Father of the Cyborgs @ Tribeca

I just read that by 2050 human bodies will be merged or implanted with machines. Scary? Or excited? Is this how the human race is evolving? That we will become cyborgs? This subject is very much what is examined in the David Burke directed documentary, Father of the Cyborgs. It follows the life work of Dr. Phil Kennedy. A well regarded neurologist who believed so much in what he was researching that he began to experiment on himself.

Not a man to ever give up, Dr. Kennedy went to lengths not many have or would in order to see his hypothesis through. He believed he could bring the ability to speak back to patients who were considered “locked-in” as well as restore movement to those who were paralyzed. How he would do this is the incredible part. Kennedy would merge computer and brain to accomplish this.

In the late 90s his work was already making headlines as he connected the brain of a paralyzed man to a computer. This led to the first time in history that a person was able to control a computer using only their brain. It was at this time Dr. Kennedy was dubbed the “Father of the Cyborgs”. Not easily satisfied, he did not stop there.

In 2014 a large portion of the scientific community as well as his family were shocked when he decided to travel to Belize to conduct experiments using his own brain. It was the only way he could think of to continue his research. The man has guts! And is maybe a little crazy as the surgery he underwent almost led to him being incapacitated for life. I mean who would actually undergo an optional experimental brain surgery?

Even though science is far from my wheelhouse I really found this documentary interesting. It was not just Kennedy lilting Irish accent either. It was the idea if this is actually possible. That computers and brains can be linked up to make something…well…something else. The stories of mavericks in any field are always engaging, but in this instance the fact that it seems like something right out of Star Trek or other works of science fiction makes it all the more interesting. Kennedy’s research will help people with diseases like ALS or who are paralyzed and bring them to qualities of life never before thought possible. The fact that he is doing this for the greater good, as opposed to Elon Musk who with his Neuralink experiments is seeking even more money and power, makes it and Kennedy all the more amazing.

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