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Please read the questions and the answers to the discussion questions. After that, please read what my classmate responded and the question they asked. You are to answer the question from the classmate with 300 words. Attached are the articles used to answer these.

Please read the questions and the answers to the discussion questions. After that, please read what my classmate responded and the question they asked. You are to answer the question from the classmate with 300 words. Attached are the articles used to answer these.

Discussion Question + My Answer:

1. Identify and describe three specific ways our current understanding of a human being can be called into question, complicated, or changed by technological advances. 

The human can start understanding themselves as emotional machines (Tidor, p14). For example, emotions was not Pamela Pavliscak's goal at Change Sciences; she began by examining technology to determine what makes something easy to use, productive, or efficient. She looked into emotion-based technology. She discovered an equipment that can detect drivers' emotions, which is important because road rage, weariness, drinking, and texting are the leading causes of accidents. This gadget helps a stressed-out driver relax. Nevermind is a game that uses biofeedback sensors to teach players how to manage their emotions. Unfortunately, none of the AI is getting trained with enough complexity to handle the reality of the human emotion spectrum. Another way the current understanding human beings can be questionable is by identifying themselves as a proxy for vulnerability. Consider technology that appears to help escape the more challenging aspects of being human, such as vulnerability in the company of another human. Replika is a chatbot that 'learns' from its users by asking complicated questions like "Are you successful?" After exchanging texts, the user and Replika are "friends." Some people have now begun to argue that chatbot interactions are more sensitive and intimate than human relationships. Another way the current understanding human beings can be questionable is changing humanity's understanding and their connection to work. Americans adore their work. In a world of "post-scarcity," humans will no longer need to work as robots take care of everything. Currently, technology has enabled everyone to work less and accomplish more.

2. Explain one argument for why AI may never be able to replicate a human being completely. 

The human touch may be lacking in AI, despite its ability to provide correct and comprehensive solutions quickly. Frequently, the statements are impersonal and lack the personal touch that most people prefer. They often feel their remarks have value when they are touched by a human and not just saved in a machine (Barfield et al., p13). This is especially true for the elderly who have not fully adapted to the Internet and who long for the days of face-to-face business. For more important and complex situations, many people believe that human interaction is better to utilize AI. Because AI systems are regarded to be incapable of providing nuanced responses or explanations. Humans are more likely than machines to console people, which is why they will continue to play a vital role in business.

3. Based on what you have learned from the readings, determine and explain your answer to the question: “Can machines be human?” What do you think and why?  

Machines can never be humans. According to common perception, machines will eventually replace humans as the primary provider of customer support (Rubin, p77). In actuality, without human support, AI robots cannot manage or work totally on their own. Departments will require knowledge managers, computational linguists, and specialists in human-machine interfaces to aid the robots and assure their operation. They are incapable of doing so on their own! Additionally, they must be kept abreast of current trends and statistics, which eliminates the human element from the equation.

Classmate Response + Question:

Do you think that AI could replace neuroplasticity or emotional intelligence? Specifically for emotional intelligence i think would include human touch because knowing when to physically touch someone when speaking to them is not an easy skill to acquire.




Cyborgs and Enhancement Technology

Woodrow Barfield 1 and Alexander Williams 2,* 1 Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, DC 98105, USA; [email protected] 2 140 BPW Club Rd., Apt E16, Carrboro, NC 27510, USA * Correspondence: [email protected]; Tel.: +1-919-548-1393

Academic Editor: Jordi Vallverdú Received: 12 October 2016; Accepted: 2 January 2017; Published: 16 January 2017

Abstract: As we move deeper into the twenty-first century there is a major trend to enhance the body with “cyborg technology”. In fact, due to medical necessity, there are currently millions of people worldwide equipped with prosthetic devices to restore lost functions, and there is a growing DIY movement to self-enhance the body to create new senses or to enhance current senses to “beyond normal” levels of performance. From prosthetic limbs, artificial heart pacers and defibrillators, implants creating brain–computer interfaces, cochlear implants, retinal prosthesis, magnets as implants, exoskeletons, and a host of other enhancement technologies, the human body is becoming more mechanical and computational and thus less biological. This trend will continue to accelerate as the body becomes transformed into an information processing technology, which ultimately will challenge one’s sense of identity and what it means to be human. This paper reviews “cyborg enhancement technologies”, with an emphasis placed on technological enhancements to the brain and the creation of new senses—the benefits of which may allow information to be directly implanted into the brain, memories to be edited, wireless brain-to-brain (i.e., thought-to-thought) communication, and a broad range of sensory information to be explored and experienced. The paper concludes with musings on the future direction of cyborgs and the meaning and implications of becoming more cyborg and less human in an age of rapid advances in the design and use of computing technologies.

Keywords: cyborg; enhancement technology; prosthesis; brain–computer interface; new senses; identity

1. Cyborgs and Prostheses

The human body is in the process of experiencing a rapid transformation from a completely biological entity created based on instructions provided by human DNA to a body becoming far more “computational and technological” [1]. While this paper focuses on the theme of “human” enhancement technology, we also review some computational enhancements to animal subjects because such studies provide examples of the future direction of enhancement technology and in some cases these very technologies will be implemented into the human body and likely within one or two decades. Generally, body-worn and implantable technology serves to identify cyborgs as a constellation within which the identities of the members of cyborg groups “negotiate” their individual significance. We describe “cyborg culture” or “cyborg being” as a particular way of life, or set of beliefs, which expresses certain meanings in the context of cyborg technologies; particularly in the case of many self-imposed cyborgs that “way of life” is to become transhuman [2,3]. Broderick describes a transhuman as a person who explores all available and future methods for self enhancement that eventually leads toward the radical change of posthuman—which is to ultimately become nearly unlimited in physical and psychological capability (i.e., to go beyond human) [4].

Using a semiotic framework, cyborg enhancement technologies can be viewed as signs which are subject to the criteria of ideological evaluation [5] which for self-enhanced cyborgs is a culture of

Philosophies 2017, 2, 4; doi:10.3390/philosophies2010004

Philosophies 2017, 2, 4 2 of 18

“technologically savvy” and to some extent nonconformists, and, as noted, transhumanists. In general, we use the term “cyborg technology” to refer to technology integrated into the human body which not only restores lost function but enhances the anatomical, physiological, and information processing abilities of the body [6]. With this definition in mind a person with a heart pacer is a cyborg as is a person with an artificial arm controlled by thought. In terms of scope and content, the focus of the paper is not on drug enhancements to amplify human performance or methods of genetic engineering to enhance the body, nor does the paper focus on mobile consumer products such as smartphones or tablets which some refer to as a cyborg enhancement. Instead the paper focuses more so on the body itself—which we theorize is becoming an information processing technology based on the implantation of computing technology directly within the body. Finally, we use the term “cyborg prosthesis” to refer to artificial enhancements to the body providing computational capability, one example is an artificial hippocampus another is a brain–computer interface.

Table 1 provides an overview of cyborg technologies and enhancements designed to augment human abilities and is organized around: (1) technology which “externally interfaces” with the body; (2) implants within the body; and (3) technology which modifies in some way brain activities. The last category may include devices like Google Glass and other types of “eye-worn” technology, that while not directly implanted within the body, do in fact help to augment the world with information and thus enhance the information processing abilities of humans. Further, many refer to people wearing such devices as “cyborgs” therefore the following table includes a brief section—“Computing Attachment as Enhancement”, to more fully represent the range of technologies available that help create what to some is the “common view” of a cyborg. And, to a lesser extent, enhancements to aid mobility in the form of exoskeletons are included in Table 1 to provide a more complete range of cyborg technologies that are emerging now. Additionally, there are currently a large number of enhancement technologies that are available either as commercial products or as emerging technologies, to review them all would be beyond the scope of this paper, therefore Table 1 is provided mainly to motivate discussion on the topic and to provide some organizing principles and categories to frame the debate on our future as cyborgs. Finally, two examples in Table 1 are of animal studies, again to show the direction of cyborg technology and to give the reader a more complete overview of the cyborg future which awaits us.

Similar to our Table 1, Kevin Warwick in this special edition on Cyberphenomenology: Technominds Revolution [7] presented a four-case description of enhancement (or cyborg) technologies. Case 1 represents technology positioned close to the human body, but not integrated into the body; case 2 is technology implanted into the body but not the brain/nervous system (whether for therapy or enhancement); case 3 represents technology linked directly to the brain/nervous system for therapeutic purposes; and case 4 is technology linked to the brain/nervous system to create “beyond normal” levels of performance. We present Warwick’s classification as an alternative method for parsing distinctions between cyborg enhancements keeping in mind the fluidity of some of these, and our, categories—namely that Warwick’s case 3 technology may only be a matter of a software rewrite away from a case 4 technology and that a prosthesis in our table may also have direct neural links.

Table 1. Overview of Cyborg Enhancement Technologies.

Enhancement Type/Category Description Significant Example

I. General External Enhancements to the Body

Prostheses to Replace or Restore Lost Functions Prostheses are becoming more controllable through the use of control theory principles, and are integrally connected to the body, upgradable, and under some circumstances controlled by thought via a brain–computer interface (which may or may not be wireless).

Limb Prostheses to Restore Mobility Artificial limb replacement with multiple degrees of freedom, more and more controllable by thought

• DEKA Arm’s, among other, myoelectric and brain-controlled prosthesis [8]. See also ’modifying the brain’ in part III of this table.

Philosophies 2017, 2, 4 3 of 18

Table 1. Cont.

Enhancement Type/Category Description Significant Example

Retinal Prosthesis to Restore Vision Rectify visual sense degradation; provide enhancement to visual sense

• Implantable Miniature Telescope for treatment of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) [9]

• Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, an implanted device to treat adults with severe retinitis pigmentosa. The System has three parts: a small electronic device implanted in and around the eye, a tiny video camera attached to a pair of glasses, and a video processing unit that is worn or carried by the patient [10]

Cochlear Implant to Restore Hearing

Improve auditory sensitivity, the implant consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin

• Med-Els SYNCHRONY Cochlear Implant [11]

Computing Attachment as Enhancement Increasing our computational resources through technology directly integrated with our bodies allows us to scale our capabilities, senses, and interaction with our environment and with external technology. Insomuch as wearable computing integrates with our senses and responds to our thoughts, it represents a significant move towards becoming a cyborg.

Computing Device Worn by the Body Extraneous computing directly integrated with prosthetic part • Jerry Jalava’s USB Fingertip [12]

Direct-interface wearable computing, such devices allow information to be projected into the world whenever and wherever it is needed

• Steve Mann’s Eyetap Wearable Computer [13]

• Google Glass [14]

Computing Grafted onto the Body Attached computing device providing sensory input

• Neil Harbisson’s “Eyeborg” auditory-augmented vision, allows color to be heard [15]

Attached computing not directly integrated with the brain but accessible by the user and others with wireless capability

• Rob Spence’s eye camera records and transmits images [16]

Epidermal Enhancement Epidermal printed circuits on the surface of the skin

• Biostamp digital tattoo interacts with smartphones [17,18]

Attached via surface • Cyborg Nest’s magnetic

north sensor attached by surface-to-surface “barbells” [19]

II. Enhancement Technology Implanted Within Body

Passive Implant Cyborg technology implanted within the body, such technology might not interact with the body through a feedback loop but be worn by the body, either collecting or storing information.

Radio Frequency (RF) or Wi-Fi Subcutaneous Technology

Programmable storage/transmitter implanted under the skin

• RFID chips for location and medical information [20]

• Anthony Antonellis “Net Art Tattoo” sends pictures to smartphones [21]

Interactive implanted chips/LEDs • LED tattoos’ programmable lights [22]

Active/Sensor Implants Implants with closed-loop feedback coupled with computational capabilities providing medical information, technological interaction, and extra-sensory input.

Biometric Sensors Closed-loop measurement systems

• Heart pacemaker & defibrillator monitor and correct heart function [23]

• Inflammation treatment implants: a nerve stimulator that interfaces between the immune and nervous system to treat a broad range of inflammation-related diseases, from diabetes to congestive heart failure [24]

Open-loop measurement systems

• Implantable sensors measure and transmit glucose levels [25]

• Tim Cannon’s “Circadia” measures temperature [26]

Non-Medical Functional Implants Extra-sensory detection • Moon Ribas’ seismic sensor vibrates to earthquakes [27]

Philosophies 2017, 2, 4 4 of 18

Table 1. Cont.

Enhancement Type/Category Description Significant Example

Functional computational implants

• Tooth implanted microphone/speaker [28]

• Brain activated wireless controller [29]

Interfacing with Nervous System This class of implants are more thoroughly integrated with the body and provide higher levels of integration with the wearer. Through this integration, the feedback loops their systems create can be considered artificial extensions of our own body’s.

Direct Nervous System Interfacing Nerve to nerve and nerveto machine communication

• Kevin Warwick’s proof-of-concept research allowing him to control a robot arm and to create artificial sensation [30] (Warwick also experimented with BrainGate technology which is a neural interface allowing movement of an external device using thought)

Recreating Sensation Computer generated sensation transmitted to nerves

• “Bionic” fingertip creates sensation of roughness in amputee [31]

III. Brain Enhancement or Modification

Neuron Control Technologies that directly interface with the brain are the height of cyborg integration. This first class deals with interfaces with the least specificity, generally used to suppress large groups of neuron clusters affected by disease.

Suppressing Neuron Activity Implants to control neuron groups • Deep brain stimulation for treatment of movement disorders [32]

External brain stimulation • Transcranial direct-current

stimulation for treatment of depression (and others) [33]

Reading the Mind To interface with the brain, technology is required to observe neuron activity and technology is required to affect specific neuron groups. Neuron activity is first measured, then translated by a computer, and finally sent as some form of output, the most compelling of which are affective of other neuron groups—that is, a direct mind link. Telepathy, new sensations, and expanded senses are all resultant technologies from this area of cyborg enhancement.

Interacting with Technology Linking thoughts of movement with limbs

• Battelle Memorial Institute partially restores motor control in paralyzed hand via brain chip [34]

• Similar techniques can be used to control a robotic arm [35]

Modifying the Brain Linking thoughts between subjects • Electroencephalogram linked minds coordinated in virtual game [36]

Linking sensory areas between subjects • Miguel Nicolelis directly linked

senses between two animal subjects [37]

Influencing Memory The specificity required to read and create neuron activity in relation to senses and thought can also be applied to memory, the recursive core of the human self. Cyborg technologies that influence memory can create and dismantle identity as well as cure degenerative disease, assist in learning, and expand knowledge bases.

Memory Encoding Aid in memory creation • Theodore Berger’s artificial hippocampus [38]

Aid in memory retrieval • DARPA Restoring Active Memory program [39]

Memory Content Memory modification • MIT’s Ramirez & Liu creating false memories in lab mice [40]

IV. Exoskeletons and Mobility Aids

Prostheses of Heightened Function While not technically separate in cyborg classification from ‘normal’ prostheses, these prostheses tend to be more non-anthropomorphic, have reduced thought control functions, and have more specific design specifications intended to enhance certain abilities.

Sports Prostheses Provide performance greater than the biological analogues’

• Ossur’s Cheetah Xtend [41] • Hugh Herr’s climbing prosthetic [42]

Philosophies 2017, 2, 4 5 of 18

Table 1. Cont.

Enhancement Type/Category Description Significant Example

Exoskeletons Technology designed around existing limbs to increase mobility. These enhancements can greatly increase our natural capabilities or restore lost functionality. All are closed-loop feedback systems with the body, and, in addition, the powered exoskeletons contain computational systems which increase their level of cyborg enhancement.

Unpowered Mechanical extensions of limbstowards performance goal • Powerskip aids in dramatically

increasing jump height [43]

Powered Load Reinforcement Power-assisted leg exoskeletons designed to take loads off wearer

• Hugh Herr MIT’s load bearing leg exoskeleton [44]

Powered Mobility Assist Powered and computer controlled leg exoskeletons for walking

• Homayoon Kazerooni’s exoskeleton [45]

1.1. Medical Necessity Creates Cyborgs

With Table 1 as background for the discussion which follows, recently people’s bodies have become enhanced by use of technology with computational capabilities (that is, have become more “cyborg”), based on medical necessity; for example, debilitating disease affecting the central nervous system in the case of Parkinson’s patients, or due to accidents or injuries (see [46] for additional examples of cyborgs). One example of a current cyborg is Jerry Jalava who, after suffering injuries sustained from a motorcycle accident, embedded a 2 GB USB drive on the tip of his prosthetic finger, essentially converting his finger into a hard drive; however, unlike other cyborg technologies, the USB drive isn’t permanently fused to his finger, instead its inside a rubber tip that fits directly onto the nub of his prosthesis [12]. In contrast, another DIY cyborg, Tim Cannon, has integrated technology directly into his body by implanting a computer chip in his arm that can record and transmit biometrical data [26]. The above devices compute and provide information to the wearer, both characteristics of cyborg technology and of being a cyborg.

Considering cyborg enhancements (Table 1), as indicated by Dietrich and Laerhoven [47], interesting questions are raised related to how technology mediates the relation of person to the “world and self” as reflected in Verbeek’s work, which is a postphenomenological approach that technology only bears meaning in a use context (e.g., how cyborg technology is actually used), and specifically the concept of embodied interaction [48]. In fact, the concept of "embodiment" is at the center of phenomenology, which rejects the Cartesian separation between mind and body on which many traditional philosophical approaches are based. In place of the Cartesian model, phenomenology explores our experiences as embodied actors interacting in the world, participating in it, and acting through it, in the absorbed and unreflective manner of normal experience. In terms of our identity resulting from the use of cyborg enhancements (see [3] and [48]), Locke’s discussion of personal identity is relevant [49] to the technology presented in this paper. To Locke, personal identity is a matter of psychological continuity, a person psychologically evolves from “an adventure” (that is, becoming cybernetically enhanced) to a new evolved identity (say a transhuman), afterwards, the person’s desires, intentions, experiential memories, and character traits may reflect the reality of a new cyborg identity.

Considering the above discussion, an interesting question is how one’s perception of their body, that is, their embodiment, is affected by cyborg technologies—for example, are cyborg parts considered an extension of the body, or as separate from the body creating a new sense of identity for an individual? And will one’s sense of identity change with the use of neuroprosthetic devices that allow memories to be edited, stored, and transferred? Surely one’s sense of identity will be radically altered if one’s experiences and memories become artificial and not necessarily tied to actual experiences. Additionally, in the coming cyborg age, will enhancements to human abilities, for example, in the form of telephoto vision or the ability to detect magnetic fields, change not only our functionality but our sense of experiencing the world?

Philosophies 2017, 2, 4 6 of 18

On the point of increasing the computational capabilities of the body, for Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence, loss of vision was the motivating factor for converting him into a cyborg [16]. After an accident left him partially blind, he decided to create his own electronic eye in the form of a camera, which can be used to record everything he sees just by looking around. Even more interesting, though, the eye-camera has wireless capability; the system could allow another person to access his video feed and view the world through his artificial right eye. Unlike with a biological eye, Spence can upgrade the hardware and software of his cyborg enhancement. In our view the ability to upgrade the body is a major benefit of becoming a cyborg (and is likewise a fundamental characteristic of a cyborg) and essentially allows people to transcend human abilities resulting from evolution. It would be easy to imagine fundamentally new ways of seeing, experiencing, and feeling the world through these enhancements.

Given that necessity spawns invention, people paralyzed from spinal cord injuries are beginning to receive brain implant technology which may allow them to move again. How does the technology work? Generally, the “cyborg technology” bypasses the patient’s severed spine by sending a signal from the brain directly to technology placed on the patient’s muscles [36,45,46]. In the procedure, the surgeons first map the exact spot in the patient’s motor cortex that control the muscles in a particular part of the body, then implant a tiny computer chip at that location. The next step is to “teach the chip” how to read the patient’s thoughts. This is done by placing the patient inside an MRI machine where the patient watches a video of a hand moving in specific ways and at the same time imagines moving his own hand that way. The implanted chip reads the brain signals, decodes them, and translates them into electrical signals where they are transmitted to the muscles of the patient’s forearm. Next, the patient is “plugged into” technology by running a cable from his skull to a computer and then to electrodes on his arm. Effectively, when the patient focuses his mind on moving his hand, it moves. This aspect of cyborg technology—creating a feedback loop between the body and technology—is not only a characteristic of what it means to be a cyborg but a potential “game changer” in connecting our senses and mind to external technology (especially to control the technology using thought), and, given appropriately powerful new technologies, may even influence our sense of experiencing that world. However, this experimental and developing cyborg technology, still needs improvement before it will become common treatment for paralyzed patients and accessible to other populations (for different reasons than medical necessity); for example, it needs to be wireless so there is not a cable plugged into the skull and researchers need to figure out a way to send a signal from the body back to the brain (that is, close the feedback loop) so the patient can sense when his body is moving [6].

As another example of an implantable device which is used due to medical necessity, Setpoint, a technology company, is developing computing therapies to reduce systemic inflammation by stimulating the vagus nerve using an implantable pulse generator [24]. This device works by activating the body's natural inflammatory reflex to dampen inflammation and improve clinical signs and symptoms. Thus far, the company is developing an implanted neuromodulation device to treat rheumatoid arthritis, a disease currently afflicting over two million people in the U.S. alone. Each advance in cyborg devices spurred by medical necessity is leading to advances in technology which make the body more computational, with closed-loop feedback and upgradeable technology, and in some cases controllable by thought—these are all characteristics of the future direction of cyborg technologies.

1.2. Enhancements, Thought Control, and Communication

Even with the brain’s tremendous complexity (estimated to be 85–100 billion neurons, with 100 trillion synaptic connections) as shown in the table above, progress is being made towards the integration of the human brain with machines and sensors—this idea will ultimately allow the brain to be “cognitively enhanced” and to have additional computational capabilities [6]. For example, researchers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, have developed a thought-controlled bionic leg which uses neuro-signals from the upper leg muscles to control a prosthetic knee and ankle [50].

Philosophies 2017, 2, 4 7 of 18

The prosthesis uses pattern recognition software contained in an on-board computer to interpret electrical signals from the upper leg as well as mechanical signals from the bionic leg. When the person equipped with the prosthesis thinks about moving his leg, the thought triggers brain signals that travel down his spinal cord, and ultimately, through peripheral nerves, are read by electrodes in the bionic leg, which then moves in response to the proceeding thought.

Among other things, what’s interesting about the human enhancement movement is that it’s not just major research centers that are developing thought controlled prosthesis and other enhancement technologies, hackers are beginning to enter the fray which will increase the speed at which the body will become computational (from a digital sense) and will challenge our sense of identity as a new technologically enhanced person. Take body hacker and inventor Shiva Nathan, a teenager, who after being inspired to help a family member who lost both arms below the elbow, created a robotic arm which can be controlled by thought [51]. The technology uses a commercially available MindWave Mobile headset to read EEG waves and uses Bluetooth to send the data to a computer which then translates them into limited finger and hand movements. In addition, in Sweden, researchers at Ch


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