Home > Philosophical > I, Borg

I, Borg

January 10th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

cyborg [sahy-bawrg] –noun
a person whose physiological functioning is aided by or dependent upon a mechanical or electronic device.

This is not an original thought but one worth expressing. Last month I had some problems with my computer as the operating system wouldn’t boot up when I switched on the machine. For several days I was without the use of my computer, and felt just as crippled as if I had broken both my legs.

The fact is that those of us who live the kind of lifestyle in which just about everything is done through a laptop are, in many ways, cyborgs. We may not have mechanical limbs or computer chips implanted directly into our brains [yet] but the majority of the important functions of our lives are done through computers. Personally, I do all my work with my computer as I require a word-processor and internet connection. I also use my computer for entertainment, whether it’s my giant collection of mp3s or the video files from films and television shows I’ve downloaded. Most importantly, I use my computer to stay connected to the rest of the world. The only contact I have with most of the people I know is through e-mail or Facebook, and I keep up with world events exclusively through online news aggregation sites or downloadable podcasts of cable news shows. It seems the only things I don’t use my computer for are eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom.

Not everyone is as ‘assimilated’ as I am, of course. I have less of a personal life than most people and I have a strong fondness for solitude and isolation. So when I consider the deeper implications of life as a cyborg I understand that my generalizations do not equally apply to everyone, but I think they’ll get broader as time goes on.

If this is the direction that the world is moving in, if all of humanity is becoming increasingly dependent on the world of gigabytes and bandwith, what does that mean for the future of our species? What does it mean that Google, which started as a simple search engine, is now like a massive binary brain storing the collective knowledge and information of all mankind? What is the difference between searching for a piece of information in your own head and accessing it on Google? Where is the boundary between the individual mind and this collective mind? Is it possible that with enough development and implementation of AI technology, the collective mind will become conscious? If it does, will we consider it good or evil? And what will it think of us?

It’s not my intention with this brief entry to answer any of the fascinating questions that arise when considering our progression towards cyborg-life. I only think it’s important to consider things from this framework and to understand the profound paradigm shift currently underway in the human consciousness and lifestyle. Whether turning Borg is a good thing or a bad thing depends largely on how conscious we are of being Borg.

Categories: Philosophical Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.