Almost a cyborg…?

Body parts made out of stainless steel and plastic?  Check.

Metabolism controlled through electronics?  Check.

Digital readout of critical system parameters?  Check.

I’m getting close.

The only thing standing between me and cyborghood is really the whole cyber- part of it.  Consider the meaning of the term “cybernetics,” from which we derive cyber-this, cyber-that, and cyber-the-other-thing.

Here is the perspective of the Concise Encyclopedia:

Science of regulation and control in animals (including humans), organizations, and machines when they are viewed as self-governing whole entities consisting of parts and their organization. It was conceived by Norbert Wiener, who coined the term in 1948. Cybernetics views communication and control in all self-contained complex systems as analogous. It differs from the empirical sciences (physics, biology, etc.) in not being interested in material form but in organization, pattern, and communication in entities. Because of the increasing sophistication of computers and the efforts to make them behave in humanlike ways, cybernetics today is closely allied with artificial intelligence and robotics, and it draws heavily on ideas developed in information theory.

A cyborg is, of course, a cybernetic organism.  Cool.

Your house is a cybernetic organism.  It has a furnace and a thermostat.  When the thermostat detects that the temperature is too low, it communicates with the furnace and commands it to turn on and raise the temperature.  When it’s warm enough, the thermostat turns off the furnace.  Communication and control.

But am I a cyborg?  My metal and plastic hip argues yes, and so do my continuous-reading glucose meter (CGM) and insulin pump.  But am I?

Well, yes.

If you consider the meter and pump as the only parts of the system, then there’s no communication and control mechanism to link them.  But add me into the system.  I read what the CGM tells me, and I command the pump to act (or to stop acting).  I am at the center of these systems.

They’re not a cyborg.  But together with the meter and the pump, I am.

Wetware of the world, unite!

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