Father of the Cyborgs

Amherst Cinema Amherst, MA


Dr. Paul Katz

Director, UMass Initiative on Neurosciences and Professor of Biology

Father of the Cyborgs— Brain-machine interfaces

Scientist and professor Dr. Paul Katz helps explain the neuroscience of brain-machine interfaces.

Amherst Cinema Amherst, MA

Film Synopsis

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

About the Speaker

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