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The term cyborg, a portmanteau of cybernetic organism, is used to designate a creature which is a mixture of organic and mechanical parts. Generally, the aim is to add to or enhance the abilities of the organism using artificial technology. The term was popularized by Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline in 1960 to refer to their conception of an enhanced human being who could survive in extraterrestrial environments. Their concept was the outcome of thinking about the need for an intimate relationship between human and machine as the new frontier of space exploration was beginning to take place. A designer of physiological instrumentation and electronic data-processing systems, Clynes was the chief research scientist in the Dynamic Simulation Laboratory at Rockland State Hospital in New York.

According to some definitions of the term, the metaphysical and physical attachments humanity has with technology have already made us cyborgs. For example, a human fitted with a heart pacemaker might be considered a cyborg, since s/he is incapable of surviving without the mechanical part.

In the feminist thinking of Donna Haraway the cyborg becomes a starting metaphor for examining non-gendered epistemology.


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