Individuals and social groups have always been cyborgs because we have always existed in tandem with technology. Today, with the vast proliferation and diffusion of new technologies throughout society, techno-human syntheses occur in more aspects of our lives than ever before. Advances in medicine augment our bodies with technology (e.g., pills, pacemakers, IUDs, breast implants, Viagra, contact lenses). Communication is increasingly technologically mediated (e.g., radio, television, the web). We are experiencing a proliferation of personal devices like the smart phone, which is, essentially, a computer we carry with us wherever we go, often sleeping with them at our bedsides and using them check our profiles and messages first thing in the morning. It is not difficult to imagine a future where we begin to look like the cyborgs found in movies; however, our definition goes far beyond the half-human, half-robots propelled into the popular imaginary by science fiction and cyberpunk because technology is about more than electronics. The layout of a prison or a school is a technology of discipline; language is a technology of thought and communication; cultural norms themselves are technologies of social organization—in every instance, technology is the product of a particular historical moment and it becomes integrated into the social life of that period.
Our focus is as broad as these examples suggest, but we most often focus on new technologies. Today, the reality is that both the digital and the material constantly augment one another to create a social landscape ripe for new ideas. As Cyborgologists, we consider both the promise and the perils of living in constant contact with technology.
Cyborgology was created by Nathan Jurgenson and PJ Rey. Visit the Editors & Authors page to learn more about the entire Cyborgology crew. Logo and header by Ned Drummond. Society Pages site design by Jon Smajda.