, short for "cybernetic organism", is a being with both biological and artificial (e.g.electronic, mechanical or robotic) parts. The term was coined in 1960 whenManfred ClynesandNathan S. Klineused it in an article about the advantages of self-regulatinghuman-machinesystemsin outer space.
though this perhaps oversimplifies the necessity of feedback for regulating the subsystem. Themore strict definition of Cyborg is almost always considered as increasing or enhancing normalcapabilities. While cyborgs are commonly thought of asmammals,they might also conceivablybe any kind of organismand the term "Cybernetic organism" has been applied to networks, suchas road systems, corporations and governments, which have been classed as such. The term canalso apply to micro-organisms which are modified to perform at higher levels than theirunmodified counterparts.Fictional cyborgs are portrayed as a synthesis of organicand synthetic parts, and frequently posethe question of difference between human and machine as one concerned with morality, freewill, and empathy. Fictional cyborgs may be represented as visibly mechanical (e.g. theCybermenin the
featured one of the most famous fictional cyborgs, referred to as abionicman. Cyborgs in fiction often play up a human contempt for over-dependence on technology,particularly when used for war, and when used in ways that seem to threatenfree will.Cyborgsare also often portrayed with physical or mental abilities far exceeding a human counterpart(military forms may have inbuilt weapons, among other things).
According to some definitions of the term, themetaphysicaland physical attachmentshumanityhas with even the most basic technologies have already made them cyborgs.
In a typicalexample, a human fitted with a heartpacemakeror aninsulin pump(if the person hasdiabetes)might be considered a cyborg, since these mechanical parts enhance the body's "natural"mechanisms through syntheticfeedback mechanisms. Some theorists cite such modifications ascontact lenses,hearing aids,orintraocular lensesas examples of fitting humans with technologyto enhance their biological capabilities; however, these modifications are as cybernetic as a penor a wooden leg.Cochlear implantsthat combine mechanical modification with any kind of feedback response are more accurately cyborg enhancements.The term is also used to address human-technology mixtures in the abstract. This includesartifacts that may not popularly be considered technology; for example, pen and paper, andspeechandlanguage.Augmented with these technologies, and connected in communication withpeople in other times and places, a person becomes capable of much more than they were before.This is like computers, which gain power by using Internet protocols to connect with othercomputers. Cybernetic technologies include highways, pipes, electrical wiring, buildings,
electrical plants, libraries, and other infrastructure that we hardly notice, but which are criticalparts of thecyberneticsthat we work within.Bruce Sterlingin his universe of Shaper/Mechanistsuggested an idea of alternative cyborg calledLobster,which is made not by using internal implants, but by using an external shell (
).Edmond Hamiltonpresented space explorers witha mixture of organic and machine parts in his novel
The Comet Doom
in 1928. He later featuredthe talking, living brain of an old scientist, Simon Wright, floating around in a transparent case,in all the adventures of his famous hero,Captain Future.He uses the term explicitly in the 1962short story, "After a Judgment Day," to describe the "mechanical analogs" called "Charlies,"explaining that "[c]yborgs, they had been called from the first one in the 1960's...cyberneticorganisms." In the short story "No Woman Born" in 1944,C. L. Moorewrote of Deirdre, adancer, whose body was burned completely and whose brain was placed in a faceless butbeautiful and supple mechanical body.The term was coined byManfred E. ClynesandNathan S. Klinein 1960 to refer to theirconception of anenhanced humanbeing who could survive inextraterrestrialenvironments:
For the exogenously extended organizational complex functioning as an integrated homeostatic
system unconsciously, we propose the term ‘Cyborg'.
Their concept was the outcome of thinking about the need for an intimate relationship betweenhuman and machine as the new frontier of space explorationwas beginning to take place. Adesigner of physiologicalinstrumentation and electronic data-processing systems, Clynes wasthe chief research scientist in the Dynamic Simulation Laboratory at Rockland State Hospital inNew York.The term first appears in print five months earlier when
reported on thePsychophysiological Aspects of Space Flight Symposium where Clynes and Kline first presentedtheir paper.
A cyborg is essentially a man-machine system in which the control mechanisms of the human portion are modified externally by drugs or regulatory devices so that the being can live in anenvironment different from the normal one.