Journal on this 3 articles and video2

Journal Requirements:Journals must be a minimum of 500 words minimum, and you must reply to at least 2 peers. There is no word limit on peer replies, but you must show that you have engaged with your peers’ responses and not simply said “I agree” or “Great post!” A substantial reply could be anywhere between 50 and 150 words. You are not required, but you are encouraged to continue replying to one another throughout the week. Let’s have some great conversations! Failure to meet the word limit will result in a reduced journal grade. Ad Hominem attacks will not be tolerated. If you disagree with someone, attack the argument, not the person.For every journal, include a summary and analysis of all the texts that you read for the week. Failure to summarize/analyze will result in half credit (or less) for the journal.The prompt (this is separate from the summary/analysis) is a guideline, and will usually be open-ended (i.e. not a question with a right or wrong answer. Additionally, I want you to explore your own thoughts and feelings and ideas along with the texts and the subject matter in order to improve your critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Journal Prompt: In addition to your summary/analysis, watch the following video and respond. Do you agree with Amber Case? Did you learn anything new from this video? Did anything surprise you? (Links to an external site.)


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Ethics and Information Technology 5: 131–137, 2003.
© 2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Cyborg morals, cyborg values, cyborg ethics
Kevin Warwick
Department of Cybernetics, University of Reading, Whiteknights, Reading RG6 6AY, UK
Abstract. The era of the Cyborg is now upon us. This has enormous implications on ethical values for both
humans and cyborgs. In this paper the state of play is discussed. Routes to cyborgisation are introduced and
different types of Cyborg are considered. The author’s own self-experimentation projects are described as central
to the theme taken. The presentation involves ethical aspects of cyborgisation both as it stands now and those
which need to be investigated in the near future as the effects of increased technological power have a more
dramatic influence. An important feature is the potential for cyborgs to act against, rather than for, the interests of
From a cybernetics viewpoint, the boundaries between
humans and machines become almost inconsequential.
Self imposed human subject boundaries are seen as
being nothing more than historical and philosophical
dinosaurs that arise from evolved human mental states.
The human and machine together become an integrated system, a Cyborg, part human part machine.
The question then arises as to what exactly is and
what isn’t a Cyborg. Some could regard a blind man
with his cane (Bateson 1972) as a Cyborg, the cane
feeding important information on the local environment, to the man. Meanwhile a hearing aid for a
deaf person or even a pair of worn glasses could
come into the same category. More recently some
researchers in the field of wearable computers have
become self-professed cyborgs (Pentland 1998).
We have witnessed many intrusions into the human
body beautiful. Cochlea implants are now relatively
common, as indeed are hip replacements; and heart
pacemakers, whilst not being so prolific, continue a
trend in which technology is readily accepted as being
a necessary intrusion. But each of these, and the list
is not conclusive; represent modifications intended to
compensate for deficiencies (Hayles 1999). Even in
these instances the establishment of conceptual limits
and boundaries becomes a complex process.
The situation lands up on more difficult terrain
when, rather than repairing the ineffective parts of
a human body, technology is employed to enhance
normal functioning. Many examples of this already
exist, particularly in the military domain, such as
infra red night sight incorporated into weapon sighting
systems or voice controlled firing mechanisms introduced into the helmet of a fighter pilot. In her
seminal work (Harraway 1985) “A Manifesto for
Cyborgs: Science, Technology and Social Feminism
in the 1980s,” Donna Harraway discussed these
issues as part of the cyborg’s disruption of traditional
categories. Clearly the Cyborg violates the human/
machine distinction.
But should such entities, if indeed they are truly
cyborgs, present an ethical problem? Surely they are
no different to a spider using a web to catch a fly
or a chimpanzee employing a stick with which to
extract termites from a mound, which can be seen
as vital functioning for those creatures. In each case,
although the individual’s physical capabilities take
on a different form and their abilities are possibly
enhanced, their inherent mental state, their consciousness, their perception, has not been altered other than
to the extent of itself concluding what the individual
might be capable of accomplishing.
Where the cyborgs represent a powerful ethical
dilemma is in the case when an individual’s consciousness is modified by the merging of human and
machine. Essentially it is not so much the physical
enhancements or repairs that should be our cause
for concern but where the nature of an individual is
changed by the linking of human and machine mental
functioning. In the case of a human this means linking
technology directly with the human brain or nervous
system, rather than by a connection which is either
external to the nervous system but internal to the body
or even one which is external to both.
To be clear, the type of cyborg considered in this
paper is one in which the cyborg is formed by a human,
machine brain/nervous system coupling. Whilst this
does refer to a relatively narrow definition with respect
to all cyborg possibilities, much of the arguments that
follow are dependant on such a definition.
Connections between technology and the human
nervous system not only affect the nature of the indi-
vidual, raising questions as to the meanings of ‘I’ and
‘self’ but they also directly influence autonomy. An
individual human wearing a pair of glasses, whether
they contain a computer or not, remains respectfully
an autonomous being. Meanwhile a human whose
nervous system is linked to a computer not only puts
forward their individuality for serious questioning but
also, when the computer is part of a network or at least
connected to a network, allows their autonomy to be
It is this latter class of Cyborg that is the subject
of this paper. The main question arising from this
discourse being: when an individual’s consciousness is
based on a part human part machine nervous system,
in particular when they exhibit Cyborg consciousness, will they also hold to Cyborg morals, values
and ethics? These being potentially distinctly different
to human morals, values and ethics. Also, as a
consequence, will cyborgs, acting as post humans,
regard humans in a Nietschian like way (Nietsche
1961) rather akin to how humans presently regard
cows or chimpanzees?
Some may prefer to look through Hollywood-style,
philosophical pink glasses (Harraway 1985) and see
post-human cyborgs as being “conducive to the long
range survival of humans.” Surely it will be the cyborgs
themselves that will make the ultimate pro-human,
anti-human decisions. A missile heading towards an
individual will not cease from its course and disappear, simply because that individual does not like the
thought of missiles or does not exhibit the intelligence
to comprehend them.
Intelligent machines
We now have machines that, many consider exhibit
intelligence of their own (Warwick 1998, 2000). In
most cases this is distinct from human intelligence
and exhibits a number of characteristic properties
when compared to human intelligence. In particular a
number of positive features associated with the performance of machine intelligence can be picked out and
The obvious immediate advantage is that many
computers can carry out as many calculations in the
blink of an eye (about one third of a second) as the
typical human does in a week. Not only that but the
computer will usually get all the results correct.
This processing speed can then be combined with
phenomenal memory capabilities and retrieval. Even
the most cynical amongst us agree that “on any issue
of computing power, if computers do not have the
advantage over human brains already, then they will
certainly have it before too long” (Penrose 1994).
The way an intelligent machine perceives the world
around it depends on how it senses the world. And
here again machines have an enormous advantage over
humans, with the potential ability to sense in such as
the infrared, ultra violet, x-ray and ultrasonic spectra.
All of these are simply not sensed by a stand alone
human. Indeed, as a human we may well have, at some
time, a super intelligent ultra violet being standing
right next to us. However we wouldn’t know it because
we wouldn’t sense the creature.
One problem with the human brain is that it has
evolved to think about and understand the world
around it, as being three dimensional, four dimensional
if we include time as well as space. Humans simply
cannot visualise more than 3 dimensions. This does
not mean that space around us is three dimensional, but
merely that that is how we perceive it because that is
all our brains can cope with. Computers meanwhile are
quite capable of dealing with hundreds of dimensions,
and realising relationships involving these dimensions.
In fact computers have the potential to understand
the world as the ten or eleven dimensional entity that
physicists now regard it as (White and Gribbin 1997).
The biggest advantage of all for machine intelligence is communication. In comparison with the
capabilities of machines, human communication is
so poor as to be embarrassing. Humans start with a
complex set of electro-chemical signals in their brain
and convert them to very slow, mechanical signals,
in order to speak to someone else, nothing more and
nothing less. When they eventually receive the signals
the other person then converts the mechanical sound
waves back to electro-chemical signals and tries to
form some sort of understanding of what the original
signals were all about. A high error rate, language,
dialects and a limitation to serial transmission all
hamper things considerably.
In comparison, machines can communicate round
the world, with very little/no error, using standard
languages, with millions of messages being successfully transmitted and received in parallel. Humans
have developed communication along the human
speech route very little, whereas technology has
developed in leaps and bounds.
Meanwhile other aspects of machine intelligence
chip away at the human bastions of intelligence, as
was discussed at length in QI: The Quest for Intelligence (Warwick 2000) rather like castles in the sand
with the tide coming in. One example in recent years
was in 1998 when IBM’s chess playing computer,
Deep Blue, beat the erstwhile chess champion amongst
humans, Gary Kasparov (Warwick 1998). Each year
a version of the Turing Test is carried out in which
a panel of experts must decide, in discussion with a
number of hidden terminals, whether a computer can
fool the expert into thinking it is a human. In 2001
I was one of 5 experts at the Loebner Competition
held in the Science Museum, London to try out the
Turing idea. I was shocked when 2 of the 5 experts
(not me) picked out one of the machines as being more
human than either of the two humans who were acting
as respondents. Clearly it will not be long before the
Turing Test will be yet another castle in the sand, slipping ignominiously into the sea (Turing 1950; Sparrow
Overall though, from a human point of view, a
number of distinct advantages could be accrued by
becoming a Cyborg.
With a human brain linked to a computer brain, that
individual could have the ability to:

use the computer part for rapid maths
call on an internet knowledge base, quickly
have memories that they have not themselves had
sense the world in a plethora of ways
understand multi dimensionality
communicate in parallel, by thought signals
alone, i.e., brain to brain
All of the above would appear to be extremely
valid reasons for an individual human to wish to
become a Cyborg. But at what cost? What might the
consequences be? What about the problems associated
with actually becoming a cyborg? Most importantly,
is this mere philosophical discussion or are we talking
actual science?
Clearly the realisation of such cyborgs presents
enormous questions that affect all aspects of human
society and culture. Political and normative implications are very much part of this. In attempting to
answer such questions a string of positive and negative
potentials appear. Standing still is not an option. In the
extremes, if humans, en masse, opted for a non-cyborg
future, could the result be an intelligent machine superculture (Warwick 1998)? Conversely, if humans, en
masse, opted for a cyborg future, could society and
culture cope with such a distinct non linearity in
might have wanted to do itself. Meanwhile in 1998, the
antennae from a male silk moth were linked directly to
a small-wheeled robot. When a female silk moth came
near and gave off her pheromone signal as an attractor,
it was received by the male antennae, and as a result
the wheeled robot moved towards the female.
More recently, John Chapin taught a group of rats
to each pull a lever and, as a result, obtain a tot of water
as a treat. Electrodes were then connected into specific
positions in the rat’s brains and these emitted signals
when the rats merely thought about pulling the lever,
before they physically did anything. The signals from
the electrodes were used to ‘automatically’ release the
tot of water. The rats learned very quickly that they
didn’t need to actually pull the lever to get the water
treat, merely to think about it was sufficient.
With humans, experimentation of this kind is not
yet upon us, or is it? Two examples are worth
mentioning. Firstly, Medtronics manufacture a stimulator implant that has now been successfully used to
counteract, purely electronically, the tremor effects
associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Not only has this
been employed with quite a number of humans, but
the effects, when the stimulators are first switched on,
can be dramatic. The stimulators appear to completely
counteract the effects of the disease.
The second example is even more profound
(Kennedy et al. 2000). At Emory University in Atlanta,
Philip Kennedy has implanted two stroke victims, the
second of these being Johnny Ray. Philip carried out
an MRI scan to ascertain when Johnny thought about
moving, which areas of his brain were active. Implants
were then positioned in the main part of these areas in
Johnny Ray’s brain. Henceforth when Johnny thought
about moving, signals associated with the movement
were transmitted, by radio, to the computer.
The signals transmitted from Johnny’s brain to
the computer were used to cause the cursor on the
computer screen to move left, right, up and down. In
this way it was possible, by means of his thoughts,
for Johnny to move the cursor around on the screen,
thereby spelling out words and making requests. Very
quickly Johnny learnt to communicate in this way by
thought signals alone.
Animal and medical
Experiments not just to equip humans with cameras on
their glasses or enhanced walking sticks or shoes, but
rather to link computer and nervous system together
have been ongoing for some time.
As an example in 1997 in a widely publicised
project, a group at the University of Tokyo attached
some of the motor neurons of a cockroach, to a microprocessor. Signals were then sent to the motor neurons
to artificially propel the cockroach, despite what it
The 1998 experiment
In the fall of 1998 I had a silicon chip transponder
surgically implanted in my upper left arm. I did not
have a medical need, I just wanted to find out what it
would be like. As I entered the Cybernetics Department at Reading University so a radio signal across the
doorway energised the chip, causing it to transmit a
unique identifying signal. The signal was received by
the building’s computer network, which could therefore identify me as the person who had just entered.
As a result I was greeted with a loud “Hello Professor
Warwick” as I passed through the foyer, and the foyer
light switched on.
Elsewhere in the building, as I approached my
laboratory, the network was able to track me and,
as a result, opened the laboratory door automatically.
My computer even switched on to my web page and
informed me of my email count. A map of the building,
updated by the computer, indicated my whereabouts
at all times, and recorded when I had entered a particular room and how long I had been there. Clearly we
were able to demonstrate a number of features immediately, whilst many more, e.g., using such technology to
replace credit cards, can be left to the imagination. The
potential, for an implant of this type, is considerable.
The implant was made up 50% by a coil of
wire with which the radio signal in various doorways
around the Cybernetics building could react. The radio
signal caused a current to flow in the coil, by means of
induction. In this way the transponder did not need its
own power supply. As a result the implant was fairly
light and, at 23 mm long, not overly large.
One reason to carry out the experiment was to look
at the ‘Big Brother’ scenario of George Orwell’s 1984
(Orwell 1948) and the corresponding issues of privacy
and individualism. My conclusion turned out to be
somewhat different than expected in that I always felt
very positive towards the implant, despite any dangers
that might have been associated with it. Essentially, it
did things for me, not against me. I had no worries
that the computer knew where I was in the Cybernetics building. Maybe my feelings were something
like those of a person with a credit card. The card is
convenient, flexible and easy to use, yet it gives the
computer system considerable details about the user’s
buying patterns. Yet many people do not worry about
The biggest surprise for me during the experiment
was that I very quickly regarded the implant as being
“part of my body.” Indeed this feeling appears to be
shared by most people who have a cochlea implant,
or heart pacemaker. In my case though there was
also a computer linked to my implant and because
the computer was making things happen I quickly
became attached, emotionally to the computer as well.
Subsequently, when the implant was removed, on the
one hand I felt relieved because of the medical problems that could have occurred, but on the other hand
something was missing, it was as though a friend had
If I had to draw one conclusion from my experience
it would be that when linked with technology inside
my body, it is no longer a separate piece of technology.
Mentally I regard such technology as just as much part
of me as my arms and legs. If my brain was linked with
a computer it is difficult to imagine where I would feel
my body ended.
Whilst it is perhaps not completely methodologically correct to generalise results to all humanity from
those obtained with a small number of individuals, in
particular oneself, it is nevertheless one potential scenario for which there is a realistic experiential basis
from which a discussion can ensue. This paper is
written on that basis and as such is open to criticism
that the scenario may turn out to be not as general as
was first thought. Despite this my feeling is that it is
worth reporting on my experimental work and in doing
so to indicate some of the questions that arise and the
potential consequences should the scenario become a
general one.
The new experiment
Since 1998 we worked on putting together a new
implant, which was located into position on March
14th, 2002. Again it was surgically placed in my left
arm. However on this occasion there were direct links
with the nervous fibres in my arm. Essentially the
signals from the computer could be transmitted, by
radio, to the implant, where they were played down
onto the nerve fibres. The main body of the technology
was, in this case, a radio receiver – transmitter.
We investigated movement signals. For example
when I moved my finger some of the electronic signals
on my nervous system, which caused the muscles
and tendons to operate, were also transmitted to the
computer, where they were stored as a sequence.
Subsequently the same signals could be played back
from whence they came in order to attempt to recreate
as much of the original movement as possible.
We also investigated extra sensory input. We
have, in the Department of Cybernetics many mobile
robots, which operate in an autonomous way. Different
versions of these can also be witnessed in the Science
Museum London, Ars Elettronika in Linz, Austria
and the Millennium Point Birmingham. They generally sense the world using ultrasonic sensors – not a
sense that humans have. In the experiment we fed the
output from an ultras …
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