The Modern Cyborg: McLuhan Today

Cyborg is derived from the 2 English words cyber and organism. Google describes a cyborg as “a fictional or hypothetical person whose physical abilities are extended beyond normal human limitations by mechanical elements built into the body.” When I was growing up, Cyborg was my favorite team member of the Teen Titans, and I always wondered how long would it take for society to be able to make me a cyborg so I could be just like him. According to McLuhan, we’re already there and we’ve been there for a while now. I don’t mean that in medieval Europe, people were running around with half their bodies made out of technology. However, since then, and maybe even before that, technology has been evolving human ability from the way we talk, to the way we work, cook, sleep, and everything in between.

Bandura taught us that our aptitude for technology, like most things, is created through social cognitive theory. We learn through observation and we  improve self-efficacy by doing over and over again. McLuhan looks at media/technology as the main component of our evolving society. McLuhan shows us that technology has been the driving factor in the development of human ability and interaction. Technology isn’t just a machine we use, it becomes a part of us, and extension of ourselves, integrating itself into every aspect of our life and changing what traditional looks at. For proof of this, you can look at things like radio and tv which are late 19th century/early 20th century inventions that completely revolutionized how we see and hear the world. However, those born and raised in the late 20th century/early 21st century will be raised in a world where radio and tv are relatively prehistoric and the seeing and hearing experience has been propelled into high definition music and video streaming applications that fit cozily on a mobile phone.

Yes, in Today’s society, we have redefined the harmony between technology and human beings. What was once a fantismal concept of a majority robot and part human being, is now a normal human being with the ability to enhance their sensory input/output through technology in their lives that have become second nature. In today’s society, it’s important to note that technology has become the buffer for traditional communication, and according to McLuhan, this is the new traditional. Having a cellphone was just the start, and for the fact, so was texting. Now popular social media platforms have become the primary means of communication between multitudes of individuals. Your profile is no longer a hobby, but has evolved into your social media presence. Instagram and Twitter accounts are being asked for during job interviews. You don’t have to talk on the phone to order food anymore, instead technology has evolved so much that you can have door to door grocery and meal delivery with just the push of a couple buttons.

The ability to live and survive is being compacted into these tiny  devices that we grab off of our side tables and dressers without even thinking of. When my generation were hitting their early teens, we were heckled for being so attached to our mobile devices, but now, members of society who don’t own one are closer to off the grid than on.  Continuing to hound “millennials” about excessive technology use is futile because the next generation is inherently plugged into the world with the amount of technology in society now. What’s normal and traditional will continue to be revolutionized by new technological advances and we, as a society, will continue to be the new Cyborgs.

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2 thoughts on “The Modern Cyborg: McLuhan Today

  1. Bradley,
    I enjoyed how you connected everything back to the Cyborg. Very effective and thought provoking. I most certainly agree with McLuhan, in the sense that technology has become a part of us. Technology is almost not even an option anymore. If you do not have technology, it is basically impossible for you to live i the current society. That being said, we are now letting this technology define who we are.
    Have you ever been on a job interview where they basically stated “We checked out your Facebook profile for typos and the type of person you are to get a better idea if you would be a good fit for our company”? I was recently in a situation just like this and it made me realize that my presence on the internet is not longer just a hobby, but a profile of my actual life. This may sound a bit naive, but until that interview, it hadn’t really hit me that people were watching my life quite that closely. This is why presidential elections are now turning into social media battles. They have the freedom to do as they wish and know that millions of people will see their actions within seconds.

    -Abby

    Like

  2. Bradley,

    I agree with Abby very thought provoking post;) I do agree that we need to embrace technology, not be afraid of change and adapt to how our World’s heartbeat evolves. We cannot limit this Communication we can only add to it and evolve with it. If we look at Mother Nature and our Universe we find all the answers as She is constantly and consistently responding to the ever changing needs of Nature & adapting.

    Like

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