Natural born cyborgs?

Coming through security at Ljubjana Airport yesterday, I had to remove my belt (no, my trousers stayed up) and my watch. On the other side of the all-seeing eye, having triggered no terrorist alerts or alarm klaxons, I retrieved my belt and wrist watch and put them on again. I grabbed my bag and laptop, and walked off.

It took me approximately 12 seconds to notice my watch was not on my wrist (I can't be certain of course, because my watch was not on my wrist). I retraced my steps and under the stern eyes of the security staff eventually found my forlorn watch - calling out to me from under the conveyor belt. This got me thinking. It doesn't take long for us to notice when something is missing - technology that we wear - that enhances our senses or extends our cognitive abilities. So are we becoming cyborgs?

Strolling across a bridge in Venice on Saturday, during our social event after ICL 2008, I encountered the fellow in the picture above. He was making a point. Posing as a cyborg, bedecked with wearable technology (but ironically, clutching a quill). Is this the future? Will we all walk around in 10 or 20 year's time interacting through technology. I can see the appeal, but I can also see the inherent dangers and hear the howls of protests from those who would rather see a future where we use technology sensibly, sparingly, appropriately. But in 10 or 20 years time, what will be the appropriate use of technology? Andy Clark, chair in logic and metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh believes we are all naturally akin to technology - 'Natural Born Cyborgs'. Is he right? And will cyborg living become more acceptable? Your views are appreciated...


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