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Duraccione
May 25th, 2004, 04:33 PM
What's the discriminant between a cyborg and a bionic man?
I tried to figure out what makes them different but could not find the very essence: both have a human body with mechanical clutches, both have an enhanced brain, both may have a uberstrength due to their artificial limbs (as a bionic man I'm still thinking to the Six Million Dollar Man...). I also tried to consider their way of acting: a bionic man is still a man while a cyborg is more like a machine, but it just seemed immediately wrong.

So, the only discriminant I was able to find is the voluntariness: the mechanical parts in a bionic man (my only reference is once again the Six Million Dollar Man) are intended as replacements for lost body parts (the only alternative would be having him mutilated); in a cyborg, the mechanical components are chosen by the man himself in order to have more power or intelligence or whatever else.

This doubt starts from a simple consideration in a talk with a fellow reader: if every man with just a gram of metal in him is a cyborg, then Joe Mandella from "The forever war" is a cyborg (he's got a whole new metal leg...); and how could you explain the good old Six Million Dollar Man? :cool:

Thank you for whatever suggestion you'll give me. :)

xayaxos
May 25th, 2004, 08:34 PM
They are one and the same. If you wanted to get technical, then all human beings are cyborgs. Its not just about mechanics but about artificiality. You wear shoes which augment your feet, therefore you are cybernetic in some way. Hearing impaired people wear hearing aids to augment their ears. Pacemakers, artificial limbs, anything you get hooked up to when a patient at a hospital, lens replacement because of cataracts, your mini-disc walkman, mp3s, computer mouse and keyboard, mobile phone. All of them are artificial and augment your natural abilities in some way ... therefore, you are a cyborg, I'm a cyborg, everybody's a cyborg. And there's no difference between that and a "bionic" person.

As far as I'm concerned, you don't even have to be connected to the artificiality to be cybernetic - interraction with this computer?

Duraccione
May 26th, 2004, 04:26 PM
If you wanted to get technical, then all human beings are cyborgs

That's tough...I didn't consider the thing under the perspective you gave, but it's realistic and can be shared: under that point of view, it's a matter of fact that a cyborg and a bionic human are the same.
But it would implicate - correct me if I'm going wrong - that also a middle age serf could be a cyborg because, say, he used a hoe in tilling the soil: it's both "artificial" and "augmented his natural abilities in some way"... ;)

kahnovitch
May 27th, 2004, 05:19 AM
Don't think there's any difference between what defines a bionic man or a cyborg, except that the bionic man looked like an ordinary human, whereas cyborgs tends to flaunt their prosthetics more blatently.

BTW I don't think using a computer, mobile phone etc makes us cyborgs as they aren't physically integrated into our bodies.

KatG
May 27th, 2004, 12:09 PM
Well I'm not an expert by any means, but a cyborg is someone who's brain-central nervous system has been altered, augmented and replaced by mechanical and electrical devices or systems, coming from the word "cybernetics." Bionic, I think, refers to limbs and replacement body parts that are artificial and function due to mechanical and electrical devices.

So someone with a pacemaker could be said to be bionic, and a cyborg would probably have bionic systems, but someone with bionic legs, for instance, might not be technically a cyborg. But it's definitely one of those hair-fine distinctions.

As for cell-phones, etc. that allow us to go beyond our bodies and senses, I'm not sure I'd call that cybernetic. It's not that different from having a stone ax -- it's a tool. I think that to be called bionic, the tool would have to be embedded into your flesh and to be called cybernetic, it has to be wired to your brain and nervous system. Which may well be upon us in another fifty years.

confused
June 1st, 2004, 10:52 AM
but don't you have 'bionic robots' in Asimov's stuff ? In that situation, it's a robot who has a very human appearance. Certainly, my image of 'bionic' is a creature who appears to be human, whereas a cyborg (7of9, for example) is clearly altered. And cyborgs/bionic people definitely need to have their extra bits attached permanently. Favorite cyborg : Anne McAffery's Helga (ship who sang).

Speaking of which, isn't there some guy who implanted a chip under his skin which allowed him to turn light switches on and off ? I do know that one of the big areas of research is developing a gadget that would permanently check the glucose content of diabetics and add tiny amounts of insulin as required. This would need to be exposed to the bloodstream on a permanent/semi-permanent basis.

MindsEye
June 7th, 2004, 12:55 PM
Speaking of which, isn't there some guy who implanted a chip under his skin which allowed him to turn light switches on and off ?

Here is a link to the story you mentioned.

Wired Mag. Story (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.02/warwick.html?pg=1&topic=&topic_set=)

KatG
June 17th, 2004, 10:02 PM
but don't you have 'bionic robots' in Asimov's stuff ? In that situation, it's a robot who has a very human appearance. Certainly, my image of 'bionic' is a creature who appears to be human, whereas a cyborg (7of9, for example) is clearly altered. And cyborgs/bionic people definitely need to have their extra bits attached permanently. Favorite cyborg : Anne McAffery's Helga (ship who sang).


Hmm, I don't know if Helga is considered a cyborg or not. It's been so long since I read that story. I guess technically, if you go with the central nervous system idea, then she is one. But I think people use the terms pretty interchangably, whatever their exact definitions. Bionic was a popular term in the sixties and seventies -- when "The Six Million Dollar Man" was on -- but sort of got replaced by cyborg and cybernetic, maybe because of the infusion of cyberpunk sf in the eighties. I don't hear the word bionic very often anymore. So maybe the main difference is just which term is popular. But you know who could tell you specifically -- a robotics expert. Have we got any on the forum?

Chlestron
June 18th, 2004, 11:44 AM
I am by no means a robotics expert, however I'll chip in.

From what I understand of things:

A cyborg is one who has portions of their brain or nervous system enhanced or replaced with electronic or computer interfaces. Basically, they've had their wetwear upgraded (think Johnny Mneumonic)

A bionic being is one who has had a limb or other stuff replaced by a mechanical device such as a robotic arm/leg, or a syhtnetic heart (mechanical), etc but is still has the thinking capacities of a normal human. A being can be both a bionic being and a cyborg and if they are, they're generally called cyborgs.

An Android is a purely mechanical robot who resembles a human in appearance or function (i.e. most of Asimov's robots, the Terminator). They dont' have any biological components that are critical to their operation but can as a disguise

A robot is any artifically created electro-mechanical device that performs a task in either an automated or unique way. Robots may be autonomous (i.e. self contained) or not. Though, all of the above are considered robots, from a Sci-Fi POV, most of the time robots are viewed as the non-humanoid counterparts to androids (think the robot from Robocop or the Hunter-Killers from the Matrix)

Expendable
June 18th, 2004, 10:49 PM
I took a try with Dictionary.com.

Bionics is the application of biological principals to the study and design of engineering systems (especially electronic systems).

A cyborg is a biological being who has certain physiological processes aided or controlled by mechanical or electronic devices. (See bionic man, bionic woman, bionics)

Cybernetics is the theoretical study of communication and control processes in biological, mechanical, and electronic systems, especially the comparison of these processes in biological and artificial systems.

So what's this is saying I think is that a bionic leg is one that replicates a biological leg - when its attached to a human, the human becomes a cyborg or a bionic human.

When you attach it to a robot, the robot is a step closer to becoming an android.

Asimov's robots had a positronic brain which was suppose to replicate the functioning of the human brain which makes it a cybernetic device.