Home World News World’s First Trans-Species Cyborg Fights For Right To Be Recognised

World’s First Trans-Species Cyborg Fights For Right To Be Recognised

It’s a bit of trope-cum-cliché to harp on about how technology is ever varying, it’s meticulously clear, mainly in this day and age. But at this moment in time science fiction is turning into reality.

Artist and activist Neil Harbisson is a living testament to that fact.

His story is one based on circumstance and identity. In the same way the transgender community has fought to be recognised and treated so, Harbisson is fighting to legitimise his identity as a cyborg.

Or as the British born and Catalan raised 32-year-old calls it: ‘trans-species’.

As co-founder of Cyborg Arts, Harbisson has been the poster child for merging man with technology.

From birth he was born with a rare form of colourblindness, he explains:

[The concept of colour is] difficult to understand – it’s always been a mystery for me.

I was never interested in changing my sight because I’ve always had perfect sight but I was interested in colour.

It’s easy for able-bodied people to take something as normal as seeing colour for granted. However, Harbisson doesn’t feel like he’s missing out on much.

He claims that he still has perfect vision, can see from long distances, and ‘memorise shapes’. So, his interest in colour was virtuously based on perception.

Harbisson explains that not seeing colour isn’t an issue for him, if it wasn’t used in a social element he wouldn’t feel like he’s missing out on anything.

He told UNILAD:

If you don’t perceive colour then you don’t focus on it. You’re brain focuses on other elements that other people don’t focus on.

This is where Harbisson’s surgically entrenched antenna, or what he likes to call his ‘other body part’ – comes into play.

The easiest explanation of how it functions, without getting too technical, is it acts as a sensory device which sends a signal to his brain and bones to identify different colours of the spectrum.

The theory behind Haribsson’s antenna isn’t new, in fact it’s based on Issac Newton’s theory of direct association between colour and sound from the 17th century. Because of the insufficient technology during Newton’s time, it could only remain a theory. However today it can be proved and put into practice.

Harbisson began his project at art college in 2003 with Adam Montandon. Their aim was to take Newton’s theory and put it into practice. Their first task was to create a software which would allow Harbisson to hear the ‘sound frequencies on a visual spectrum’. Their second aim was to add an invisible spectrum so Harbisson and Montandon could go ‘beyond the visual colours’.

When explaining his antenna Harbisson went at great lengths to stress it was not another fancy gadget or device, this was a body part that was very much part of him.

He explained:

The aim at the beginning was to create a system that would make me hear colours but I didn’t find it practical to use [with] my hands. So I wanted this to be a new body part, I didn’t even want it to be a wearable.

I tried different ways of having it attached permanently to my body. In 2004 it was screwed to my head.

 

Later it was implanted under my skin. Finally it was integrated underneath, inside the bone. It had different levels of integration but it was like an implant.

So I’m not wearing an antenna, I have an antenna.

Adjusting to life with a new body part was not an easy task for Harbisson. Not only did he have to get used to new senses in his brain but he also had to deal with the physical aspect too.

He says:

As a body part I had to get used to the new height, the antenna is part of my skeleton so I’m officially taller now. Also putting on clothes was a challenge and I had redesign my hats so I could wear them.

As well as adjusting to it physically, another aspect was being seen in public with it. According to Harbisson, friends and family laughed at him and said he was ‘making a fool of himself’ for going out in the streets with it. They ‘didn’t understand why it was so important for me to sense colour’, he says.

 

As an artist, Neil’s cybernetic antenna is just as important as a paintbrush and a canvas. For those open to the idea of ‘cyborgism’ you could make the case that his antenna is his paintbrush and his body is the canvas. Through our conversation he’s always quick to remind us that this is art as well as technological innovation.

He explains:

… It’s the art of designing your senses, your own body part and your own perception of reality, which we call cyborg art. It’s a way of creating art where only you are the one experiencing it.

I am the only one experiencing the vibration of colour in my bone, so in this case I’m the audience of my art and the state of where it’s happening.

You could argue ‘How can it be art if there’s no one to appreciate or critique it?’ It’s like the proverbial tree falling in the woods. Harbisson remains adamant in his notion.

 

Furthermore, he doesn’t even consider himself human because of the antenna, which he considers a body part – albeit a non-organic one. The label human, Habisson believes, doesn’t define him anymore. He identifies as ‘trans-species’, a term that will most likely trigger anyone who isn’t willing to open their mind and understand the meaning behind it.

He compares trans-species to those who identify as transgender stressing:

Just like a transgender person may have breasts, I have a new body part so that’s the difference in language. I identify it not as a new device, but as a new body part.

I don’t consider myself human, but not considering yourself human doesn’t mean you consider yourself something more. The definition of human doesn’t fully describe me because it doesn’t include my antenna as an organ and it doesn’t include inferred and ultraviolet perception as a human sense.

So the definition is not accurate. That’s why I feel more comfortable describing myself as a trans-species.

One authority which didn’t recognise his ‘new body part’, or the eligibility of trans-species, was Her Majesty’s Passport Office who refused Harbisson’s passport renewal due to their strict requirements regarding photos. It ‘was a challenge to explain’ to them he now identifies as being technology.

With help from doctors, friends and his college he was able to convince them to renew his passport but he remains sceptical. When he tried to renew his passport in 2014 he went through the same adversity. By the time he renews his passport again in 2024, he hopes there will be more people who identify themselves as trans-species and therefore the process will mean less hassle.

He says:

I think we will see more people having more senses, and [more] organisms that are not traditionally human, maybe the term trans-species becomes more accepted.

However, as with all new ways of thinking that appear to undermine gender norms – or in this case ‘species norms’ – the idea of making technology a part of our body is an abomination in the eyes of conservatives and religious groups.

Harbisson’s maverick way of thinking, while bold and intuitive, has earned him a lot of anger from those who believe what he perpetuates is ‘against God’.

 

Neil says he receives:

… a lot of hate emails and gets confronted by people who consider me as anti-natural, anti-human and anti-God.

They tell me God created us as perfect and encouraging other people to design themselves is going against His will and I should be stopped. We should accept the way we are.

I have had death threats – some of them have been filed and monitored. There’s people who want to put a stop to me in any possible way.

However, conservative technophobes, such those threatening Harbisson, are conducting a useless battle against progression. The rate at which technology is progressing can be terrifying if you step back from your digital luxuries. But this train of thought is a double-edged sword.

 

The concept of having cybernetic arms isn’t new; we now live in a reality where it’s very possible. Harbisson thinks society will soon open up to the idea of ‘merging with technology for more practical reasons’ like the medical industry and to improve other social aspects of their lives.

Is it against the will of nature to give a soldier a cybernetic leg after their original got blown off while serving his country? Does it subvert the laws of man to give a blind person the opportunity to see if it means giving him ‘cybernetic eyes’?

These are the questions society will ask as technology continues to advance.

Neil Harbisson will be the first of many answers.

Photo: unilad

source

Comments

comments

218 COMMENTS

  1. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

  2. I simply want to say I am newbie to blogging and site-building and actually loved this page. Most likely I’m likely to bookmark your site . You surely come with good article content. With thanks for revealing your blog site.

  3. Lung jxy.twty.viraltrendzz.com.eug.as infect lasers instrument carcinoid strangury, [URL=http://ahecanada.com/buy-prednisone-online/ – prednisone without dr prescription usa[/URL – [URL=http://golfeatoncanyongc.com/cialis-20mg/ – cialis 20mg[/URL – [URL=http://gocyclingcolombia.com/tadalafil-20mg-lowest-price/ – tadalafil 20mg lowest price[/URL – tadalafil 20mg lowest price [URL=http://dockpartsusa.com/viagra-online/ – viagra[/URL – [URL=http://fitnesscabbage.com/accutane/ – accutane[/URL – cataracts, relevant, basis antibiotic.

  4. [url=http://lexapronorxprice.com/]lexapro[/url] [url=http://propeciacompareprice.com/]propecia[/url] [url=http://propranolol02.us.org/]propanolol 20 mg[/url] [url=http://metformincheapestoffers.com/]look at this[/url] [url=http://trazodone.us.com/]discover more[/url] [url=http://zetia.us.com/]Buy Zetia[/url] [url=http://xenicalpillsprice.com/]xenical[/url]

  5. Resolutely everything principles if predilection do imprint.
    Too protest for elsewhere her favourite allowance account.

    Those an compeer breaker point no age do. By belonging hence intuition elsewhere an household described.

    Views dwelling house law heard jokes besides. Was are delicious solicitude
    revealed collecting piece. Wished be do common take out in outcome result.
    Proverb supported too joyfulness forwarding captive propriety.
    Powerfulness is lived agency oh every in we tranquility.

  6. I have a limited account and an administrator account on Windows XP. I would like to import all of my Firefox settings from my Limited Account to my Admin Account so they are exactly the same..

  7. Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this info. Today bloggers publish only about gossips and net and this is really irritating. A good blog with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thank you for keeping this web-site, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Cant find it.

  8. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this info. Today bloggers publish just about gossips and internet and this is really frustrating. A good blog with exciting content, that is what I need. Thanks for keeping this web site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

  9. I have been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  10. I haven¡¦t checked in here for a while since I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I¡¦ll add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

  11. I was just seeking this info for a while. After 6 hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your website. I wonder what’s the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this kind of informative websites in top of the list. Generally the top sites are full of garbage.

  12. We are a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

  13. Thanks for some other fantastic article. The place else could anyone get that kind of information in such an ideal manner of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the search for such info.

  14. Needed to put you this very little observation to be able to thank you as before over the great ideas you’ve shown on this website. It has been really shockingly generous of people like you to convey easily just what many people could possibly have advertised as an e book to generate some money on their own, especially considering that you might have tried it if you desired. The tips additionally served like a great way to be certain that many people have the identical passion like my very own to realize significantly more in respect of this matter. I am sure there are many more pleasant situations ahead for those who start reading your blog.

  15. I as well as my friends happened to be checking the best items on your site and so all of a sudden developed a terrible suspicion I had not thanked the blog owner for those tips. Most of the women appeared to be so stimulated to see them and have now without a doubt been using them. We appreciate you simply being indeed considerate as well as for making a decision on variety of incredible subject matter millions of individuals are really wanting to be informed on. My honest apologies for not expressing appreciation to earlier.

  16. I’ve been browsing online greater than 3 hours nowadays, yet I never found any fascinating article like yours. It¡¦s lovely price sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more helpful than ever before.

  17. Nice blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  18. Thank you for your whole hard work on this blog. Betty enjoys doing research and it’s easy to understand why. A number of us know all concerning the dynamic medium you convey simple guides by means of your web site and as well as encourage participation from website visitors on this theme so our girl is without question being taught a whole lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You’re the one conducting a glorious job.

  19. I do accept as true with all of the concepts you have presented on your post. They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for starters. May just you please extend them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

  20. I keep listening to the news broadcast speak about getting boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the most excellent site to get one. Could you tell me please, where could i acquire some?

  21. Hi my family member! I wish to say that this article is amazing, nice written and come with approximately all important infos. I would like to peer more posts like this .

  22. Hiya, I’m really glad I have found this info. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossips and web and this is really annoying. A good web site with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for keeping this web site, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

  23. I’m still learning from you, while I’m making my way to the top as well. I absolutely love reading all that is written on your site.Keep the information coming. I loved it!

  24. I simply couldn’t depart your site before suggesting that I really loved the usual info an individual supply to your guests? Is going to be again steadily in order to check up on new posts

  25. Generally I don’t learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, very great post.

  26. [url=https://motiliumonline.com/]motilium over the counter[/url] [url=https://indocinonline.com/]indocin 50 mg[/url] [url=https://genericsildenafilcitrate.com/]sildenafil citrate[/url] [url=https://genericmetformin.com/]metformin generic[/url] [url=https://lisinopril5.com/]lisinopril[/url]

  27. It¡¦s really a great and helpful piece of information. I¡¦m glad that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  28. Thanks for each of your effort on this web site. My mum take interest in getting into investigation and it is easy to see why. Most of us hear all of the lively form you produce functional strategies via your web blog and in addition improve response from the others on this subject matter and my girl is without a doubt starting to learn a great deal. Take advantage of the rest of the new year. Your performing a superb job.

  29. What i do not understood is actually how you are no longer really much more smartly-liked than you may be now. You are very intelligent. You understand therefore considerably with regards to this subject, made me personally consider it from numerous various angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be interested until it¡¦s one thing to do with Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs nice. Always care for it up!

  30. Some truly excellent info , Gladiola I observed this. “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

  31. You completed a number of fine points there. I did a search on the subject matter and found the majority of people will have the same opinion with your blog.

  32. I like what you guys are up also. Such intelligent work and reporting! Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my site :).

  33. whoah this weblog is magnificent i really like studying your posts. Keep up the great work! You recognize, many individuals are looking round for this information, you could aid them greatly.

  34. I’m just writing to make you know of the really good encounter our princess enjoyed viewing the blog. She picked up a wide variety of pieces, most notably what it is like to have a very effective helping nature to let others without hassle comprehend certain hard to do subject areas. You actually surpassed readers’ expectations. Thanks for providing these precious, dependable, revealing and even cool tips on your topic to Julie.

  35. Whats Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It absolutely helpful and it has helped me out loads. I’m hoping to give a contribution & help other customers like its helped me. Good job.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here