The Age of Cyborgs · 18 April 2008

Whenever I see people with their phones hanging on their ears, I think that we must have entered the age of cyborgs. I know that those ear pieces are just part of cell phones and the information age where everybody needs to be electronically connected to everybody else. Even so, I still think of The Terminator and other movies with cyborgs whenever I see people with cell phone headsets.

According to science fiction books and movies, cyborgs are organisms with mechanical parts or machines with biological parts. I suppose that with this definition, I and others with pins, screws, and/or other metal parts in their bodies could be considered cyborgs. So too could people with pacemakers or hearing aids. However, most people would not consider any of these people to be cyborgs. They are just people who have had surgeries or otherwise received the benefit of modern medicine.

Unlike first generation cyborgs, people with pins, plates, or pacemakers, second generation cyborgs, the people with cell phone headsets, used to make me laugh inside. When I could not see the headset, I would think that these people were just talking to ghosts or at least one of their other personalities. But when they turned, I saw that they were not ghost busters or schizophrenics. They were just part of the population that needs to be connected to others at all times. Or they were business people who needed to be working all the time. Either way, I was always glad that I had not judged a person to be weird just because she talked to people nobody else could see. That was when I started to laugh inside.

The more I see people with headsets, the more I think that we really are in the age of cyborgs. I have heard and read about the science reality of locator chips that can be implanted into beloved pets. I wonder how much longer it will be before communication chips can be implanted into people so that they can be connected to each other not just with audio but with video as well. As processors get smaller and computer chips can do more, I wonder who will be the first person to have a chip integrated into his brain. I wonder who will be the first to surf the internet without the aid of a computer or cell phone. I wonder who will be the first true cyborg.

True cyborgs may or may not be just around the corner in time. But if we are close to entering the age of cyborgs, I hope that real cyborgs do not make it to the level of sophistication or evil as those in The Terminator and other movies with deadly cyborgs. Actually, I am sure that they will not. I am sure that the only way that real cyborgs will be similar to those in The Terminator is that instead of saying goodbye, cyborgs will all just say, “I’ll be back.”

© 2008 Michael T. Miyoshi

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