“I am Locutus, a Borg. Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over.” Spoken by Captain Picard on the season-three finale of Star Trek: Next Generation, this has to be one of the most-chilling paths in the entire Star Trek canon. It’s not just Patrick Stewart’s cold-blooded transmission, but likewise the image that accompanies it. Picard has been revised. His head has been augmented with Borg technology, a cortical processor has been implanted in his intelligence and a laser remit is mounted below his right gaze. A cable running hydraulic nano-fluids lopes from his motorized right arm into his skull.
We are deep mesmerized and unsettled by this soul who is no longer absolutely human. Like Frankenstein’s monster Picard has been remade in a laboratory, his body hacked, taught and resectioned. It’s fuel for our ordeals. Yet we live in a life where medical engineering and freedom of aesthetic selection attain implants and person revision possible, even commonplace.
When we are going to be able have acrylic echoes inserted into our corneas to correct nearsightedness, defibrillators embedded in our chests to shock an arresting middle, and sackings of silicone implanted in our rumps to develop Kim Kardashian curves, why does Locutus disquiet us?
Aren’t we, like him, Borg?
Last week, I wasted three hours in a dental chair while an oral surgeon implanted a titanium pole in my jaw. It’s a screw-like pole that words the cornerstone of a dental implant. I was so taken with the X-ray I invited the surgeon to email me a imitate. Here in black and white is proof I am now a cyborg. Part human, area mechanical device. What you can’t check on the X-ray is the xenotransplant. Living tissue from a non-human species( bovine bone) has been bundled around the implant where, over day, it will be integrated into my natural bone.
Assimilating a foreign categories, engineering been incorporated in my mouth: Am I Borg?
It’s estimated that as countless as five million Americans are embed with medical maneuvers each year. The most-popular procedure is almost exclusively acted on children: a myringotomy where a polymer tube is inserted into the eardrum to prevent proliferation of flowing in the inner ear. Nearly thousands and thousands of kids a year have this done. Yet we recoil where reference is picture a Borg maturation chamber( Star Trek: Voyager) containing an baby augmented with cochlear implants.
Why? What’s the distinction between our implant technology and the Borg’s? Is augmenting our organizations merely acceptable when there is a medical need, such as a repetition ear infection or nature arrhythmia? What about procedures we elect to undergo for aesthetics? Breast augmentation, chin augmentation, silicone six jam-packs? Over 300,000 Americans underwent breast augmentations in 2017. Clearly, there is widespread acceptance and adoption of form adjustment for both medical and aesthetic reasons.
Could the difference be then that we consider it indecent to remove healthy organs and extremities and replace them with performance-enhancing engineering? When we conceive the Borg have removed Picard’s right arm and supplanted it with a prosthetic equipped with a multi-functional implement, the administration is repulsed. This represents mutilation to us … but does it also represent our future?
DARPA is currently developing wearable portable machines announced exoskeletons which increase the forte and tenacity of units in combat. Elon Musk’s company Neuralink is creating a BMI( brain-machine boundary) which are able to embed into the human ability to enlargement knowledge and create a “neural lace” network. Google has entered patent on a lens implant who are in need of drilling a puncture through the eye’s natural lens in a procedure eerily similar to the one performed on Picard by the Borg in Star Trek: First Contact . When big companies framed big bucks into mashups of healthy human material and high tech you can bet we haven’t learn the last of it.
The drive to integrate our biology with our technology is part of a shift called transhumanism. Transhumanists believe in pushing human capabilities beyond their natural restrictions. Superior people, superior attentions and immortality are the ultimate goals.
Borg are the living interpretation of transhuman. Their augmented organizations give them incredible physical concentration. Their neural processors and collective “hive mind” give them a computational strength beyond our understanding. And immortality? In Star Trek: Voyager, Seven of Nine, a onetime Borg, tells us, “When a drone is damaged beyond amend, it is discarded. But its recalls continue to exist in the collective consciousness. To use a human term, the Borg are immortal.”
Is this why we feel both cruelty and enthusiasm when we first realise Locutus on the Borg cube? Do we recognize the Borg as an story for our future selves? If we continue to embrace engineering and thrust the border of what it means to be human will we evolve into dronings who use their technology for one role: to acquire more technology?
The Borg, in their singular pursuit to new technologies, have lost appreciation for human glamour. Their figures are augmented solely for capacity. Could this be the real rationalization they repel us? Utilitarian black hoses plugged into necks, a scrapper’s ground of organization hacks, sides a virtual toolbox of pincers and cogs? Neither slick nor pretty, the Borg are the incarnation of anti-aesthetic … which really might be the most alien stuff about them. After all, haven’t we always hoped the future would be beautiful?
To learn more about this subject, please visit www.LearningForASmallWorld.com. The track “Star Trek: Inspiring Culture and Technology” caters greater depth on this and many more aspects of the history and jolt of Star Trek.
J.V. Jones is a USA Today bestselling novelist whose acclaimed Sword of Shadows series is published by Tor Books.
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