Here we have Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto and the quote “Our machines are frighteningly lively; and we ourselves frighteningly inert”. Let’s do a little dancing here to see if we can unpack the depths of this ideology.

Now, Haraway defines the cyborg in four different ways; “cybernetic organism”, “a hybrid of machine and organism”, “a creature of lived social reality”, and “creature of fiction.” Each equally deserving of their own unpacking, but perhaps a topic for another blog.

As a hybrid of machine and organism, it is difficult to see where one begins and the other ends, and as we move forward into the 21st century, these borders become ever more transparent and meaningless. Perhaps it’s best not to look at the difference between organism and machine as bounded but as one in another. Yin and Yang. “The boundary between physical and non-physical is very imprecise for us.”

Cinematically, the notion of machine and organism predate me, but tell a bigger story as we’ve come to understand cyborgs as intertwined in our culture and race. Who remembers RoboCop? Terminator? Nemesis? Probably everybody except younger millennials. Let’s move forward. Bicentennial Man? Ex-Machina? AI? There is definitely an evolving trend away from mechanical prosthetics body parts and into deeper meaning of artificial intelligence here bringing light to the optical illusion of borders.

“Our machines are frighteningly lively; and we ourselves frighteningly inert.” Whether we look at Andrew, Ava, or David, these characters are frighteningly lively, so much so that those around them often forget just how unreal they are. “[The] source of insight and promise of innocence – is undermined, probably fatally.”

AI and Cyborgs are not a thing of the future. They weren’t a thing of the future in ’84 when Haraway wrote Cyborg Manifesto. Micro-smart-bots are being used in several industries perhaps with the most promise in the medical field. Medical Microbots Take a Fantastic Voyage Into Reality.

Yes, the days of innocence are gone with natural order. But like all technologies, it is a race to the finish line, as if there is a finish line, with the winner holding power over the rest. Needless to say, the race is only getting more intense with the stakes, and while certain industries and governments are bound to explore ever more efficient machines, the rest of us are losing ground.

As for ourselves, and being frighteningly inert. Cancers, diseases, and the like are destroying millions of lives and things are not looking up – microbots or not. Sure, machines are making our lives easier, but there putting people out of work and out of business, and few too many are able to deal with the structural changes before them.

However, things aren’t so black and white. Organism versus machine, male versus female, Yin versus Yang. Seven billion and counting and we’re all supposed to fit on one side or the other? In a world as diverse as ours I don’t understand why we even require labels. Male, female, bIack, white, green – who cares.

I suppose hospitals are set up to deal with gender as one or the other, but again is this really necessary? Trans-, cis- or other, does it really define anything or anyone. No. It’s just a binary label, and these politics are completely irrelevant. Not that it end in the hospitals – schools, public building, etc. I remember this being an issue when I was in high school. There was a student who chose a path less traveled and was not wanted or welcomed in the men’s or woman’s locker rooms, and the school board was not equipped to deal with the situation, and unfortunately this is all too common of a situation.

I have high hopes for society, and I not only welcome but embrace change. I hope the rest of you feel the same.

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