Natural-Born Cyborgs: Minds, Technologies, and the Future of Human Intelligence

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 41%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 90%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (24) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $11.78   
  • Used (17) from $1.99   


From Robocop to the Terminator to Eve 8, no image better captures our deepest fears about technology than the cyborg, the person who is both flesh and metal, brain and electronics. But philosopher and cognitive scientist Andy Clark sees it differently. Cyborgs, he writes, are not something to be feared—we already are cyborgs.
In Natural-Born Cyborgs, Clark argues that what makes humans so different from other species is our capacity to fully incorporate tools and supporting cultural practices into our existence. Technology as simple as writing on a sketchpad, as familiar as Google or a cellular phone, and as potentially revolutionary as mind-extending neural implants—all exploit our brains' astonishingly plastic nature. Our minds are primed to seek out and incorporate non-biological resources, so that we actually think and feel through our best technologies. Drawing on his expertise in cognitive science, Clark demonstrates that our sense of self and of physical presence can be expanded to a remarkable extent, placing the long-existing telephone and the emerging technology of telepresence on the same continuum. He explores ways in which we have adapted our lives to make use of technology (the measurement of time, for example, has wrought enormous changes in human existence), as well as ways in which increasingly fluid technologies can adapt to individual users during normal use. Bio-technological unions, Clark argues, are evolving with a speed never seen before in history. As we enter an age of wearable computers, sensory augmentation, wireless devices, intelligent environments, thought-controlled prosthetics, and rapid-fire information search and retrieval, the line between the user and her tools grows thinner day by day. "This double whammy of plastic brains and increasingly responsive and well-fitted tools creates an unprecedented opportunity for ever-closer kinds of human-machine merger," he writes, arguing that such a merger is entirely natural.
A stunning new look at the human brain and the human self, Natural Born Cyborgs reveals how our technology is indeed inseparable from who we are and how we think.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Natural Born Cyborgs is an engaging, fun read that leaves readers at a level where they can go beyond the "gee-whiz" level of analysis." — P.B. Broderick, Minds and Machines

"Andy Clark has given us an exciting yet realistic vision of what lies ahead. If you've ever wondered what Cyborgs are really all about, this is where you will find your answers." —Kevin Warwick, Professor of Cybernetics, University of Reading, and author of I, Cyborg

"Highly interesting, provocative and easy to read.... Natural-Born Cyborgs is impressive and entertaining."—Nature

"Clark does an excellent job of explaining the increasing symbiosis between humans and the machines they create."—Dallas Morning News

"Lively and provocative."—San Diego Union-Tribune

Publishers Weekly
Cyborgs have long been a part of America's cinematic imagination (think Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator), but Clark says they're very much a reality. Not only that; pretty much everyone is a cyborg already, according to the author, who heads up Indiana University's cognitive science program. With our laptops, cell phones and PDAs, we're all wired to the hilt and becoming more so every day. As Clark points out, "the mind is just less and less in the head"; when we need information, we usually fire up our PC and access it elsewhere. Clark is at his best when he's writing for a wide audience, distilling arcane technological advances into their essential meaning. But sometimes his sheer enthusiasm for the subject takes over, and the book feels as if it's intended only for tech wonks who can appreciate the minutiae of various mind-machine experiments. Clark gives a passing nod to the negative consequences of an increasingly cyborg world-social alienation, information overload-but retains his essentially positive take on the "biotechnological merger" that is transforming so many people's lives. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
One of science fiction's most frightening images is that of the cyborg-a creature made up of part flesh and part machine whose abilities extend beyond a human's. But Clark, a prolific writer and director of the Cognitive Science Program at Indiana University, posits that we are all cyborgs, using technology to enhance our natural abilities and to expand our conception of the world. Our brains are naturally malleable, and we change and incorporate new technologies as they are made available. Some of them are unacknowledged, such as our precise sense of time courtesy of the omnipresence of watches. Others are obvious, such as biotechnical devices like the pacemaker and cochlear implant that extend life or reverse deafness. While Clark's basic thesis is not original (see Douglas Hofstader's Godel, Escher, Bach, for example), it is different in that it recognizes the positive and negative potential of human-machine interaction and gives excellent examples that will be easily understood by students and the general public. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Nora Harris, Harris Indexing Svc., Novato, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195177510
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/9/2004
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,021,673
  • Product dimensions: 0.40 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 9.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Andy Clark holds the Ancient Chair of Logic and Metaphysics at Edinburgh University. His books include Being There: Putting Brain, Body, and World Together and Mindware.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Ch. 1 Cyborgs Unplugged 13
Ch. 2 Technologies to Bond With 35
Ch. 3 Plastic Brains, Hybrid Minds 59
Ch. 4 Where Are We? 89
Ch. 5 What Are We? 115
Ch. 6 Global Swarming 143
Ch. 7 Bad Borgs? 167
Ch. 8 Conclusions: Post-Human, Moi? 197
Notes 199
Index 221
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)