Androids Can Dream of Electric Sheep, Part IV: The Evolution in Doctor Who

Doctor Who, the long-time BBC television series, originated the idea of automaton machines long before Gene Roddenberry‘s Star Trek.  However, differing from a stricter lines drawn between human and androids, the Doctor Who series offered that humanity evolved and bonded with machines ultimately as a final resort thus creating cyborgs.  In the most recent revamping of Doctor Who, the humanoid Cybermen originated from their creator John Lumic of Cybus Industries since could not live any longer, and the Cybermen he created ultimately sought to protect him by upgrading him into a massive version of them.

The Cybermen: Prototype for the Borg in Star Trek

Based on science fiction of old, the writers for Doctor Who resolved the problem of artificial intelligence by using a human brain with all its complexities and subtleties as the source of intelligence for the Cybermen thus creating cyborgs.  These Cybermen were ultimately the predecessor to Gene Roddenberry’s Borg in Star Trek films and the television series.  Both were similar in that they both have technological upgrades and implants, and both operated from a hive mind, governed by a leader.  In the case of Cybermen, it has been both men and women while in the case of the Borg, it was a queen in the film Star Trek: First Contact and the Star Trek: Voyager television series.

The Cybermen: A Look into Our Future or a Parody of It?

With all the advances in technology currently, with smaller and smaller microprocessors and higher and higher processing power, it begs examining whether the Cybermen are the next step in our evolution or  a mere parody of it. Currently, there has been development of the Philip K. Dick robot with artificial skin and imitates human interaction.  However, the limit of the robot is its reliance on limited communication via microphone and the human’s speech and speech patterns operating within a relatively confined algorithm.

What would happen if we replaced the computer brain for a human one?  This would conquer the issue of intelligence, and the cyborg would become more or less human.  This cyborg would have advantage of human thought and less restrictive limitations posed by computer algorithms with the ability to utilize machine power.  This cyborg would far excel its creator in the long-term as it is capable of both using human and electronic resources.  The creation would logically find that its creator would be too primitive eventually, but whether this kind of cyborg would carry sufficient moral sense would depend on the human brain installed. If the brain was of an immoral human being, deaths and genocide of the human race would be its logical prerogative.  It would not simply be a parody of us; it would be us in a more efficient casing.

However, technology, nor for that matter, medical technology, has quite caught up the point of cyborgs.  True, we have developed human replacement appendages and hearts.  At this point, it is not controlled by artificial intelligence.  Can humanity ever reach that point where medicine, technology and artificial intelligence reach the same apex and intermingle?  At that point, humanity would be breathtaking and dangerous at the same time.


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