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"ContRole" Reversal

rubikscube's picture

 What really stuck out to me in Clark’s essay was the image of Stelarc’s third robotic arm. Stelarc was able to control his mechanical arm using his own stomach and leg muscles, along with controlling one of his biological arms. But his other biological arm was being controlled by a computer, with the help of an operator. As a computer science major, I study how I can control a computer, so I've never really thought about a computer controlling me. This reversal of control really make me think about what a cyborg really is. I have this concept of a cyborg as half-human, half-machine (like Doctor Octopus from Spiderman). To me, a cyborg means that technology becomes a part of you, but that you still have control over the machinery. This is why I’ve never bought into the whole “robots are going to take over the world!” mentality. But now that we have this example of a computer controlling human muscles through voltage bursts, I don’t envision the logical next step, writing software to control the human body, being that great of a leap. And if we can use software to dictate a person’s movements, how long before we can stimulate the neurons in a brain to make people have certain thoughts? But I don’t think we are, as Clark suggests, all destined to become cyborgs. To me a cyborg is a harmonious relationship between human and machine, in which humans maintain separation and control. In this example and throughout the Clark and Haraway readings, they eliminate this idea of control and put machines on a level equal to humans.



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