We’re all cyborgs…

“Changing human body functions to meet the requirements of extraterrestrial environments would be more beneficial than providing him with an Earthly environment in space… artificial-organism systems that would develop automated controls are a possibility.

Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline described this possibility with the word “cyborg” in 1960. Cyborg concept, in all adventures that brings not only technological but also mental challenges, especially in space travel; establishes a ground for man to be an active part of the biological evolution in all radical experiences offered by nature and beyond the familiar environmental conditions. The aim is to make man someone who manages or depends on machines, it was to open space for human beings to freely explore, create, think and feel by attributing the process of preoccupation with machines to automatic and unconscious functions. This functional utopia of the 1960s was secularized in 1985 by Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto to subvert traditional dualities and norms for the human, gender, natural and artificial distinction.

In the 2000s, these artificial organism systems started to take place in the minds and professional practice of everyone who got engaged with computer programming. Misha Sra is one of the young representatives of this school. At the Perceptual Engineering Lab, which she established to create the cyborgs of the future by getting beyond the limits of the mind and body, she develops technologies that can be integrated with the brain and builds augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence systems that enhance physiological and perceptual competencies. Technologies to be designed in the laboratory have two main goals: systems that convert the body’s internal signals into conscious perceptions, and systems that convert external environmental signals into augmented perceptions…

We can hear “what’s all that mean?”

Think of the trillions of microbes in and around the human body. These microbes are kind of living, biological computer systems. Thanks to biotechnological developments, we can be inspired by the designs and working systems of these microbes. From wearable technologies to musical instruments, from games to works of art, we can picture the interaction between human and machine beyond traditional boundaries.  One of these boundaries is the psychological one. Technologies struggle to transfer psychological processes to human-machine interfaces are usually modeled on conscious psychological processes.  What about the unconscious or meta-consciousness? Wouldn’t it be groundbreaking to understand the effects of these categories on cognitive, emotional and behavioral processes?  Having the capacity yo transfer these superconscious categories to human-machine interfaces and open the doors of perception to the fullest… Maybe it’s time to think beyond the concept of “human”. A 60 year-old possibility, the cyborg, is becoming a reality today.

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Written by Brand Week Istanbul team