Androids 17 and 18 were part of one of the most important and remembered episodes of the entire Dragon Ball saga. Although they were initially featured as villains, in Dragon Ball Z, they were later heroes in the sequel Dragon Ball Super. Due to the story line, when an evil scientist created two teenage-looking killer androids with powers more developed than those of the Super Saiyans, no one was surprised. Actually, there were few explanations of how Androids 17 and 18 came aboutThat is why many fans had not realized that they were androids. According to Dragon Ball, An android is a robot that looks and acts like a human.
But in Dragon Ball Z it was clarified that 17 and 18 were not robots, confirming that they were born as ordinary humans. It was only after they were kidnapped and used for experiments by Dr. Gero that they became known as Androids 17 and 18. It is difficult to think of them as something different, however, the classification in which they were had was incorrect.
What is the definition of an Android?
On the other hand, a living organism that has been enhanced with robotic parts is a cyborg. Therefore, the definition of cyborg is more in line with what Dr. Gero did with the supposed Androids 17 and 18, and very surely, somewhere in the multiverse there must be a version of this series where they are known as Cyborgs 17 and 18. In their beginnings as humans, the modifications that Dr. Gero made to them became so ingrained in their bodies that Shenron could not undo them. This would explain why Android 17 was able to resurrect with the dragon balls, while 16 could not, because the latter is one of them.
In fact, it appears that Androids 17 and 18 are the only creations of Dr. Gero that are not actually androids. The rest, including the 13, 16 and 19 do correspond to the characteristics of androids. When Cell and Vegeta blew apart 16 and 19, these ejected robotic parts all over the place, confirming that it’s about robots. However, 17 and 18 have not been broken into pieces to find out what is inside. All we know is that they are mostly human because in Dragon Ball Super they both had children.
It’s hard to think that Dr. Gero doesn’t see a difference, despite being smart enough to create androids and cyborgs. In fact, this genius is quite simple.When he makes a creation, he names it Android and the number that corresponds to him and continues with his projects. Possibly Dr. Gero did not keep track of the android and cyborg schematics and their respective numerical designations due to their disorganized nature. Although considering that he kidnapped Androids 17 and 18, experimented on them, turned them into cyborgs, and then was surprised when they revealed themselves against him, he may not be such a brilliant scientist.
In conclusion, maybe there is no explanation for the classification of Androids 17 and 18. It is probable that Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball, simply decided to name them androids or he did not know that there was any difference. But, leaving from these speculations, that Android 17 and 18 have a wrong name, has not changed his role within the series.