The cyborg millennia

Donna Haraway in her manifesto defines a cyborg as a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction (1985,p.315).

Like fictional utopian novels, cyborgs are projections (and metaphors) of what humans desire to be (Mayer, 2015).

Philip K. Dick, perhaps the most famous (and controversial) cyborg-esque novel writer of all times, in his best seller Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968) made it clear. Cyborgs (and androids) are a philosophical reflection on what it means to be human in an age of mass atrocity, a metaphor for people who are “physiologically human but behaving in a non-human way, I use such terms as android and robot, but I’m really referring to a psychologically defective or malfunctioning or pathological human being.” (Dick, 1981).

Many movies have depicted cyborgs from the early days of films. I would like to linger on two seminal movies who made this genre the one that we all know today. Metropolis (1927) and Blade Runner (1982), adaption of Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”. The former is pure innovation, only few decades into the making of movies as we know them, none had gone so far. Metropolis did. “Mother” of science fiction, it is now remembered as the first real attempt to science fiction. The latter, provided a new and exciting view of the science fiction world, more dark and gritty, where they tried to answer the few of those unanswered existential questions about philosophy, theology and psychology. None had gone so far.

What about us? Aren’t we all cyborgs today? Well this is a controversial question. I can say that YES, in one way or another we are cyborgs. We daily use smartphones, screens, laptops…and even if we do not have them implanted in our body (the classic cyborg), we use them every day, so that makes these technologies part of us.


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