22/3/2016 - 12:00 am

Body Hacking: Exciting Or Terrifying?

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The more connected we become, the more we begin to look for ways to seamlessly integrate technology into our lives. Advancements in technology have made it possible for us to connect in astonishing ways. Technology is rapidly nesting itself on us, in between us and even within us as humans are discovering new ways of physically putting it into our bodies. But, what does this increased and shared intimacy between technology and our body mean? What do we gain by capturing, saving and sharing everything? And more important, what do we lose?

The web transform us, turning humans into data and code, as we upload our very selves into the cloud. Our devices have grown from a convenience to a dependence, and inevitably an extension of ourselves. But what happens when we become more than human? What happens when we become our devices?

Body Hacking is essentially a process of upgrading ourselves as humans and our natural abilities. It’s the process of making adjustments to the way we live, work, sleep or generally function in an attempt to seemingly improve our overall level of well-being. The adjustments are either based on information obtained through self-tracking or through general real world experiences.

We are plugging ourselves into machines and exposing ourselves even to a higher level, in every day, every minute, every secondexplains Mati Kochavi,  founder of the tech and media company, Vocativ. “The level of data about us is growing and we accept it.” he continues. “Are we mature enough to understand how to use technology the right way? Do we get what it really means? Are we protecting ourselves enough? I’m not sure. Actually, I’m sure we’re not.”

Many of us are already connected to devices which track how much we walk or what we eat, our blood pressure and fitness levels. Our devices track where we go and what we do.   Eventually, our devices will know more about us than we know about ourselves. Our devices will know that we’re becoming sick long before we do. Every aspect of our lives will be tracked and turned into code.

Biohackers look at biology as something that can be hacked. They are not scientists but experimenters. They believe that biohacking is at the forefront of a new kind of evolution, one that rests in the hands of technology.

In the past, biohacking could only be found in the deep recesses of the dark web, but now anyone can purchase the tools to hack themselves, (without the guidance of a medical professional) from websites like Dangerous Things.

The most popular form of biohacking is the implantation of an RFID chip, a tiny device (about the size of a grain of rice) that is placed inside of the user’s hand. Chances are, you may be using RFID technology without even knowing it. RFID chips are in our cell phones, credit cards and passports. They are used to access public transportation or the buildings in which we live and work. We even use it to tag our livestock and our pets. 

Eventually, all of our personal information may be stored on RFID chips and never need to carry cards or keys again. Although this may not be “socially acceptable” today, many people believe that one day we might not have a choice. 

I don’t think that people really understand how technology is affecting their lives” says Kochavi. “They get it, but they don’t understand it. Think about it.. There’s so much data about each one of us. Do we know where it is? Do we know if there’s a problem? Do we know who is keeping the information about us? These are really interesting questions.

Depending on who you ask, the idea of bio hacking can be an exciting new frontier or a terrifying one. Should people have the right to control their own bodies and determine what goes on them or in them? What happens when technology that we don’t really want is imposed on us? Will we one day lose our power and autonomy inside of the web?

Read 1197 times Last modified on 4/4/2016 - 2:16 pm
Joi M Sears

Joi M. Sears is a creative strategist, freelance journalist and social entrepreneur. She is the founder and Creative Director of Free People International, a social enterprise which specializes in designing sustainable products, creative platforms and innovative experiences for the greater social good.

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