I find it interesting that humans can be melted in together with machinery. The creation of a person and machine to create a super human is, in my opinion, quiet extradionary.
The combination of human and machine equals cyborg.
A cyborg is defined as ‘a being with both organic and biomechatronic body parts’. This was described by Manfred Clynes and Nathan Klein in 1960. Basically it is an organism that has restored function or its abilities enhanced due to an addition of an artificial component or technology that relies on a level of feedback.
For my digital artefact I will be investigating the history of cyborgs through to their current status. I will also include science fiction and entertainment based cyborgs such as the Terminator franchise.
To convey my findings and information I will use Youtube videos. This is because of 1, video based entertainment. And 2, to expand my skills in video making. Also using a video based platform will add to the cyborg ‘theme’. Almost as though seeing through mechanic eyes.
“Cyborgs and Space“, in Astronautics (September 1960), by Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline.
How does consciousness exist? Is it able to be downloaded and digitally preserved? Can it be programmed into a non-biological machine?
We may come to a time where consciousness can be replicated and programmed into a non-biological machine, allowing that machine to experience the same type of inner and outer awareness as humans do. Consciousness, ‘characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, and thought’, may no longer be an organically human trait. And if we can create a consciousness inside a non-biological machine then how about our own consciousness? Surely we will be able to download our brains and digitally preserve them. But will it still be us?
If machines can have their own consciousness, their own thoughts and feelings and sense of awareness, then surely as a moral human race we would care for and look after these machines. Or would we? An episode of Black Mirror entitled ‘White Christmas’ explores this very notion of mistreating feeling, thinking digital copies of humans. In this episode, human brains can be downloaded into tiny, robotic replicas and are forced to serve their human counterpart through acts of torture and manipulation. Is this justified considering the robotic replicas are not organic, conscious humans but instead a conscious machine?
And how about our relationships with conscious machines? In a separate episode of Black Mirror called ‘Be Right Back’ a company offers mourning people a service that allows them to reconnect with the deceased. The main character, Martha, is signed up for this service where she is eventually faced with a synthetic clone of her deceased partner, programmed using his online identity. If this clone was an exact replication of Martha’s partner does it matter if she interacts with it humanly? Are there implications if we develop deep, emotional connections with a machine when it acts, thinks and feels as humans do?
This is what I will be exploring.