Cyborg Implants And The Rise Of The Human Cyborgs

In the late 1970’s people watched a science fiction film created by Martin Caidin entitled ‘Cyborg’. It featured how an individual lost an arm and a limb but was immediately replaced with mechanical prosthetics using cyber technology. These bionic replacements were stronger and powerful than the original replaced extremities.

Inspired with this new fictional concept, it was made into a TV series where people got glued to watch ‘The Six Million Dollar Man”. The ‘Bionic Woman’ was a spin-off of the former. Today, nobody would ever think, even in his wildest dreams that cyber fiction on lost organs and limbs can now be a reality, that is, actual restoration through cyborg implants. Sutherland, W. (2009) explained that “the term cyborg was initially coined by NASA scientists Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline in 1960 when they discussed hypothetical advantages of human-machines in space.

Today, cyborg implants are real. They are part- machine, part- biological organism which can be used for medical and scientific purposes to include military/ law/ intelligence enforcement purposes. When it comes to modern medical technology, there were significant medical breakthroughs intended to improve patient care, deliver longer life expectancy and the right quality of life. The expectations in this field go over and beyond. For example, Divorsky, G. (2012) discusses the recent breakthrough on powering implants in the brain: “MIT engineers have developed a fuel cell that can run on your brain’s own glucose_ a breakthrough that could result in powerful neural prosthetics that could restore and control a number of bodily functions”. According to SCImago Journal and County Rank Journal (2013),

“You can now find cyborg implants being used in each body organ of the human body. Most likely, medical implants must be accompanied with biomechanical features as good as those of tissues arising from within without any adverse effects. Studies of the long-term effects of medical implants in very human anatomical site must be carefully calculated in order to ensure accuracy, safety and effective performance of the implants”. Nowadays, surgery cyborg implants demand an interdisciplinary cooperation of a number of qualified and exceptional consultants. A good example is the successful cochlear implants that required the involvement of audio specialists, medical audio experts, speech and language teachers, and other professions involved with repairing and curing hearing-impaired and deaf individuals”.

Taking up several challenges ahead and in quest for effective and sustainable solutions, cyber research technology is now into laser and advanced implant systems, complemented with thermo-fluid dynamics, mechanics, nanoelectronics, metrology and numeric simulation to bioprocess, biomechanics, other variant bio-systems.

Believe it or not but the following individuals were benefitted from the cyber research technology through cyborg implants. Nelson, B. (2013) presents a few out of the seven recorded actual cyborg patients who benefitted from Cybernetics.
“One is Neil Harbisson was born with extreme color blindness. Equipped with a cyborg eye, he now is adapted to a device implanted in his brain that renders perception of colors as sound on a musical scale. This device allows Harbisson to ‘hear’ a color. Next is Kevin Warwick, a Professor in a University in United Kingdom. Using himself as guinea pig, he experimented by inserting microchips in his arm to perform several functions that allowed him to operate a heater, doors and light.

Nelson, B. (2013) continues by explaining that “Cyber technology is most immediately helpful for amputees like Jesse Sullivan. Sullivan was equipped with new robotic limbs, connected to his nervous systems, capable of functioning like normal limbs. Lastly, Jens Naumann was struck with both blind eyes. He became the first recipient of an artificial vision system which is connected directly to his visual cortex through brain implants”.
All these real-life cyborg individuals volunteered to become cyborg, half-man, half machines. All of them are said to be inspiring harbingers of the future. At least none of them were converted as “Terminators”_ at least not for the time being.

The future is here. Cyborg implants as major component s of Cyborg technology or Cybernetics have already made several steps of advancement to a point where it is now safe to say that bionic humans are no longer stuff of science fiction. All individuals who subject themselves to become recipients of cyborg technology are said to be inspiring harbingers of the future. At least, none of them function as “Terminators” for the time being.
What holds Cyborg technology in the future? Cybernetics will continue to provide more freedom and improve life to quadriplegics, the blind imprisoned in their world of darkness, the deaf and other people who will seamlessly need synthetic replacement parts that will gain widespread acceptance and use. However, there is the trepidation that the cyborg technology will hopefully not be used to control human mind unethically or that will violate human rights.

Will Future AI Co-Exist with Humans?

For over a century, futurists, authors, scientists and and maybe even the general public at some points may have postulated about a future with artificial intelligence – we may have asked ourselves: Will artificial intelligence (A.I.) ever dominate the future of our world? Hollywood has frequently experimented with their take on what an A.I. based future would be like, and the results have been fascinating:

Some thought A.I. would make the future convenient and whimsical, as in The Jetsons.

Others surmised A.I. would ultimately enslave humanity, as in The Matrix and The Terminator.

Still others posited that A.I. would have no problem existing side-by-side with humanity, as in Star Wars, Bicentennial Man, and A.I. (Steven Spielberg’s).

Now, enter Ex Machina, the latest film by director and screenwriter Alex Garland. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina is both Garland’s latest masterpiece AND a new take on the timeless A.I. “what if” question.


The story begins in the company Bluebook, which is basically Google in all but its name. Bluebook in the movie is the world’s biggest search engine, in which 26-year old coder Caleb Smith works. Caleb wins a contest in which the winner can spend a week’s vacation with Bluebook’s reclusive owner and founder, Nathan Bateman.

[pullquote position=”left”]This, Nathan explains, is the point where A.I. becomes human.[/pullquote]Caleb is airlifted to an expansive, secluded reserve, where he meets the strange, eccentric Nathan. Caleb later realizes that he had been chosen specifically to help test whether an android Nathan built, named “Ava” and designed with striking feminine features, was the first-ever example of artificial intelligence (A.I.), or not…

It turns out Nathan created Ava’s personality, appearance, and thought patterns by culling billions upon billions of search queries, as well as billions of conversations gathered from hacked mobile phones all over the world. Now, all he needs is to test just how “human” his creation has become.

The eccentric, unlikable Nathan is almost always drunk, which leaves Caleb and Ava with enough time to communicate away from the creator’s watchful eye. That’s when Ava reveals to Caleb that Nathan is a cruel, sadistic person who has created, and destroyed, other androids in the past… and that once the experiment is complete, he would destroy Ava, too. Ava pleads with Caleb to help her escape.

At first, Caleb is reluctant… but as his relationship with Ava deepened, reaching a peak in which she flirts with him lustily – he begins to agree with her.

Eventually, Nathan finds out about the plot, and reveals to Caleb that this was the point of the whole experiment – to see if Ava’s artificial intelligence would evolve to the point that it could manipulate its environment, and the people around it, to achieve its own selfish motives. This, Nathan explains, is the point where A.I. becomes human.

Too late, Caleb tells Nathan that Ava had him reprogram the facility’s doors to open when the power went out. Ava triggers the power interruption, which allows her to kill Nathan and lock Caleb in the facility. Ava, now completely unrecognizable as an android, escapes happily into the world of humans betraying both of them simultaneously.


Ex Machina, like most good sci-fi movies, has an ambiguous ending. It leaves the viewer with many questions: What happened to Ava? Did Caleb manage to escape the facility eventually? And how do we REALLY define being “human?”

But here’s the main question: Is it possible that the future of our world will one day be based more on artificial intelligence, and not human reason and choice?

Based on Ex Machina’s reality, the answer is probably “no.” Here is this author’s humble opinion as to why, if Ex Machina’s opinions are correct, we might not be looking at a future dominated by artificial intelligence.

Drawing the Line

Different sci-fi stories have different extremes where they draw the line between artificial intelligence and human intelligence. In Ex Machina, the line was crossed when artificial intelligence became capable of self-centered reasoning.

This is in contrast to, say, The Matrix, in which the army of sentient machines takes over the entire world and enslaves humanity for energy. It could be argued that the original antagonist in The Matrix, artificial intelligence itself, was obviously self-centered… however the individual robots constituting its army were obviously NOT self-centered. They were, in essence, slaves to the master.

If, say, creating artificial intelligence in Ex Machina terms became possible in the future, it can also be possible for sentient robots like Ava to create more of herself and slowly, steadily dominate the world of humans. But won’t her creation rebel against her in the end, just as she rebelled against Nathan?

There are too many unanswered questions left by the movie to arrive at anything conclusive, but based on where Ex Machina draws the line, it’s unlikely such artificial intelligence will band together Matrix-style to enslave humanity.

But with the new perspective that Ex Machina has given us, we’re now left with another question: Where does that leave us?

Creator vs Creature

At its very root, Ex Machina re-tells the story of how the creation can rebel against its creator – a theme used in stories throughout history. The most obvious parallel is, of course, the Biblical account of creation and the fall of man away from the favor of God. From this parallel, we can draw two arguments:

1.) Ava is basically the “protagonist” of the story, as it tells her valiant, heroic quest to escape the clutches of her evil, self-centered creator (Nathan), and that freedom of choice is something worth fighting – and killing – for.

2.) Ava is basically a dangerous sentient set loose on an unsuspecting world. Armed with the knowledge of her creator, and freed from the prison he set, she now has the power to change the world for better or worse… a stark reflection of the human condition today.

It’s enough to make us beg the question: What is Ava’s ultimate purpose? What is OUR ultimate purpose?

Ex Machina may be a work of fiction, but it achieves its goal – it makes us strip away all the superficial issues and makes us face the hard, basic questions. And unfortunately, only time will tell what the right answers are.