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We are now mostly cyborgs.

A cyborg is a hybrid of human and robotic elements that enables the human remaining to be more powerful than the human by itself.  Google Glass and some prosthetics offer this promise.  The enhancement of human capabilities through personal machines.  But we have been cyborgs much longer than that.

We drive cars.    

Cyborg is a pretty good description of the American relationship with the car in traffic.  Technically, the cyborg is about internal improvements to the body, but that is the only exception to a pretty good and common fit.  When we get in our cars, our awareness of our bodies expands to the four corners of our vehicle.  The way we interact with people we meet is no longer about words,  eye contact, or body language.  It is about the shared adherence to the rules or f right of way, blinkers, and in the the worst case, horns.  If we run into a person on the street, whether than t is a pleasant distraction or an expensive calamity depends on which side of the curb we are on.  


The car in traffic is very like a robot that protects us and gives us superhuman strength and speed.  Whereas I can only kick or punch things at 100 pounds of force., in an average car, I can deliver 5000 pounds of force to whatever I hit.  While I can only walk at three miles an hour, a car can easily do ten times that in stop and go traffic.  While I would break a sweat on a summer day like this, the cyborg, or mecha-suit of the car keeps me in climate controlled comfort.,  No mean feat, when you consider that the closed windows of a car also makes a great greenhouse.

The way many of us are seen in public is not with our faces, but with our grills.


Cartoon copyright Scott McCloud, from his excellent “Understanding Comics“. I recommend that book to anyone.