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The Human Cyborg: Science Fiction Meets Modern Medicine Bookmark and Share

Feb 11

3 p.m. @ Edwards Recital Hall

The Human Cyborg: Science Fiction Meets Modern Medicine

ABSTRACT: Over the past century, the cybernetic organism(or cyborg) has been a staple of science fiction literature and film. Thesestories have explored humanity's relationship to machines when the line betweenthe two blurs. What does it mean to be human? What happens to the soul when thebody is made artificial? What began as science fiction, however, quickly becamescience fact with the development of the artificial kidney. As medical sciencehas progressed in creating more and more implantable technologies (frompacemakers to neural stimulators to identity chips and even to chips that allowthose with disabilities to move a computer cursor with their mind) machines arechanging the way humans interact with the world and define themselves. Sciencefiction provides insight into the ethical and cultural challenges we face in aworld where Homo technologus reigns supreme. This presentation explores themedical reality of implantable human devices, defines the notion of the cyborg,and draws on the art of science fiction to explore the ethical dilemmas ofchanging our selves. 

Contact Women's and Gender Studies Program, 843-349-6548 for additional information

Craig M. Klugman, PhD, is the Stewart & MarianneReuter Endowed Professor of Medical Humanities and assistant director forethics education at the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the UTHealth Science Center San Antonio. He holds a doctorate in the medicalhumanities from the University of Texas Medical Branch, a master’s in medicalanthropology and a master’s in bioethics from Case Western Reserve University,as well as a bachelor’s in human biology from Stanford University. In addition, Klugman completed the Texas Mediation Training program and has a Certificate in Advanced Management from the University of Nevada, Reno Collegeof Business Administration.

Klugman has conducted research on end-of-life issues,public health ethics, rural health care ethics and the social role ofbioethics. He has taught courses on ethics, bioethics, research ethics, end of life issues, public health ethics, literature and medicine, and clinical ethicsat high school, undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. He has published and presented papers both nationally and internationally. He hasconducted clinical ethics consultations for the last 15 years. Klugman serves on the University Hospital Ethics Committee and UTHSCSA institutional review board. Recently, he was honored by the San Antonio Business Journal asone of their “40 under 40 rising stars,” and was named to the 2010 Who’s Who in America. In his previous career, Klugman was a computer journalist.

His co-edited volume, Ethical Issues in Rural Health Care, was published by Johns Hopkins Press in November, 2008. Dr. Klugman’s2001 article, “From Cyborg Fiction to Medical Reality,´is one of the 10 most cited articles in the history of the journal Literature & Medicine.