Man versus Machine. It’s one of Sci-Fi’s most reliable tropes; the theme plays heavily on society’s fear that, in time, technology will surpass our humanity. But what about the idea of combiningman and machine? Improving or repairing the human body with gears instead of stitches, with motherboards instead of a mother’s love?
There are, after all, cyborgs that already walk among us. War-torn soldiers are given prosthetic limbs capable of linking with neural pathways. Pacemakers help to regulate abnormal heart rhythms, changing millions of lives around the globe. But there is always room for improvement, and Hollywood usually finds a way to deliver it to the big screen.
With that in mind, this list will not include individuals with simple prosthetics, like a pacemaker or robotic foot. It will also leave out fan-favorites like the Terminator (and his buddies), as they are actually robots surrounded by living tissue, not enhanced humans. Unfortunately, synthetic humans will also get the axe – the Replicants from Bladerunner don’t qualify here, even though they hold a special place in our hearts.
Here are the 10 greatest Cyborgs in the history of cinema.
One of the most easily recognizable (and controversial) Cyborgs in Hollywood history, Robocop is a technological marvel; everything but his face, cerebrum, and cerebellum has been replaced with a firefight-ready body, complete with state-of-the-art armor and a hip-stored 9mm cannon.
The original 1987 Robocop has catapulted into cult-classic territory. Officer James Murphy – the rebuilt (and revamped) hero inside the legendary suit – delivers fantastic deadpan one-liners while blowing away waves of helpless bad guys. In short, it’s fantastic.
The loss of two legs, a spleen, a bladder, thirty-plus feet of small intestine, and, um, certain reproductive parts would put most men in the grave. Dr. Arliss Loveless is not most men, and survives these grievous injuries. Putting along in a nifty team-powered wheel-chair, the man continues to perfect his plans for global domination, somehow managing to dress like a true gentleman every step of the way.
In a series of pure Wild West power moves, Loveless surrounds himself with a cohort of stunning (and lethal) female sidekicks, creates a whole bunch of steam-powered machines of war, and turns himself into a creepy mechanical spider. *Shivers* Quite unnecessary, really.
Wild Wild West might have been down-right AWFUL, but Dr. Loveless remains one of the better cyborgs in film.
Astronaut Steve Austin crashes an experimental space craft, barely surviving the catastrophe. He is rebuilt by the shadowy Office of Scientific Intelligence, reborn as a super-spy with a whole set of bionic limbs. His right arm, left eye, and both legs are replaced with cybernetic implants; these implants imbue him with superhuman speed and strength, basically transforming him into a Cyborg James Bond.
Everyone not living under a rock is familiar with Lee Majors and the iconic Six Million Dollar Man franchise. It’s a staple of Western television and one of the first shows to wow audiences with its use of slow motion scenes in combat. Plus, Majors kicked so much tail in the role that even Wahlberg wants a piece of the action.
“We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was… Better…stronger…faster.” It still gets usevery time!
Yikes, if ever there were a Cyborg that stole the hearts of a generation, it would be Number Six. Tricia Helfer plays the seductive yet menacing Cylon in Battlestar Galactica, and it’s quite possible that a large portion of the franchise’s success is due to her performance. She (and the rest of the new breed of Cylons) are flesh and blood, but with a digitalized DNA sequence that allows enhanced abilities and downloadable memories.
The Sci-Fi TV two-part movie (based loosely on the original 1960’s show) evolved into one television’s most popular science fiction series; over the course of four fantastic seasons, the show delved deeply into the meaning of humanity, blurring the line between man and machine with every plot twist and stunning new discovery.
Does the original Dark Lord really need an explanation? There’s not a single person breathing who would argue against the inclusion THE cybernetically-enhanced human whose iconic mask (and theme song) are pillars of all things Evil.
Vader was even bad-ass enough to survive through the God-awful origin story that the Star Wars prequels spun – that in itself is actually far more impressive than surviving a quick dip in a lava pit.
AOL co-founder, Steve Case, is one of the leading pioneers of the technology. In his new book, “The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future”, he summarizes the need for taking the “world wide web,” aka the Internet, to the next level which he refers to in his book as the Third Wave of the digital revolution.
The “First Wave,” America Online, was pioneered and co-founded by Case in 1985 which involved only three percent of people appearing online for one hour a week. AOL and other similar companies laid a solid foundation for the “Second Wave” that involved Facebook and Google, thus further expanding the Internet with social networking and search engine abilities. Hence, Case now holds a standing stating that the “Third Wave” must indeed integrate the Internet into every possible aspect of people’s lives.
Challenging as it sounds, incorporating Internet into daily activities like education and health care involves participation of government and many active roles according to Case. Focusing on development of software and applications alone is not sufficient, the Government and Institutions must be involved to draw a bigger picture.
Involving Government, collaboration of bigger companies with entrepreneurs will help spur innovation by shaping policies and making it easier to raise money for research and development with startups. For the “Third Wave” to flourish and become a huge success, exploring and experimenting together is essential. Only then can the world be ready for the new digital era according to Case.
Chris Urmson, lobbyist for, and director of, Google’s Self-driving Car division, will soon be lobbying senators for federal help in getting driver-less cars to the public market. He is expected to pitch to the Senate Commerce Committee that the technology will improve safety, and cut costs for roads, trains and buses with the notion that robot cars will save us from ourselves. But will they?
The president seems to think so, as he offered $4 billion of tax-payer money to help fund the project, and the U.S. Transportation Department tends to agree, saying that automated vehicles would be able to drive closer together which would allow for more cars on the road and higher speeds without the risk of human error. Plus, congestion would be decreased due to the fact that each car can be GPS’d to a server to look for open parking spaces.
However, a few skeptics wonder if this new invention would make congestion better or worse. The fad of having a self-driving car may deter people from using public transportation and there may inevitably be more independent cars on the road.
From cyber relationships, S&M culture and child abuse to biohacking, content moderation and nootropics, Dark Net finally puts into moving pictures what blogs have been typing up a storm about for the past few years.
At first glance the show seems like your run-of-the-mill cyber culture documentary, but the topics being explored are of a much more taboo persuasion — and it’s not just the underground pedophile networks accessed via Tor we’re talking about.
While Dark Net covers a lot of ground in technology subculture, it also serves as a bit of a transhumanist playground, discussing cutting edge and controversial topics such as RFID chip implants and other biohacks, nootropics, artificial intelligence girlfriends, and more. The main topic, however, seems to be the nature of human relationships being altered, augmented, and even hindered by technology, and it’s not difficult to understand why.
Through the internet, the impact of technology on our lives is both unprecedented and undeniable. Exploring subcultures and trends such as sadomasochism, porn addiction, and even internet addiction, Dark Net attempts to bring to light some otherwise undisclosed topics the most people refuse to talk about openly.
Dark Net is on Showtime, Thursday nights.
Public enema xenomorphic robot from the dimension Zrgauddon.
Luke’s missing hand is supposed to foreshadow that he is becoming more like Vader, and as the new trailer demonstrates, Luke is destined to eventually succumb to the dark side of the force.
Modern prosthesis in the real world are becoming more functional, including the ability to control movement of prosthetic limbs through brainwave reading technology, and in some cases directly attaching electronics to nerve tissue. These movement-controlling features are one way, with the brain signals ordering a machine to following commands properly.
Just around the corner from now, prosthesis will be able to send signals back to the brain, allowing the user to experience a sense of touch in their artificial limb. When this technology becomes available, the brain will actually be communicating with an artificial limb, an external piece of machinery that can influence the brain and create false impressions in specific areas of the mind.
The Star Wars movies don’t always explain how their technology works but there is an obvious symbolic pattern. When characters in Star Wars get an artificial limb, it works better than anything we have in the real world, today. It looks like a real hand, blending seamlessly with the humanoid it’s attached to. Most importantly, it can feel, even feel pain when a robotic tool pokes his fingers to test the tactile sensitivity.
Luke’s new hand can receive signals from his brain but it can also send signals back into his brain. Symbolically, this is the beginning of Luke’s long journey to the dark side. Luke is becoming more like his father in more than one way.
When this thought initially struck me, I went so far as to speculate that maybe the dark side of the force lives within the machinery, the computerized components of the Star Wars universe’s technology. There are some other examples of the light side of the force helping Luke aim photon torpedoes in order to blow up the original Death Star, which he did by specifically abandoning the computerized guidance system.
The flaw in this theory is this: The Emperor is the only character who can use the dark side of the force besides Darth Vader, when the original Trilogy, A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi were made. The Emperor doesn’t seem to have prostheses.
Back in our world it’s a dangerous precedent to associate cybernetics with evil, as workable prostheses become more likely to happen and a superstition associated with artificial limbs could become a form of bigotry against the disabled people who use prostheses. While no one wants to create a false worry, making a fully tactile prosthetic hand would actually involve manipulating the brain and indeed the mind itself.