What Cyborgs can do for us

In the 1990s, Donna Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto” (1991) made an argument for an alternative perspective in thinking about science, technology and feminism. The cyborg figure was expressed through popular films in the late 1980s and early 1990s like Robocop (Verhoeven 1987), The Terminator (Cameron 1984) and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Cameron 1991). Despite being written two decades ago, Haraway’s argument can prove to be relevant to us today in thinking about the transgression of boundaries made available through the inventions of digital technology. Through a close analysis of Alex Rivera’s 2008 film Sleep Dealer, I suggest that the cyborg image remains productive in the way it helps us to think about the hybridity of our relationship to digital technology, the fears and awe that we hold towards it as well as its limits and possibilities. A cyborg perspective can free us from rigid and fixed ways of thinking about and understanding human interaction with technology and therefore be immensely valuable to us.

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