Cyborg - Next step in Human Evolution : Important Topics for UPSC Exams

Cyborg : Next step in Human Evolution

The great scientist Stephen Hawkins once said,

"Humankind must develop as quickly as possible technologies that make possible a direct connection between brain and computer, so that artificial computer brain should contribute towards human intelligence rather than opposing it."

Introduction:

  • Cyborg can be considered as real version of technological advancement that was once considered as a fiction. The term cyborg was first coined in 1960. The scientists described cyborg as a man-machine system in which the control mechanisms of the human portion are modified externally by drugs or any other device so that the man can be able to live in an environment different from normal one.

  • Cyborg is a short version for cybernetic organism. Although an older term, the modern research and increased use of technology in biomedicine make cyborg the future of human development. As name suggests, cyborg consists partly human and partly machine. Those people who are having cardiac pacemaker, contact lenses or implants come under the cyborg.
  • The last two decades see the ever-fast pace in the development of cyborg. Various successful implantation like embedment of antenna inside skull, bionic limb connection through nerve-muscle grafting and many others shows that cyborg does not remain merely a fiction that we see in comics like Justice league and Avengers, but it’s a modern world reality.
  • Cyborg is said to be an open field by modern scientists. As the technology advances, more and more augmentation of body with machines will occur. This augmentation, no doubt, will make human more agile and stronger. However, all this will also impact over the basic behavior of human being. The effect may both be positive as well as negative. Therefore, there exists serious ethical issues in this regard.

Drawbacks:

  • Although cyborg is credited with many successful implantations, there exists some shorth-comings that is the field of study for many scientists.
  • Firstly, artificial limbs do not provide a sense of touch that connects us with our family or allow to feel the outer world as before. The real cause is the less evolution in the field of development of sensing skin.
  • Secondly, as we have already discussed that there exists serious ethical dilemma in the future of cyborg. There are many people with implants inserted in their bodies to increase the innate human capacities, both mental and physical. All these activities may redefine the meaning of humanness, the change that may cause problems.

Way forward:

  • The cyborg technology has already taken the next stage of integration beyond medical field. The machines are not serving merely as an alternative to human body part. The cyborg technology is setting the stage for the next chapter of human evolution. The contemporary field of cyborg research lies in brain- machine interface. Any breakthrough may change our view towards the humanity.
  • The criticism and problems associated with cyborg cannot be avoided. However, the solution lies not in closing, but in more responsible and ethical research in this field. Keeping this in mind, the first Cyborg Olympics were organized in Zurich, Switzerland in 2016. It was the first time that official celebration of cyborg sports was conducted.
    It is believed that cyborgs are the next step in human evolution of mankind. The establishment of colonies in different planets is imminent in the near future, and so the development in cyborg technology. There is a need that all the ethical and moral questions to be resolved over the global stage. As all other inventions, cyborg can work both as a boon or a bane, And the choice is ours.

Questions:

Q. Cyborg is regarded as the next stage of human evolution. The cyborg is?

i. A new technology for the development of human clones.
ii. A new kind of species, way more intelligent and agile than average human being.
iii. A technology where human body is augmented artificially with machines, and this enhances the capabilities of human being.
iv. None of the above

Answer is iii. In UPSC 2017 prelims, UPSC asked lots of questions from past two to three years current affairs.
As first cyborg Olympics was being organized in 2016, the knowledge about cyborg is very essential in this year prelims as well.

Q. Science and research itself is not good or bad, but it's up to its user who make it boon or bane. Discuss it on the background of cyborg technological research. (200 words)

Hint - Write by yourself. Above article talks about the moral and ethical questions associated with cyborg. Just take care that there exists word limit. The answer structure will be like:

Introduction - Here You can start with historical background of devastating usage of inventions like Nuclear bomb, but here you should clarify that nuclear technology itself is not bad as it is a source of clean energy. It is the case with cyborg also.

Body - Now talks in very brief what this cyborg all about. After this come directly to this ethical dilemma associated with this technology. It may harm the established humanity. Try to end up in two paragraphs at maximum.

Conclusion- State the benefits of cyborg. It helps in tackling the problems like disability. The future colonies in moon and mars can be possible only with the advancement in cyborg research.

At last end with the comment like science is only a weapon and its usage depend on the fighter not on the weapon itself.

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