Father of the Cyborgs

76 mins.
Directed by David Burke

Post-screening remarks by and discussion with Dr. Paul Katz, Director of the UMass Initiative on Neurosciences and Professor of Biology.

This screening is free to Amherst Cinema Members!

Neurologist Phil Kennedy made global headlines in the late 90’s by connecting the brain of a paralyzed man to a computer. He was compared to Alexander Graham Bell and became famously known as “The Father of the Cyborgs.” Then, in 2014, he shocked the medical and scientific community and his family when he traveled to Belize to implant his own brain in an attempt to continue his research. That brazen act nearly incapacitated him for life.

Undeterred, the controversial inventor now wonders if the field he pioneered may lead to unintended consequences in a future where technology and human brains seamlessly combine and create class differences as a result of such extreme cognitive advantages.

FATHER OF THE CYBORGS explores Kennedy’s single-minded and relentless quest to unlock the mystery of speech for locked-in patients, the knotty history of brain-computer interfacing and mind control, and the emerging debate about neuro-ethics and mental privacy.

Topic: Brain-machine interfaces

FATHER OF THE CYBORGS follows an iconoclastic and visionary neurologist who implanted electrodes into the brains of "locked-in" patients to allow them to communicate through a computer. Paul Katz will help explain the neuroscience of brain-machine interfaces. 

Speaker: Dr. Paul Katz, Director of the UMass Initiative on Neurosciences and Professor of Biology

Dr. Katz studies the neural basis of behavior in invertebrates. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. He has published over 100 scientific articles and served as the President of the International Society for Neuroethology.

Science on Screen is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.