The Cyborgs in 1990s

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The Evolution of Cyborgs in Film

The movies and films produced from the 1990s to the 2000s included a consistent representation of evolution in science. Cyborgs made their debut during this time period, and they quickly became a theme in filmmaking. Since then, science fiction in the film has gone through a number of changes. In recent years, cyborgs have been used more often in films to represent superheroes and supernatural entities. A cyborg, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is a fictitious or imaginary being that has physical powers that exceed human capabilities. Functional abilities have been improved by using physical components that are integrated into the body. In addition, the Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a Cyborg as a bionic person. Cyborg is a combination of two features. There is the machine part, and the human element and both are combined to bring a superhero structure.

Origin of Cyborgs

The idea of the combination of man and machine in the field of fictional science began way back before the start of the Second World War. The concept came into limelight as early as 1843. Edgar Allan Poe described a man bearing extensive prostheses in a brief story titled, "The Man That Was Used Up." The Nyctalope introduced by Jean in 1911 was one of the first fictional science heroes, making it the first literary cyborg (Cheu, 2004). Also, at some point in 1928, Edmond Hamilton offered space explorers with an idea of a combination of organic and the mechanical parts in a novel dubbed, "The Comet Doom." Since then, the discussion around the use of cyborgs in films and movies has never stopped. Scientists have explored the idea of cyborgs at length and have continued to give different opinions and suggestions on how these human-machine creatures can be incorporated in various aspects of human life science. The scientists were seeing a possibility of the need for an intimate association between the human beings and machines.

The term Cyborg was also used by Captain Future in his short story, "After the Judgment Day." In the story, the name was described as a mechanical analog which had been initially termed as a cybernetic organism in the early 1960s. The period between 1960 and 1990 experienced less activity and research in the field of cybernetics. There was the slow rate in the development of cyborgs. However, the early 1990s experienced a vigorous event in the development and advancement in the use of cyborgs in films and movies. There was increased research in technology to come up with better ways of improving the cyborgs and incorporating them into the cinema to give a better experience. The combination of science and technology has since then given rise to highly mechanized Cyborgs which are taking the part of human more than the machine.

Cyborgs in Popular Culture

Cyborgs are becoming common in the famous world. The increased research in the field of cybernetics since 1990 has led to the enhanced utilization of Cyborgs in movies. Some of the films which have utilized the feature include The Terminator, RoboCorp, and Cybermen. The technology used to develop a Cyborg has been used in other areas of applied science; however, more focus has gone for the Cyborg more often used in films. Cyborgs, even though they have both the human and machine parts, it must be noted that the Cyborgs still lie on the machine side than the human component (Greven, 2017). They are fully machine-operated. The difference comes in the manner in which they discharge their functions. They behave like humans, at times they have feelings. Cyborgs in movies have displayed feelings of pain and joy. At times, they are empathetic about different situations human beings go through.

Humans have shown varied reactions towards Cyborgs. There are those individuals who feel that with time, Cyborgs will come to overtake the world. The increasing technological advancement is likely to produce human-machine creatures to overpower the human nature. There is a lot of fear that with the current trend, humans should watch out on Cyborgs. Those opposed to Cyborgs argue that the future could be a world full of crazies with chips implanted in their brains. Humans fear the competition that might arise between the Cyborgs and human beings, bearing in mind that Cyborgs possess supernatural strength and other associated abilities such as intelligence (Weingart, Muhl & Pansegrau, 2003). On the other hand, there are those who are fascinated by the power displayed by the Cyborgs. Individuals secretly lust for the power and strength displayed by the man-machine creatures.

The Future of Cyborgs

There is a possibility that with the improvement in science and technology, Cyborgs could be highly developed to possess more human creatures than the machines. However, it remains that they will still operate under mechanical standards. Thus, upcoming developments in cybernetics will always rely heavily on technology and science. The future of cyborgs is promising as technology takes root in many parts of the world. More advanced Cyborgs are likely to flood the film industry. Additionally, the cybernetic technology will still get application areas such as the military and space exploration. Already, there are planes which are driven by robots. The idea used in the development of robots is still an extension of the Cyborg technology. Previously, the technology has found its application in cognitive science where individuals are increasingly interacting with technology to develop a cyborg system. Since most individuals use technology to trigger their cognitive processes, it can as well be argued that humans are naturally born cyborgs.

Body Modification

With the technological advancement being witnessed across the world, various fields are incorporating new techniques to improve their efficiency and service delivery. The medical field has also experienced numerous technical milestones, and one of them is the use of cybernetics as a form of medication. The method of implantable to support patients whose legs and arms have been amputated is one of the applications of the science. However, the technology has come with its challenges. Patients at times experience implantation feelings of trauma and fear. Also, it brings some feelings of uneasiness especially when the patients are in public settings. Even if a patient receives the prosthetic legs or arms, it does not mean they change to be Cyborgs since they still operate with the human body as opposed to the Cyborgs which are entirely machine-operated.

Cyborgs in Terminator 2

The current paper will assess Terminator 2 movie which was produced in 1991. The film involves two cyborgs, the T-1000 and the T-800 who have been assigned different roles (Greven, 2017). The documentary introduces Sarah Connor who is preparing her son, John to be the future leader of the resistance. T-1000 is the new deadly terminator sent to destroy Sarah and her son and prevent them from the future. However, the opposition, learning the plot by T-1000 sends another terminator T-800 to protect the two from destruction.

The introduction of cyborgs in the movie creates a scene full of metals. In the film, T-1000 can assume the appearance of the contact. The T-1000 kills the police officer at the hospital gate and assumes his appearance. In the film, the T-1000 is more advanced than the previous cyborg movies. The cyborg is made up of liquid metal thus making it easier to change its appearance and assume that of the immediate contact (Weingart, Muhl & Pansegrau, 2003). On the other hand, the T-800 which is meant to protect John and his mother are less advanced. The entire movie seems to portray the battle between the two cyborgs. One trying to destroy John while the other one works to protect him. Terminator 2 was the beginning of the evolution in fictional science. The movie marked a remarkable step in computer-generated imagery. The cinema used natural human motion to develop a computer-generated character.

The first encounter was at a shopping mall when the T-1000 converge on John where a chase ensues. With fears that T-1000 might kill Sarah to access John, T-800 is sent to protect Sarah. Finally, the two terminators meet and engage in physical combat. However, the more advanced model overpowers T-800 and shuts it down. However, the T-1000 is unaware that the T-800 can bring itself back using an online emergency power (Abbott, 2006). T-800 comes back and destroys T-1000 entirely by surprise using the M79 grenade launcher. T-800 comes up with another idea of self-termination. The terminator adds that it cannot self-terminate and asks Sarah to lower it into molten steel. The termination of the T-800 was effected to avoid it being used for reverse engineering.

Functions of Cyborgs in The Movie

In the entire film, the two cyborgs have been depicted differently. First, the T-800 has been used as a savior. The T-800 comes after information goes that T-1000 has been sent to kill John and prevent it from taking the leadership of human resistance. In a number of the 1990s movies, cyborgs were often used either for protection of destruction. Also, the T-800 is seen a weak, an old model of cyborg with limited advanced features. Despite its limitations, the cyborg is used in the movie to show the strength of a former model (Cheu, 2004). Since the period was full of developments in the computer-generated cyborgs, T-800 was used to disapprove science which wanted to overrule the old models of cyborgs. The T-800 despite the weaknesses it had in its structure managed to destroy the T-1000 which was believed to be more powerful and highly mechanized. The T-800 had one unique feature, the ability to bring itself back after being overpowered. The unique feature possessed by T-800 helped it to save Sarah and John from T-1000.

On the other hand, T-1000 represented the new developments in fiction science. Terminator 2 movie was the advancement of the previous Terminator movie. Hence, there were latest developments in the new cyborg. The new model mad breakthrough in the use of visual effects in the computer-generated imagery. The events had significant impacts on the use of optical forces in films during the period. The T-1000 was more advanced as it was composed of liquid metal; thus it could change its appearance and assume that of the contact. Also, it had more power and stamina compared to the T-800. T-1000 was set to undertake the destruction of John.

The extensive use of computer-generated imagery was meant to bring out the contrast between the two cyborgs. The utilization of technology in the movie had been the ambition f movie producers in the early 1980s. The success of the film in fictional science was, therefore, a completion of a task which began some years back with the movies such as Tron. The liquid metal was critical in the development of T-1000 to allow it change to almost anything it made contact. The metal skeleton effects on T-800 were also crucial in bringing a better understanding of the old models of cyborgs compared to the new liquid model T-1000. The visual effects used in the T-1000 were advanced with the display of the most significant technological improvements. The combination of the computer effects allowed the demonstration of its shape-shifting technique is making it the most advanced cyborg of the time.

The movie marked a transition in a technological approach to cyborgs in films and documentaries. With the two different terminators, the documentary showed the interaction between humans and machines and the value attached to human life. The development of cyborgs has been triggered by the widespread research on the possibility of creating human-like devices to perform various tasks. In the real world, the robotics industries have been working hard to improve the experience of robots. The latest models of robots can perform multiple tasks compared to those in the last 20 years. Technology has undergone a series of evolutions with research coming up with new models to improve on the existing ones.

Even though the T-1000 was expected to be superior, it was finally overpowered by the T-800. The defeat shows however many human beings try to develop sound technologies; there are many setbacks which still require more research studies to effect necessary changes. The T-1000 seemed to have been designed from entirely a different angle and not the improvement of the old models. While the T-800 was made of metallic skeletons, the T-1000 was made of liquid metal. The weaknesses displayed by the T-1000 shows some of the gaps in technology which must be addressed to enhance the better experience of the cyborgs in films.


The two terminators in the movie have been depicted as superheroes, with the higher power which could either protect or destroy human beings. Technology has been used to show developments in these skills assigned to cyborgs while increasing their artificial intelligence. The use of graphics and imagery has been a significant boost making the cyborgs look more human-like (Pyle, 2000). The cyborg theory keeps evolving as the world experiences technological advancements; thus, more advanced cyborgs are likely to feature in the coming movies as the industry focuses on new technologies in artificial intelligence. One central question which remains unanswered is the future of cyborgs and human beings. Could there be a possibility of another war between humans and the robots which are part of the cyborgs? Perhaps time will tell.

Test Questions (Arithmetic)

Input the appropriate answer

1 + 3 = ________

6 - 3 = ________

19 - 6 = _______


Abbott, S. (2006). Final frontiers: Computer-generated imagery and the science fiction film. Science Fiction Studies, 89-108.

Cheu, J. (2004). De-gene-erates, replicants and other aliens (Re) defining disability in futuristic film. Disability/postmodernity: Embodying disability theory, 198-212.

Greven, D. (2017). Queering The Terminator: Sexuality and Cyborg Cinema. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Pyle, F. (2000). Making cyborgs, making humans: of terminators and blade runners. The cybercultures reader, 124-137.

Weingart, P., Muhl, C., & Pansegrau, P. (2003). Of power maniacs and unethical geniuses: Science and scientists in fiction film. Public Understanding of Science, 12(3), 279-287.

January 18, 2023


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