Exploring cyber augmentation in the Star Trek universe

What are the federations’ views on bionic implants, and why might they undermine the message of privilege?

over the years, Star Trek He became known for creating some of the greatest science fiction technologies. These marvels range from teleportation devices that can send a person great distances in a matter of seconds, to simple yet revolutionary gadgets that can instantly translate any known (and often unknown) alien language. The world is rich in these creations, but they often lie outside the human body. There are of course some exceptions, but the franchise seems to avoid the common use of cybernetics on both humans and a wide variety of alien species. why is that?

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Cyber ​​augmentation is the implantation of electronic machines into the human body to either enhance or sometimes restore functions. Often in the world of science fiction, it is used to improve performance. The idea is very fanciful. However, it could be argued that the use of prostheses or computer/brain interfaces for those with communication difficulties could be categorized as electronic augmentations in the modern era. These body modifications are often highly imaginative, as seen in Cyberpunk-style figures that blur the line between machine and organic. They are often seen in science fiction triumphing over a slew of philosophical questions surrounding identity.

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These growths are found indoors Star Trek, but it was not advertised as desirable. When looking at what they’re capable of, this is an odd choice. In the next generation In the episode “Measuring a Man”, it is revealed that Jordi LaForge’s disability symbol visor and its corresponding implants give him super vision, allowing him to see things no one else can. The episode throws this information at audiences, but never really delves into why, if this electronic surge is so good, not everyone plays one sport?

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It is suggested that people Star Trek The world, whether Romulan, Ferengi, Vulcan-adjacent Dominion, or Federated, doesn’t want these replacements for anything other than repairing the “broken” parts of themselves. These augmentations are not prohibited like genetic augmentations, which were prohibited after the events of the Eugenics Wars. So what’s stopping more people from getting it? What line is drawn to say these modifications are unwanted?

One of the biggest answers to this question, again, is found outside of the fictional universe. First, it is not feasible to simply give these electronic reinforcements to every human actor. Especially in the early days of visual effects, they looked ridiculous and cost a fortune. The creators of the show also wanted these stars to be relatable, feel like any other human, and therefore just like the audiences watching.

A large part of what Star Trek He was trying, and still trying, to preach that the future of humanity is a good future, that humans can evolve and change to become better. This is etched into everything the franchise has done since the oft-underrated good old days The original series. It presents humanity as a force for good across the universe, one that is forgiving, kind, moral, and caring. They are trying to say that this is possible for humans as we know them today. Electronically showing themselves their improvement distorts this message, perpetuating the idea that humans alone are not good enough, so they need to change and improve. It is no longer a change of mindset between the humans of the future and the humans of today. It is instead re-engineering our bodies into something better, fooling the system effortlessly. It goes against the foundational basics of Star Trekthat humanity is inherently flawed and in need of “fixing”.

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There is an in-universe explanation, too; However, the show doesn’t specifically make it clear, and it applies more to humans than to other nefarious races. Humans of the future are shown to be better than the usual vices that plague humanity today. They are beyond using money and wars for gain, and a big part of this lies in an sheer turn away from greed.

In many science fiction stories, these electronic augmentations are desires born of greed, the need to constantly improve the body to be better than everyone else’s, wanting more and more than what the natural body can provide. These future humans find their worth through the journey, a sentiment that may sound cliché but is true to Roddenberry’s vision. They don’t want to cheat on their way to becoming better. Instead, their sense of self-worth comes through hard work along the way. Cybernetic enhancements, no matter how much they improve their body’s natural functions and abilities, are nothing compared to the bodies they were given at birth, and all the hard work they put into improving themselves both physically and mentally.

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