Father of the Cyborgs

Father of the Cyborgs

Sloan Foundation Film

Release Date



  • David Burke
  • Seán Ó Cualáin


  • 2021 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Film Program Feature Film Grant

A neurologist known as "the father of cyborgs" confronts the ethical quandaries of self-experimentation and a future where human brains and technology combine.

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 whether the field he pioneered might lead to unintended consequences in a future where technology and human brains seamlessly combine and create class differences as a result of 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.

Banner image courtesy of Cargo Film & Releasing

Possible Topics

  • Current and potential uses of brain-controlled technology
  • The science and implications of brain augmentation
  • The ethics and validity of self-experimentation
  • How science is enabling communication for people who can't speak or sign
  • Locked In Syndrome and related conditions

Past Programs


Brain-machine interfaces

Amherst Cinema, Amherst, MA