“Why do we keep falling in love with cyborgs?” — Interestign poste by Newitz over on i09

Annalee Newitz has posted a piece over on i09 about why we humans love (both Biblically and Platonically) cyborgs. Here’s the link:


Most of it is really good. I particularly appreciate her complication of the “natural human” vs. “synthetic cyborg” binary:

This is sure to be an issue in the upcoming Tron: Legacy. Characters from the 1980s film Tron, like hacker Kevin Flynn, have been living in the digital world for decades and creating pieces of software like Quorra (Olivia Wilde), who feel and act like humans. What is the difference between Flynn fabricating Quorra out of software, and fabricating his biological child Sam the old-fashioned way? Given that Quorra is treated like Flynn’s daughter in the forthcoming film, the Tron series suggests the difference is moot.

We are all human-made — some of us in a lab or a mainframe, some of us in a uterus.

The one thing that is missing from Newitz’s account is power–or rather, power imbalances. Good gender theorists know that sexuality and kinship relations are always crossed by power relations (gender, sexuality, class, race, nationality, etc. etc.). Other than a brief nod to the “exoticization” of cyborgs in the very beginning, the piece really doesn’t consider the power dynamics between humans and cyborgs (or among humans and among cyborgs).

But, I encourage you to read the piece 🙂