How Long Do We Have Before The Rise of the Cybermen?

How Long Do We Have Before The Rise of the Cybermen? February 26, 2008

Francis Bacon and those who followed in the intellectual current of modernity that he inspired were wrong to believe that man would be redeemed through science. Such an expectation asks too much of science; this kind of hope is deceptive. Science can contribute greatly to making the world and mankind more human. Yet it can also destroy mankind and the world unless it is steered by forces that lie outside it.— Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi 25

We have long known about the dangers of unbridled scientific advancement. Sadly, in recent times, we have experienced evil done in the name of science; of course, evils such as eugenics or embryonic stem cell research have been done with the claim that the ends justify the means. But scientific research without any appeal beyond itself will not be able to tell you why such means are wrong. Such concern should not prevent us from scientific pursuits. It tells us  that we should practice it in wisdom and allow its methodologies and goals to be critiqued by those whose expertise are in disciplines which are logically prior to the empirical sciences. Knowledge of facts for the sake of knowledge without a proper interpretative scheme is useless; research without restrictions tends to morally questionable activities, and the knowledge gained from such research does not justify the means.

This morning I read a rather weird, and yet if one contemplates it, possibly horrifying scientific advance. It is of a new kind of tattoo. Instead of being inked in by needles, it will be an electronic tattoo display under your skin. It will be powered by your blood. The tattoo will not be static, like typical tattoos. One who has it will have turned their skin into a surface for a kind of video output similar to a LCD screen. Just think, you can watch television through your skin! If you want, you can  become a walking billboard, changing the advertisement when you get a new, better offer. Money for nothing! Except, of course, the loss of one’s human dignity.

I fear we will not be able to stop a merger between man and machine in the future; and it seems the rise of such cybermen is within our foreseeable future. Before that happens we need to figure out now what that will mean. Will we lose our humanity? Is that even possible? If so, how? If not, then what does it say about humanity that someone can remain human if they transform their body into something which is mostly (or perhaps completely) metallic?

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  • Cripes.

  • That tattoo sounds like a bad sci-fi movie from the 80s.

  • I read about this too.

    I thought it was just a concept though, an Idea – not something that was going to be researched. I personally believe that nothing in science shud be rejected unless its going against the law. I heard about some scientists that were looking at combining human dna with another animal – this i find disturbing. Being agnostic though I don’t have many religious beliefs that conflict with science.

  • The problem is that if we just say what is legal is what is moral, we can end up making everything moral by removing laws. Morality is prior to legality.

  • jimklasz

    mr. Karlson,
    You may find interesting reading if you visit the “New Atlantis” magazine web site.The magazine is dedicated to the study of technology and human nature. Two articles that may interest you are “The Moral Challenge of Modern Science” in the Fall 2006 number and “The Age of Neuroelectronics” in the Winter 2006 edition. You can archive these on line at

  • gallifreyan

    I can’t decide if that’s awesome or not. And from the post title, I thought you were talking about Doctor Who (which my blog is a fan-fic of :-P)

  • Gallifreyan

    Of course it’s a nod to Doctor Who as well (I’m a big DW fan). Remember how the Cybermen were born (in the old series, or the new). The old way was replaceable parts; the new way, well, I-Pods. This sort of combines the two into one.

  • Jim

    I actually have not read those (and will look into them) but I keep up with the issue. I’ve my own speculative answers on them, but this post was more to get people to consider their own than for me to tell them mine.

  • Jasondsdf232

    Interesting article. www.