The name Cyborg instantly strikes a reference to one of our favorite DC Comics characters in our minds. However, the healthcare industry has its own Cyborgs and interestingly so, very similar to our DC superhero. Cyborgs, shortened from the tern ‘Cybernetic Organism’, are mostly mammals, including humans, with certain artificial technology or implants in their body that enhances the function of their specific body part. The concept is very different from bionic, where an artificial system resembling a living, biological system is created to study its functioning and effects of various applications on it.
Having seen the concept in famous movies like the Terminator, Star Wars, to name a few, we do not really have to go to the length of Star Wars to be Cyborgs. Somebody with a contact lens, prosthetic cardiac valves, or even artificial leg can be called a Cyborg. However, the application of this technology does not limit here. A living and popular example of a Cyborg is Neil Harbisson. Born with extreme color blindness, Neil could only see the world in black and white. He was then given an eyeborg that not only made him see everything normally, but he can perceive colors better than a human eye. “Amy Winehouse is red and pink, while ringtones are green,” Neil said. There are number of such examples of people whose lives have been transformed through cybernetics.
With Cyborgs, the future holds a number of promises. Scientists have speculated that it has the potential to eliminate several deadly diseases, apart from just augmenting human functions. Moreover, the cybernetic extensions in a human body can be removed so this transformation is reversible, unlike gene editing techniques.
However, there are two sides to every coin. In a cyborg, there can be damages and malfunctions in the machine parts. Even worse, although the machines enhance the human capabilities, they are still machines and can be hacked. Imagine, a person with a brain implant, which is hacked; the person will no more be able to control his/her own body. These possibilities are not only scary but also morally questionable.
To implement the man-machine duo, healthcare and technological experts need to find adequate solutions to eliminate these drawbacks. With the amount of potential this technique possesses, it can transform the future of human race and it should be leveraged but with caution. There’s no doubt that number of science-fiction movies based on the concept of Cyborgs can be our reality in the future and it will completely change the world as we know it today!