When you hear the word “cyborg”, the first image to pop into your head is probably a beefy Terminator-esque figure with half a body of metal and electronics.
The definition of a cyborg is
A person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device.
Like everyone, I use technology to aid almost every aspect of my life. To travel, I can take a car instead of walk. I get to eat cooked, hot food with the aid of the stove. My memory is aided by notes on my phone and google calendar. Social networks extend my reach of communication to the entire world (I have to admit, as a teenager, I use this one a lot).
Over the summer, I took a sabbatical from screens, and I realised that without them, my life is severely impacted.
Without google calendar, I wasn’t able to organise my day properly. Without, notes, I couldn’t remember tiny tasks I had to do throughout the day. Without social media, I felt like I needed to get some sort of instant gratification somehow.
So at what point did my memory stop being mine and start being technology? What is the boundary between me and the tools I use?
Over centuries, humans have become reliant on technology so much, that without it, we would not be able to function.
How many people do you know that can start a fire without a stove, or who walk kilometres to office, or who could multiply two four digit numbers in their head without using computers or a pencil and paper?
Humanity and technology are inextricably linked.
It could be argued that the reason for our species success is the fact that we use technology as a tool really well, and better than any other species on earth.
But it seems like that paradigm of man using tool is beginning to shift. You see, before, we would use a tool like a pen to write, or a bow to hunt, or clothes to keep us warm.
But now, the tools we use have an agenda, due to the companies that make them. They want you to use them in certain ways, for as much time as possible as often as possible. The question then arises, are you using Facebook, or is Facebook using you?
Who is really in control when you succumb to the urge of checking your phone for notifications at random points in the day. Are you even the party benefiting from using that service? (If it’s a social network, sorry, but you aren’t, it’s actually all those advertising companies drooling over all your personal data (unless it’s Medium, in which case, it doesn’t. Love you Medium))
Are we in control of technology or does technology control us?
This reliance on technology is especially worrying in today’s world where the titans of tech are using increasingly divisive methods to influence user behaviour.
There is a thin line between reliance and dependance, and it seems as if many companies make you cross that line.
There are many people I know who cannot function without a phone. In fact, the response of some people asked to stay of the internet was akin to that of a drug addict.
If we follow the definition of a Cyborg established at the beginning of this post, then yes, we all are Cyborgs. But we need to be careful to make sure that it’s the human in control, and not the machine.
So I urge anyone reading to take a step back and reflect. What technology are you dependant on, and out of those, which ones should you be dependant on?
Thanks for reading,
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