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message 1: by Tomas (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 444 comments There's something that came to my mind: where people draw the line between human, cyborg and robot? What defines cyborg? Free will? Fully humanoid look(at least sculpted face instead of piece of metal)? Biological features (artificial skin, etc)? Something else?

Is human wearing an exo-skeleton considered a cyborg? Is it only if the suit contains a CPU that enhances the human's perception beyond normal senses?
Is robot with biological cover a cyborg, but without it just a robot (T-800 terminators with or without artificial skin)? Is human using hi-tech prosthetic limbs (or other body parts) considered a cyborg?

I am curious about what readers think in that matter...


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments I've always thought of cyborgs as equal parts human and machine: a lot of robotics but also a lot of biologicals.

Robots, even sentient ones, are 100% machinery.


message 3: by Trike (new)

Trike I use “cyborg” in the original sense of someone who uses artificial means to enhance or replace their abilities. At the simplest level, someone with glasses is a cyborg. Pacemakers, dentures, hearing aids, implanted insulin pumps, artificial limbs or joints, cochlear implants, all lie somewhere on the scale of Simple <—> Complex cyborgs.

Someone who’s had laser eye surgery wouldn’t be a cyborg, because there’s no additive thing to augment their vision. Same for things like replacing a collapsed vein, or an organ transplant. Now, if the new kidney or heart were to be artificial, then that would make them a cyborg.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the day when I can upload my mind into an android body. I don’t know what that type of creature is, since it’s a robot given motivation by a recording of a living person’s thoughts/memories. It’s not AI and not a cyborg. Mandroid?


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments Trike wrote: "I use “cyborg” in the original sense of someone who uses artificial means to enhance or replace their abilities. At the simplest level, someone with glasses is a cyborg. Pacemakers, dentures, heari..."

I read a romance where the cyborgs were human altered to machine. They were...programmable vs just having their abilities enhanced - with the plotline about them getting free of the programming.

I'm not sure what to call that, either. The ability to get in there and reprogram takes it into a different area.


message 5: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin | 685 comments My definition of a cyborg would be a Human with electronic/mechanical parts and limbs integrated to a Human body. The hero in the TV show THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN was a good example of a cyborg.

Robots would be purely artificial mechanical and electronic entities using artificial intelligence. In fact, robots don't even need to have human forms. Industrial robots already exist in car assembly plants and are fixed mechanisms with no resemblance to a person or even animal.

A more problematic case is when you transplant a human brain inside a fully robotic body built to sustain that brain and use it as its center of intelligence. I can't remember the title of the movie in which Scarlett Johansson played such a being but that was a good example of such a case. I can't really call it a robot, as it has a human biological part (the brain), so I would call it an android, a term I would classify halfway between a cyborg and a robot.


message 6: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie (lizzie_bobbins) | 92 comments Michel wrote: "I can't remember the title of the movie in which Scarlett Johansson played such a being but that was a good example of such a case..."

Was it 'Lucy'? I really enjoyed that film, although I thought it tried to do a lot in a relatively short space of time, it would have been awesome as a series!


colleen the convivial curmudgeon (blackrose13) | 2674 comments I couldn't watch Lucy once they did the whole "human's only use 10% of their brain" in the trailer.




message 8: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1436 comments What is human? Philip K. Dick made an entire career out of that question.

What is a cyborg? There's no consistent definition as to how much augmentation makes a cyborg (as Trike said, you might include someone with glasses, although since those were not actually a part of the person, I don't think anyone takes it quite that far) but there is a generally accepted consensus that a cyborg is a blend of biological and mechanical. There's an artist, for example, who is color blind and who has had an implant put in his brain attached to a camera so he can "hear" colors. He considers himself a cyborg. To me, as long as there is a blend of tech and biology (where the tech has become an actual part of the body) you've got a cyborg.

What's a robot? Technically it's a 100% electromechanical being. But there are further stratifications of mechanical beings. Again, there's no universally accepted agreement on these terms, but a lot of writers only use "robot" for non-humanoid synthetic machines (sentient or not). "Android" is often used to demark humanoid robots.

Now, when you start getting into gray areas like a digitized human mind actualized in a synthetic body, there are likely to be arguments about what to call that. Me? I'd call that a posthuman. Cyborgs could be considered transhuman (a transitional phase between human and posthuman, a transhuman being a human enhanced by biotech and/or electromechanical means).


message 9: by Tomas (last edited May 01, 2018 08:45AM) (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 444 comments I would probably not consider someone a cyborg unless the alteration would be massive. Someone with bionic artificial body parts is still human and it would probably need some kind of mini computer to be considered a cyborg.

What I would definitely consider a cyborg is situation like Laurence Barnes/Prophet in Crysis series who uses biomechanical exosuit that completely enhances him (having navigation, HUD, radio or even defibrilator as part of the suit) and is even bound to his DNA and can, on its own, modify itself. Compared to that, bionic limb is nothing.
By the way, the person behind creating the combat suits call them 'post-human warriors' which would agree with what you said.

T-800 in Terminator movies calls himself a cyborg despite being machine that uses biological parts as camouflage and not actually as part of its design, meaning it's optional layer with no impact on functionality and is still probably just a sentient robot with advanced AI.

As for the term 'robot', it is definitely used for humanoid creations as well - I, robot is good example of that.


message 10: by Micah (last edited May 02, 2018 09:07AM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1436 comments Tomas wrote: "As for the term 'robot', it is definitely used for humanoid creations as well - I, robot is good example of that."

It has been used for humanoid robots for sure, but the modern use of the term is much more restricted to non-humanoid machines. Or maybe think of it as 'robot' is the general category while terms like mechanoid or android are sub-classes thereof.

A good example of what I'm seeing in use today is The Corporation Wars trilogy by Ken MacLeod (The Corporation Wars: Insurgence, The Corporation Wars: Dissidence, and The Corporation Wars: Emergence

There are 'robots,' both sentient and non-sentient machines which are non-humanoid, and then there are 'humans' who are actually digitally stored copies of (formerly?) dead people, existing (possibly) in a computer simulation who are sometimes ported over into tiny humanoid machines (frames) which are called mechanoids to differentiate them from the robots.

In the 50s and 60s robots often included humanoid machines. But the term 'android' in the modern sense was first used as early as 1886 and is much more typically used for humanoid robots than just 'robot' is.

And, interestingly enough, the term 'robot' is actually NEWER than android, as it comes from the 1920 Czech play R.U.R., or Rossum's Universal Robots. It's origin is from the Czech word robota, or ‘forced labor.’

Ja tvoi sluga, Ja tvoi rabotnik. ~ Kraftwerk

(P.S. Kraftwerk used 'robot' when singing about humanoid machines ... so, as I said up above, there's no fixed use of either term! ... And Disney uses the term animatron, go figger.)


message 11: by Tomas (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 444 comments Well, since I am from Czech Republic, I know the origin of the word though I did not know the background behind android.
Anyway, the main point is that while it might be universal and android might be used more these days, robot is still used even for humanoid creations. Plus for convenience, it's shorter.
Who knows, maybe even this will evolve over time and in 20-30 years, the terminology might shift again.


message 12: by Trike (last edited May 02, 2018 12:22PM) (new)

Trike Regarding the Terminator, that series really encompasses the range of artificial life forms in the cyborg-android-robot spectrum.

While the T-800 version (Schwarzenegger) is technically a cyborg — created machine + organic flesh — I think most people consider a cyborg to be someone (or something) organic which started out as a natural organic creature that is later augmented with machined parts. Terminators go the other way: a machine that is augmented with a human exterior.

It’s really a robot in disguise. But not a Transformer. :)

I can’t find another term for those. Which means we can coin one! My first thought is “orgbot”. Looks weird, but I kinda like it. EDIT: “orbot” sounds better to me without the the glottal stop. Although autocorrect really wants that to be “robot”.

As far as I know, “android” has always designated a human-shaped robot. I’ve never seen a robot dog called an android, for instance. So Terminators are androids. Especially the T-X version of Terminator 3, which has human form but no organic parts. The mimetic alloy T-1000 of Terminator 2, which can be any shape but apparently defaults to humanoid, is probably technically a pure robot without qualifier, but it always reverts to man-shaped, so I guess we can call it an android.

I’m not sure what the T-3000 of Terminator: Genisys is. On the one hand, it’s an artificial creature comprised of nanotechnology, which they call “nanocyte”, but it’s hard to tell if it is merely mimicking a human or if it has taken over a human.


message 13: by Tomas (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 444 comments In this regard, the best representation of actual cyborg would be Marcus Wright from Terminator: Salvation, who was infused with inner skeleton of metal.


message 14: by Trike (new)

Trike Tomas wrote: "In this regard, the best representation of actual cyborg would be Marcus Wright from Terminator: Salvation, who was infused with inner skeleton of metal."

Good point. I had completely forgotten that character. And that movie. Weird.

Going through my movie/TV database...

Star Wars
Robot - R2D2, BB-8, K2SO (maybe android?), Chopper
Android - C3PO, Battle Droid
Cyborg - Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker
Orbot - ?

Six Million Dollar Man
Robot - ?
Android - Bigfoot (maybe cyborg?)
Cyborg - Steve Austin, Jamie Summers, Barney Hiller
Orbot - NA

Robocop
Robot - ED209
Android - NA
Cyborg - Robocop
Orbot - NA

Terminator
Robot - T-X, T-1000
Android - all
Cyborg - T-800
Orbot - T-800, T-3000 (?)

Star Trek
Robot - Nomad, V’ger, M-4
Android - Data, Lore, lots of others
Cyborg - Borg, Seven of Nine, Geordi LaForge
Orbot - ?

Battlestar Galactica
This one I’ll leave to others, as I didn’t watch the reboot, but -
Android - Centurions (original show)

Silent Running
Robot - Huey, Dewey, Louie

Doctor Who
Cyborgs - Daleks, Cybermen

Marvel Cinematic Universe
Robot - Jarvis
Android - Vision, Ultron
Cyborg - Ulysses Claw, Rocket, Nebula, Bucky Barnes, Tony Stark

Red Planet
Robot - AMEE (terrible movie, awesome robot)

Lost in Space (original)
Robot - B9, Robby
Android - Verda, IDAK, various duplicate castmembers
Cyborg - planet of cyborgs, Draconians


message 15: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1323 comments Thank gods someone finally mentioned Data the best android ever !


message 16: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1436 comments Rachel wrote: "Thank gods someone finally mentioned Data the best android ever !"

Nope. Sorry, Data is trumped by Kryten from Red Dwarf.

"Ketchup? On LOBSTER?" [head explodes]


message 17: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1323 comments Nah - I’ll stick with the android I was raised with....by...whatever


message 18: by Cristin (new)

Cristin | 6 comments Question on Data -
(view spoiler)

...what is the expiration date for movie spoilers, anyway?


message 19: by Don (new)

Don Dunham I like the definition of Cyborg, a biological being that is dependent on mechanical or electronic devices.


message 20: by Don (new)

Don Dunham if Data achieve sentience how would that impact his membership in the Android guild ?


message 21: by Tomas (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 444 comments Cristin wrote: "...what is the expiration date for movie spoilers, anyway?"

I'd personally say DVD release, no idea how others can see it


MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 2207 comments Don wrote: "if Data achieve sentience how would that impact his membership in the Android guild ?"

I think he did achieve sentience. He just doesn't have emotions or biological parts (except that time the Borg tried to take him).


message 23: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1323 comments I think Data is sentient by most any definition- and of course they played with him having an ‘emotion chip’ quite a bit, plus the time he procreated basically.


message 24: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Tomas wrote: "Cristin wrote: "...what is the expiration date for movie spoilers, anyway?"

I'd personally say DVD release, no idea how others can see it"


Much too soon!


message 25: by Trike (new)

Trike R. Daneel Olivaw from Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel and sequels, is an android, on whom Data was specifically based. Data even has Daneel’s positronic brain. Though the R in his name stands for “Robot”.

And then there’s Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, who has appeared as either more robotic or more androidic depending on the version.

Tik-Tok from L. Frank Baum’s Oz series is a weird combination of robot and android. I’m going with robot for that guy. Googling: first appearance is Ozma of Oz.

A really strange case for me is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Dick calls them androids, obviously, but they’re more like gengineered clones. I always think of androids as mechanical rather than organic, but their quality of being entirely artificial probably grants them a special case. Very much the logical extension of the monster from Frankenstein and the specially-grown people of Brave New World. I don’t think “replicants” is a term that can apply to such creatures in these last two books.

Easy-peasey for me are the women from The Stepford Wives. I finally read this last year and in the book one of the men who creates the wives is specifically called out as a former Disney Imagineer who worked on the audio-animatronics. The Wives are next-level puppets, but definitely mechanical androids.

Merlin from Weber’s Safehold series (Off Armageddon Reef) is another one of those edge cases. He has the virtual mind of a woman soldier (maybe a pilot?), named Nimue, and his body passes examination as organic, but he’s not. I don’t recall what the skin is made of but I don’t think it’s flesh. In fact, I think she originally defaults as a woman when her mind is downloaded into the android, but decides that because the society is medieval that it would be easier to be a man.


message 26: by Jim (new)

Jim Gorman | 33 comments This has been an excellent thread to read and consider, thanks! I think the hardest one for me to figure out is the line between human and cyborg. Currently you can get medical implants to help you live, does that make you a cyborg, or just a human with augmentations. And when does the number of augmentations cross the barrier to make you a cyborg? I am thinking of things like a pacemaker, replacement hip, insulin pump, cochlear implants, etc.


message 27: by Trike (new)

Trike Jim wrote: "This has been an excellent thread to read and consider, thanks! I think the hardest one for me to figure out is the line between human and cyborg. Currently you can get medical implants to help you..."

I suspect the logical place to draw the line is either at “any augmentation at all” or “if it keeps you alive”.

People who have chips implanted into their arms to help them turn on lights and unlock doors don’t feel like cyborgs to me, but then neither do people with pacemakers. Too much Six Million Dollar Man in my youth, I guess.


message 28: by Tomas (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 444 comments It was interesting to see the discussion, I would never think someone a cyborg with just prosthetic - for me the line is "if it keeps you alive beyond normal means". It was interesting to see that some people draw the line elsewhere.


message 29: by Jim (new)

Jim Gorman | 33 comments The Six Million Dollar Man was one of my favorite shows as a kid (yes I am that old). It is funny though how things have changed over time, what was fiction when i was young is normal now, and how things are going so quickly. Like the key fob in the arm, or like my friend who is approved for a study for an implant for her heart (she has had a heart transplant) that will monitor her health levels and email the doctor when serious changes occur, instead of having to set up checkup appointments. Now, while some people nowadays may call that being a cyborg, who knows if that will even be considered more than just an average person in 10 years.


message 30: by Jolinda (new)

Jolinda Tomas wrote: "It was interesting to see the discussion, I would never think someone a cyborg with just prosthetic - for me the line is "if it keeps you alive beyond normal means". It was interesting to see that some people draw the line elsewhere."

Yeah, but you can't just call someone with a pacemaker or an insulin pump a cyborg irl. (They would probably definitely not like it.) I don't know where I would draw the line, though. Probably at something like a percentage. Like if someone was more than 30% artificial, no matter whether it was life saving or not.


message 31: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin | 685 comments For me, a cyborg is someone who has implants, typically limbs or sensory parts (eyes, ears), meant to make them stronger/tougher/faster/better than normal, non-augmented human beings. Those who have implants simply to correct a medical condition are not cyborgs in my opinion.


message 32: by Micah (last edited May 09, 2018 07:39AM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1436 comments These demarcations are all very subjective (which is a statmenet of fact rather than a good/bad thing).

In my mind a cyborg is a binding of the electromechanical with the organic. So pacemakers and brain implants and cameras wired into the auditory nerve to allow you to hear color are all cyborg things. The body had been connected (bound) directly to electromechanical systems. The purpose of the binding is not important. Augmentation or correction, it doesn't matter.

That means things like glasses, laser surgery on eyes, organ transplants with living tissues from a donor or lab grown (i.e. not synthetic), removable prosthetics, etc. do not a cyborg make.

Again, it's all subjective. You just have to look at people like Elon Musk and people like Kelsey Breseman (an engineer at Technical Machine) who ... "points out, we don’t need to fret about becoming cyborgs. We’re already cyborgs: biological matrices augmented by wirelessly connected silicon arrays of various configurations. The problem is that we’re pretty clunky as cyborgs go. We rely on screens and mobile devices to extend our powers beyond the biological..." [forbes.com]

So some people are already defining the cyborg IRL as any biological system that augments itself with tech. In which case a bird that uses a stick to prod insects out of a hiding place is a cyborg.


message 33: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 2285 comments Michel wrote: "For me, a cyborg is someone who has implants, typically limbs or sensory parts (eyes, ears), meant to make them stronger/tougher/faster/better than normal, non-augmented human beings. Those who hav..."

Bingo.


message 34: by Jolinda (new)

Jolinda Yes, I think Michel is on the right track. Implants that are intended to be more, not just replacements. I like that.


message 35: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1323 comments That’s how I’ve thought of it - human with enhancements (versus replacement for the more commonplace things


message 36: by Trike (new)

Trike Micah wrote: "So some people are already defining the cyborg IRL as any biological system that augments itself with tech. In which case a bird that uses a stick to prod insects out of a hiding place is a cyborg. ."

That’s too broad for me. I’ll accept glasses/contacts as the bare definition of a cyborg, but not temporarily using a tool. Anyone with myopia absolutely needs glasses to navigate the world, which is a permanent augmentation as far as I’m concerned. But picking up a magnifying glass to see something really tiny isn’t the same level of need.


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