An Invitation to the Study of Cyborgs

I met with Prof. Toru Takahashi a week or two back, while he was here at the University of Waikato on sabbatical. Good conversations around cyborgs, religion, animé and manga. He’s written mostly in Japanese, but here’s an English version of a short article of his.

Digital life trailers and clips

I like short films, and especially short science fiction films that unpack a particular question or theme (for example, the original short version of ‘9’), so I was interested to see this engaging trailer for a short film called ‘True Skin’ exploring the human technological augmentation and being wrapped in media:

And a few years ago when I was in the midst of writing my PhD thesis on theology and transhumanism I wrote a paper that asked the question of who would pay for the digital heaven that some transhumanists saw human existence being uploaded into. I’m glad to see that others have had the same thought.

Zombies, Cyborgs and the Human Soul

Jennifer over at Rude Truth takes a look at the brief article on theology and “The Walking Dead” (Toward a Zombie Theology | Religion Dispatches), and argues that a cyborg theology, rather than a zombie one might be a better approach.

See rude truth: toward a zombie cyborg theology

Appears angels and zombies are the new vampires in popular culture, but that hasn’t really happened in NZ yet (apart from a flurry of angel and zombie-based fiction in the public library).

50 Posts About Cyborgs

It’s 50 years since the concept of the cyborg was introduced by Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline. To commemorate this, Tim Maly has solicited a bunch of brief essays inspired by the theme of the cyborg. See 50 Posts About Cyborgs.

Hat tip to Kevin Kelly at The Technium: We, the Domesticated Cyborg.

Cyborg life…

My browser has been collecting cyborg-related links over the last few weeks – so I’m getting them all out of the bookmarks here.

Portraits In Posthumanity: Claudia Mitchell

From the io9 posthuman newsfeed is a brief article looking a this form of muscle/nerve prosthetic. I’m constantly amazed by this kind of thing, and can’t imagine what it will look like in 10-15 years time. See Portraits In Posthumanity: Claudia Mitchell – Posthumanity – io9

We have the technology to rebuild ourselves

A good recent summary of some of the developments in prosthetics.

See We have the technology to rebuild ourselves – tech – 07 January 2009 – New Scientist.

Far-fetched as it may seem now, what if cosmetic surgery was to one day extend to replacing perfectly good arms and legs with more beautiful or powerful ones in the hope of producing another Michael Phelps or Victoria’s Secret model? “Then we will have to evolve as a society a new morality, new ethics and codes of conduct, won’t we?” says Gow.

(David Gow is the inventor of the i-Limb hand).

timeless : Direct Human Brain – AI – Interface Technologies

A timely reminder in the face of all the hooplah about human-machine interfaces : timeless : Direct Human Brain – AI – Interface Technologies by Gina Rydland.

Lack of factual information creates a naive conception of the development process of technologies sanctioned as safe to use, clouding the public debate and undermining sufficient grounds for government decision making. Securing human rights and safety when testing and implementing safe to use technologies, demands access to more specialized and accurate knowledge than today’s global polititical, military and industrial climate permits.

Resonates with Greenflame · Brain-machine interfaces and genuine concern for the other.

Brain –> Computer –> Speech

Scientific American has a recent article surveying the development of brain to computer interfaces up to recent prototypes that attempt recognise the neurological activity associated with controlling the muscles for speech and translating that into synthetic speech. Very interesting.

From Putting Thoughts into Action: Implants Tap the Thinking Brain: Scientific American