Natural-Born Cyborgs  

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Natural-Born Cyborgs (203) is a book by Andy Clark.

Clark’s writings also focus on the concept of transhumanism, most prevalent in Natural-Born Cyborgs, which explores the progressing incorporation of human biology and technological implants. Through a series of contemporary technological studies and an evaluation of the cyborg figure in pop culture, Clark maps out a perception of the cyborg as a reality. This is not necessarily to show what humanity is to become from biologically implanted technology, but rather to explore where humanity is now with said technology. In his own words, humans are “creatures whose minds are special precisely because they are tailor-made for multiple mergers and coalitions.” He elaborates this as he describes his body as an “electronic virgin” untouched by technology, but gradually over time technology will become intertwined with his biology. Whether that incorporation will be as mundane as the use of eyeglasses or something more advanced such as a new auditory prosthesis, he believes the merger of technology and biology is inevitable and present.

In this model “cyborg” is defined as a part biological, part mechanical system which results in the augmentation of the biological component and the creation of a more complex whole. Clark argues that this broadened definition is necessary to an understanding of human cognition. He suggests that any tool which is used to offload part of a cognitive process may be considered the mechanical component of a cyborg system. Examples of this human and technology cyborg system can be very low tech and simplistic, such as using a calculator to perform basic mathematical operations or pen and paper to make notes, or as high tech as using a personal computer or phone. According to Clark, these interactions between a person and a form of technology integrate that technology into the cognitive process in a way which is analogous to the way that a technology which would fit the traditional concept a cyborg augmentation becomes integrated with its biological host. Because all humans in some way use technology to augment their cognitive processes, Clark comes to the conclusion that we are “natural-born cyborgs.”

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