to-date, you seriously do not represent the minimum requirement of survival for the human species.

You may argue that social interaction is enriching to people overall, but if your argument is that humans *need* such things, that they *require* it, then you're as out of touch with the overall human experience as French aristocrats were before the Terror.

Re:Some of us are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33557450)

Hearing aids, pacemakers, and prosthetic limbs come to mind as good examples. Heck, people even have artificial hearts now.

Re:Some of us are (1)

Bodrius (191265) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558330)

People keep bringing up the latest augmentations (mobile phones, apps et al) - but I still find the most compelling example, by virtue of lasting evidence, optical prosthetics (i.e.: eyeglasses).

For centuries we have been able to enable a large segment of the population to be functional and contribute to society while being fully dependent on technological prosthetics.

As a myopic, I'm acutely aware that my whole ancestral line has benefited from our ability to compensate physical disabilities through technical ingenuity. After all, if I'm legally blind to drive without lenses, I'm sure I wouldn't have been of much help hunting mastodons.

And I'm seriously skeptical any intellectual capacity would have saved my skin when I stuck a spear on the chieftain's head because he was indistinguishable from any other animal +/- 1 meters of cubic area...

I am on Acid (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33557488)

I am on Acid right now, I am a fucking Cyborg.

oh really? (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33557548)

I thought it was Android month. Could be "people who like to give fish weed" month for all cared

Re:This is the only cyborg I care about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33559060)

I always find it amazing that she is 29 years old.

dfbgnhj (-1, Offtopic)

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I'm a cyborg. Have been for years. (1)

Toasterboy (228574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558006)

Yep. I have dental implants (titanium/ceramic composite teeth screwed into the skull) and a titanium plate with six screws in my arm. It may not be electronic, but I do have artificial replacement parts.

So there. Cyborg.

Re:I'm a cyborg. Have been for years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33559070)

Those parts are not strictly cybernetic - they do not have their own technological control systems. Now a pacemaker, that is cybernetics in every sense of the word.

Re:I'm a cyborg. Have been for years. (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#33559522)

Well, 'cyber' doesn't just mean artificial, it refers to computer-like components. So you just have to get a cochlear implant or a pacemaker and you'll be a literal cyborg just like in the movies.

*Yawn* (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558048)

"Aside from a mention in the New York Times, that's is the first time the word appears in print. This month is the 50th anniversary of that article."

In other words, it's not the first time the word appears in print - but we're celebrating as if it were anyhow.

"To commemorate, a group of writers and artists have gotten together to create 50 Post About Cyborgs."

And why, exactly, am I supposed to care that a bunch of random bloggers I've never heard of are using a barely readable website to publish their opinions on cyborgs?

Am I a cyborg? (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558178)

I wear glasses and have a cochlear implant, so I've been mechanically enhanced. Does that make me a cyborg, or are those two enhancements too ordinary? What about a pacemaker?

Re:Am I a cyborg? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560304)

Well, I wear contact lenses, but I'm still waiting for them to be equipped with infra-red nightsight, or even better, x-ray vision.

Cyborg = Extended Phenotype (1)

rlseaman (1420667) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558238)

Judging from the article and "50 Posts" web site, this group's definition of "Cyborg" is broad enough to be equivalent to Richard Dawkins' notion of the "Extended Phenotype" ( http://amzn.to/cbSmTo [amzn.to] or many online hits ). Or perhaps to a second order recursion of the EP. The reach of our genes extends outside our somatic selves to the mechanisms we build with our tool-wielding hands. These mechanisms (perhaps themselves crypto-biological) are then candidates for tinkering within our soma - a prosthetic hand, for instance.

may 1961 subtracted from september 2010 is... (1)

bandmassa (951387) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558268)

Published first in May 1961? Isn't this 8 months too early for the 50th anniversary? I should know, I just turned 49 last Thursday and I was born in 1961.

Drugs, Sex, and Rock n' Roll (1)

Acetylane_Rain (1894120) | more than 3 years ago | (#33558506)

I'm probably not the first to note the similarity of the paper's title to that cliché about rock stars and their groupies. One has to wonder how much the authors were influenced by the Zeitgeist [wikipedia.org] of the sixties, the so-called Flower Power era.

Still it makes for an interesting read that shows how much we already knew about space before Yuri Gagarin and John Glenn finally reached low earth orbit. Maybe a doped astronaut isn't such a bad idea, getting high in the high of space.

Life is based on cybernetics ... (2, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 3 years ago | (#33559434)

... in its original meaning (the science of regulatory systems). Without reacting to external stimuli and changing it s internal and sometimes external environment towards more favorable conditions, life would not exist.

Cybernetics is about mechanical/electronic devices just like astronomy is about telescopes.

I am, technically, a cyborg (1)

Tomsk70 (984457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560778)

I have a condition called otosclerosis - the membrane that the last ear-bone goes through to connect to the cochlea turns to bone. As a result, that last ear-bone stops moving = all three bones stop moving = you go deaf.

They drilled a hole in the membrane, and put a titanium-steel rod in place of the last bone.

The upshot? I can now hear again, but I have to fight the urge to find and kill Sarah Connor.

How to Celebrate (1)

HisOmniscience (1361001) | more than 3 years ago | (#33560948)

I think I'll celebrate by watching Cyborg 009. Though I can't remember if they're androids/robots or cyborgs. Guess I'll find out!
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