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LostInParadise's avatar

Is there a danger that people will eventually all be cyborgs?

Asked by LostInParadise (29141points) December 30th, 2009

Check out this NY Times book review. Link Do you find anything disconcerting about it? I do, but the problem, as the author says, is that it is all incremental. Where does one draw the line? And this does not even get into the matter of the so called singularity when our minds will supposedly be merged with computer chips.

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31 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

My mother-in-law started her conversion 12 years ago.

Axemusica's avatar

There is no computer chip that can hold as much data as the human brain. The brains memory is unmeasurable. With that being said… you will be assimilated!

Zen_Again's avatar

Oh yes.

And resistance is futile.


Snarp's avatar

I think it is quite probably to some degree, but I don’t think it is a danger.

Qingu's avatar

@Axemusica, actually the brain does have a measurable amount of memory. And in some ways computer chips are superior to the chemical interactions that take place in the brain.

The brain is just an organic computer. There’s nothing about the organic nature of this computer that makes it supernatural, and there’s nothing that sufficiently advanced inorganic computers can’t one day replicate.

As for the question, you could argue that anyone who wears glasses is a “cyborg.”

Ansible1's avatar

Yes Danger Will Robinson

Fyrius's avatar

That was an interesting read. Thanks. :)

But I still don’t agree that this is to be considered a danger, and not an opportunity for amazing improvements.

Axemusica's avatar

@Qingu The book I was reading on memory which I need to find again since I never finished it before letting someone borrow it grrrr was a very fascinating read. The only part of memory that inadequate is short term. Since it’s just that, short term. Although, something short term could be triggered by a mnemonic later after that memory had already thought of as been forgotten. Try and think of a life time of memories and everything that went involved, I.E. smell, sound, taste,, touch, sight, vibration and then think of how some people out live other and can cram even more of those memories in there, granted if they don’t love their mind by then, lol.

I don’t believe that there ever truely be a comparison to limitation between the brain or the memory to be precise and a computer chip. That’s my opinion though and until I can find that book that’s the best I can explain it. Haha, kind of ironic since it’s a book on how to train your memory.

Snarp's avatar

@Axemusica, @Qingu Of course the information you store on a computer chip, generally speaking, will be the same information you read off later. The information you store in your brain is not even what actually happened, and will be altered over time until when you recall it, it is not the same memory you initially stored and you don’t even know it. While computer storage is subject to some corruption and decay, it is identifiable in that the data appear corrupted, as opposed to memories, which appear to us as accurate reflections of real events.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It’s more likely that we’ll be turned into zombies. That’s happening more quickly than I like to think. And if you don’t believe me, really watch the audience at a political convention, and tell me afterward that those ‘people’ aren’t zombies.

Axemusica's avatar

@Snarp I can somewhat agree with that. Although a well trained memory I think would be as or better at recalling said memories, but training the memory to do such things is harder than it is to type this, lol.

You know what I’m gonna go buy that book again tomorrow or at least get it ordered. haha

ninjacolin's avatar

i don’t think so. define “danger”

Dr_Dredd's avatar

William Gibson’s “cyberpunk” novels explored human/machine merging. They were definitely an interesting read.

I agree with those who don’t really see a danger. So what if a limb is artificial? We used to call my grandmother the “Bionic Woman” because she had two artificial hips and a pacemaker. The only difference between that and some of the newer cybernetic prosthetics is that the newer ones probably work better.

The only thing that makes me a little uneasy is the robotic cars mentioned in the article. I don’t even like driving with another person, because I want to have my fate in my own hands. Besides, didn’t Skynet take control of all vehicles with computer chips in Terminator 3?

Snarp's avatar

Man I hope the cybernetic knees are just awesome by the time my organic ones give out.

ucme's avatar

Hasta la vista baby.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Dr_Dredd, perhaps you should reconsider your objection to having a machine drive you. I can completely understand your aversion to “driving with another person”. But after all, when you’re on the road, you’re driving with thousands of other people. There… do you feel better now?

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

Welcome to the ‘interesting views’ of Mr. Hugo de Garis, AI researcher. In this future, cyborgism is the conflict-defusing “third way”.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@CyanoticWasp. It is true that I am driving on a road with thousands of other people. Usually not by choice, though. I try to take local roads instead of highways whenever possible. However, at least I know that I’m in control of my vehicle and can take defensive measures. Even pilots turn off the autopilot if something is going wrong.

Austinlad's avatar

I think we’re already cyborgs. Watch people on their cell phones or texting.

CMaz's avatar

@Zen_Again – Could you have been asked a better question?


And, @lucillelucillelucille, I think we are related.


LeotCol's avatar

I personally can’t wait to become a cyborg. How handy it would be to one day open a compartment in my wrist and take out the USB Quantum 360.0 and plug it into one of the various computers that may or may not be built into my environment. Or perhaps wirelessly connect. The USB would be a back up. Then I’d lay back in some seat as my full HD contact lens show my newest processor and modem stream my favourite movies in 3d.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@ChazMaz -Could be…could be ;)

faye's avatar

I think the idea of robot cars for the army is excellent. I watched a 60 Minutes, I think, that had an experimental wheel chair being commanded by the woman’s thoughts. There was also a show about a device being implanted in a severely depressed persons’ brain that turned his life around. Prostheses have also come a long way from Captain Hook. Mostly good imho.

faye's avatar

@Snarp Yes. I’d love to cyborgize all my joints.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@faye, I know of at least one joint that I’m happy with just the way it is. Or sometimes is, anyway.

faye's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I’m a nurse. Can I check that for you?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@faye, I thought you’d never ask. It only hurts when you laugh.

faye's avatar

@CyanoticWasp some hurts are good

housinit's avatar

I truly believe that we already are hyper advanced computers designed by “God” or by highly intelligent beings that we like to call “aliens”, although all of us are alien to this planet anyhow. So wrap your brain around that one and try to argue against the thought that we are just computers. If you study biology, biochemistry, bio-mechanics, inorganic computers (like the one on your desk), and anything that is a living creature and/or a mechanical product powered by electricity, I believe you will come to the exact same conclusion that I have. We are just a hyper advanced biochemical computer. Think about it. Anything and everything that our bodies allow us to do are all run by micro electronics in our bodies. And yes, I believe that one day (God help us) there will be some crazy scientists that will figure out how to create a completely self reliant, self replicating, self aware electrical organism that will be none other than actual “life”.....and it will just be history repeating itself all over again just like when God or the aliens created these masterfully and beautifully designed products of electrical engineering. So should we be worried if we will ever be cyborgs, well, I think the answer has already been answered for you and you see it every morning in the mirror when you look at yourself. You are, no matter how much you want to deny it, are a biochemical super-duper-hyper-ridiculous computer run by none other than electrical impulses. And one day, when these scientists figure out (and they already are) how to completely map and copy all the data from a human brain we will then be able to build and replace our ailing dying bodies and replace the “hard drive” back into our brain and just keep on going like nothing ever happened except that we have a whole new to chassis to live/work in. And in all reality, I think they will find the aging gene before they figure out how to copy our whole brain and stop the aging process all together….also another thing that they predict they will have figured out in the next 20–30 years. Interesting, yet scary or not so scary stuff depending on how you look at it. It may be our only saving grace….once the earth starts to die, we’re going to have to leave and it would work much better if we could live for a few thousand years while it takes us to travel the far reaches of the universe. And it really wont seem all that long to us because we will have adjusted our perception of time and a few thousand years will only seem like a few months or even minutes or seconds went by. Does that all sound completely crazy to you? If so, just stop and think about it for just a few minutes. How does our brain work? How do your muscles move? How do we think? It is ALL electrical impulses, there is nothing that happens in our body that is not powered by electricity….ALL of it, with out our electricity in our body we would just be a dead and useless computer in need of repair or a new computer chassis. None of these comments demean ’God’ or lessen his value….he’s the one or one of the many(more realistic in my opinion) scientists that took the time to design our self replicating biochemical bodies.

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