Cyborg rights

Roger Clarke*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    The first generation of cyborgs is alive, well, walking among us, and even running. Pacemakers, renal dialysis machines and clumsy mechanical hands may not match the movie-image of cyborg enhancements, but they have been the leading wave. The legs of sprinter Oscar Pistorius, and implants of both the cochlear and RFID varieties, make more substantial changes to individuals. They also pose greater challenges to society as a whole. Cyborgisation will give rise to demands for new rights. People who have lost capabilities but have not yet got the relevant prostheses will seek the right to have them. Some people will demand the right not just to recover what they are missing, but also to enhance themselves. Others will demand the liberty not to have prostheses imposed on them. Enhanced humans will seek additional rights to go with the additional capabilities that they have. The political processes involved in lobbying for and resisting these desires will take many and varied forms. Professional engineers have an obligation to anticipate these developments, and to brief political, social and economic institutions on their nature, impact and implications. They have to date failed to do so. The rate of change is sufficiently brisk that action is urgent.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2010 IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society
    Subtitle of host publicationSocial Implications of Emerging Technologies, ISTAS'10
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    Event2010 IEEE Internationl Symposium on Technology and Society: Social Implications of Emerging Technologies, ISTAS'10 - Wollongong, NSW, Australia
    Duration: 7 Jun 20109 Jun 2010

    Publication series

    NameInternational Symposium on Technology and Society, Proceedings


    Conference2010 IEEE Internationl Symposium on Technology and Society: Social Implications of Emerging Technologies, ISTAS'10
    CityWollongong, NSW


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