The word Cyborg is short for “cybernetic organism” and is usually defined as a being with both organic and “biomechatronic” body parts – where the integration of the artificial component or technology results in enhanced abilities of the biological host.
It’s not too far a stretch, therefore, from this original definition to recognise ourselves, smartphones attached permanently to our hands, as pseudo Cyborgs. Especially the younger generation – who have never lived in an era when humankind has not been at the beck and call of a technological appendage of some sort.
In fact in the most cutting edge theories of cognitive science, the “Cyborg” model is coming to mean exactly this – a broadened definition that encompasses a system where a mechanical/technological component augments the cognitive abilities of the biological component. This includes simple models like a calculator or a personal computer or even an address book, as well as modern fitness trackers, and smart watches.
Offload Cognitive Burdens
The technological tool allows the biological host to offload the burden of memorising, calculating or analysing all of the information and focus on the key biological/brain process of, say, deciding on how much food she should consume after doing 10,000 steps, or how much spare cash he has left to spend on his night out, from the balance in his online bank account. The host doesn’t have to count every step, or count every cent that has been spent so far this month – the technology does it for them.
And in the Business Intelligence world that we inhabit, a well-designed BI application will enable users to operate their businesses with Cyborg “superpowers” – with the inhuman capabilities of data-cleaning, number-crunching, label-sorting, exception-sifting and alert-notifications being carried out by powerful servers and delivered to that technical cyber appendage we call a tablet or a laptop. Our biological brain and our cognitive processes are vastly enhanced by this feed of relevant and timely information – and we can much more easily process this streamlined “need-to-know” information with the biological, executive decision-making brain.
Living in Sci-Fi Land
So don’t get alarmed, but we are in fact living science-fiction whether we knew it or not. Becoming a Cyborg is a “natural” state for every person who uses the information literally at their finger- tips to augment their cognitive processes. Luckily we can, if we like, still remove the technology from our Cyborg system when we want a break from work – though we all know how quickly we’re sliding into an “always on” world of messaging, tweeting and newsfeeds.
Just be aware of our tendency to become slaves to our machines, and treat your Cyborg self with the care every pet deserves:-)
About Debbie Lonsdale
Debbie Lonsdale has been working with the Diver Solution as a BI Consultant at Dynamic Business Informatics since 2008. Her previous experience includes computer programming, analytical and technical roles, team management, account management, sales and marketing in a variety of market sectors, including the Travel Industry and Distribution. She combines this experience as an all round ICT professional in the BI sector.