wheelchair with exoskeleton arms


Most cyborgs are disabled people who interface with technology. We depend on a computer for some major bodily function. The tryborg — a word I invented — is a nondisabled person who has no fundamental interface. The tryborg is a counterfeit cyborg. The tryborg tries to integrate with technology through the latest product or innovation. Tryborgs were the first to wear Google Glass. Today they wait in line for Snapchat Spectacles. The tryborg adopts the pose of a cyborg. But no matter how hard they try, the tryborg remains a pretender.

Tryborgs can only imagine what life is like for us.

Opinion | The Dawn of the ‘Tryborg’ – The New York Times

Tryborgs are nondisabled people with a lot of hubris. Tryborgs are granted the expertise on cyborgs, almost pro forma, for no apparent reason. Tryborgs lack experiential knowledge. Their brains do not jostle between pharma and non-pharma. Their bodies do not whir. They were not born into machines.

Yet tryborgs pretend to know more than disabled people—cyborgs—all the time.

Ray Kurzweil conceptualizes the Singularity, a tryborg salvation fantasy.

Elon Musk invents Neuralink, a tryborg plagiarism of the cyborg mind.

And worse: These tryborgs make technologies in their own image—white, nondisabled, heterosexual, cisgender, wealthy. We should retire them. We should unsubscribe from them. We should fire them. 

The Pandemic Made Me Realize My Brain Is Already Cyborg | WIRED

If you are thinking, No, no, no, cyborgs do not exist, they are theoretical creatures, then you are likely a tryborg.

Tryborgs rely on the nonexistence of actual cyborgs for their bread and butter. If cyborgs exist, how will the tryborg remain relevant? Wouldn’t we just ask the cyborg for her opinion? The opinions of cyborgs are conspicuously absent from the expert panels, the tech leadership conferences and the advisory boards. The erasure is not news to us. We have been deleted for centuries, and in the movies, you will often see us go on a long, fruitful journey, only to delete ourselves in the end.

But anyone with a hard drive can tell you: Even when you delete something, it is not really gone. So it is with us cyborgs. We remain in the periphery, un-scrubbed and un-snuffed out.

Opinion | The Dawn of the ‘Tryborg’ – The New York Times

I call them tryborgs. They have tried to be cyborgs, but they are stuck on the attempt, like a record skipping, forever trying to borg, and forever consigned to their regular un-tech bodies. They are fake cyborgs. They can be recognized because, while they preach cyborg nature, they do not actually depend on machines to breathe, stay alive, talk, walk, hear or hold a magazine. They are terribly clumsy in their understanding of cyborgs because they lack experiential knowledge. And yet the tryborgs – for reasons that I do not understand – are protective of cyborg identity. I often find my bio re-written by a tryborg: ‘She claims to be a cyborg’ or ‘she calls herself a cyborg’. Imagine if they said this about my other identities: ‘She claims to be a woman. She calls herself white.’

Common Cyborg | Jillian Weise | Granta

They like us best with bionic arms and legs. They like us deaf with hearing aids, though they prefer cochlear implants. It would be an affront to ask the hearing to learn sign language. Instead they wish for us to lose our language, abandon our culture and consider ourselves cured. They like exoskeletons, which none of us use. They would never consider cyborg those of us with pacemakers or on dialysis, those of us kept alive by machines or made ambulatory by wheelchairs, those of us on biologics or anti-depressants. They want us shiny and metallic and in their image.

Common Cyborg | Jillian Weise | Granta

…the focus is always on what the Tryborgs want instead of what Cyborgs want.

Improving Disability Representation in Star Wars | One Scene for Joy – YouTube

I asked them to invent things for us, the cyborgs who are already here, already alive.

Common Cyborg | Jillian Weise | Granta

Further reading,