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“I would encourage you to become a cyborg. You wont be alone.”
Through Neil Harbisson’s entire talk, I found it hard to agree with the points he was making after he stated that he uses this new technology to hear colors. Understanding that Neil Harbisson was born with achromatopsia (Total color blindness ), if he were to use this new technology to perceive colors, it would be as if a deaf person would use a cochlear implant to hear. Mr. Harbisson didn't stop there, and this is where I began to disagree. He upgraded his project so he can now hear ultraviolet and infrared rays, which are colors that seeing people are not able to view. There is an extent of helping a sense, and overwriting its natural code is wrong.
Neil Harbisson introduced a new machine that allows blind (and now unblind) people to hear color. He believes that everyone should be able to get this new chip installed into their head. The new technology is a color sensor, and when the sensor is pointed at a color, it sends a frequency noise to the chip that then allows the user to hear a color. Harbisson explained that he had to memorize the sound of color and after a certain amount of time, normal sounds began to seem like color. After so long, Neil Harbisson said, “Human vision wasn't good enough.” He updated his technology until he could hear ultraviolet and infrared colors. Neil Harbisson believes that everyone should have this new color sensor so he developed the Cyborg Foundation where everyone can get this technology. Further research about Mr. Harbisson foundations shows that Neil says, “We are all disabled when compared to other species…”
Cybernetics is a big deal for many people as we move ahead into the future, but is it really a good idea to create apps for our minds and bodies like we do with our phones?
I disagree with Neil Harbisson and his color sensor project. Neil Harbisson says in his TEDtalk that he feels like a machine and a human at the same time. Humans were created without chips installed in their heads, and although technology has advanced a great deal since humans were created, evolution has not granted us with computers in our heads. When the color sensor was first invented, it was used only for Neil Harbisson and his disability. Over time, Mr. Harbisson became bored of hearing the same sounds. There is an extent to fixing a handicap. I believe that Neil Harbisson should've stopped with perceiving visible colors. He certainly passed the line by extending his senses to infrared and ultraviolet rays. One question I had thought of while watching the video was, “What happens if the chip were to malfunction or become corrupted?”
From a religious stand point, I cannot help but consistently think that Mr. Harbisson is playing God. He is extending his senses far beyond what he was given. There is a point where updating our human selves becomes out of control. By extending his senses beyond what natural human abilities can do is awry. When one sense is corrupted, another sense is strengthened. For man to use machines to improve society is one thing, to use machines to enhance our bodies is another. When Neil Harbisson gave himself a way to see color, he took power from another sense. I, as well as many others, believe that humans should be happy with what we have and creating new ways to out-advance ourselves may actually lead us to our own destruction.
Neil Harbissons “I Listen To Color” shows how technology has corrupted the minds and morals of so many people. Albert Einstein himself once said, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” In my eyes, this new technology is leading up to that generation, if it is not already a part of it. “I would encourage you to become a cyborg. You wont be alone.” Becoming a cyborg, rather alone or not, does not, and will never, justify playing God.