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Cyborg as a System and Digital Habitation

  • Journal of Humanities
  • 2015, (56), pp.35-58
  • Publisher : Institute for Humanities
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : December 31, 2014
  • Accepted : January 28, 2015

Yun-Sun Kim 1

1충북대학교 인문학연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Cyborg is generally defined as a creature that is part human, part machine. But this definition is ever becoming vague as biotechnological mutation andartificial life in imaginary space are categorized as cyborg with the rapiddevelopment of the cutting-edge science and technology. In consideration ofthe way of combination between human beings and machine, this paperdefines cyborg as a reproduced human being based on: a direct combinationof man and machine; a direct connection between man and machine; and anintegrated system of human being-machine-space. This study focuses on thethird, an integrated system of human being-machine-space, among the threehybrid types. It is because the people of today think the activities in virtualspace and their life as two different things and disregard the meaning ofvirtual space even though, in contemporary times, many activities are carriedout in the world of virtual reality including computers. With the realization of virtual reality through computers and Internetcommunications networks, people are experiencing virtual space as anextension of actual space. As man and machines naturally interact with eachother, people have crossed the border of reality and virtual reality, and havebecome cyborgs that experience virtual reality by extending their mind andsenses through the medium of machines. More importantly, man hasestablished a unique system with machines in the process of direct or indirectinteraction between the two, through which man can lead their lives in the artificially made virtual reality. In short, man leads his life in the system. Furthermore, contemporary man who is living in close connection withmachines finds it hard to live outside the system. Although men have not yetcombined their bodies with machines, they have naturally become cyborgsthat are unable to get out of the “system of man-machine-space.” Therefore,the meaning of virtual space is as significant as actual space for cyborgs. Then, can men reside in virtual space? How can we understand thehabitation in virtual space in comparison with the habitation in natural space?Only when we can answer this question can habitation in the digital zone benaturally endowed with the proper meaning of life. It is because electronicenvironment of virtual space that is formed through computers and theInternet blurs a distinction between reality and virtual reality in our dailylives and all the activities of human beings are being shared outside a borderof reality and virtual reality.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.