Biohacker Michael Laufer recently had a 512GB drive implanted in his leg, which can store data, stream music or movies, and power a hot spot and mesh network. It’s called the PegLeg, and WIRED’s Daniel Oberhaus spoke with Laufer about the device and the field of biohacking.
For more of Daniel’s reporting on Laufer, his PegLeg and Biohacking technology, visit WIRED.com: https://ift.tt/2HAdH5o
Humanity just made a small, bloody step towards a time when everyone can upgrade themselves towards being a cyborg. Of all places, it happened in the back room of a studio in the post-industrial German town of Essen.
It’s there that I met up with biohacker Tim Cannon, and followed along as he got what is likely the first-ever computer chip implant that can record and transmit his biometrical data. Combined in a sealed box with a battery that can be wirelessly charged, it’s not a small package. And as we saw, Cannon had it implanted directly under his skin by a fellow biohacking enthusiast, not a doctor, and without anesthesia.
Called the Circadia 1.0, the implant can record data from Cannon’s body and transfer it to any Android-powered mobile device. Unlike wearable computers and biometric-recording devices like Fitbit, the subcutaneous device is open-source, and allows for the user the full control over the data.
This week I was intrigued by the concept of embodiment, as it brought to mind some of the school students that I teach. A New Hope questioned ‘at what point do our bodies begin and end. How do we define our most intimate borders?” This has congruence with what Miller defines as embodiment relationship, in that “when technologies are being used, the tool and the user become one” and the object becomes “part of the body image and overall identify of the person” (Miller, 2011, 219). Vincent delves further into the theory of embodiment relation by examining the intimate relationship that many individuals have with their mobile devices. Citing the work of Richardson (2007), he outlines that the close proximity of mobile phones to the body and the manner in which they connect to a number of sensory functions creates a much more powerful connection to humans than any other type of technology we use.
This concept had significant influence on this week’s life-stream and I identified some YouTube clips that explored our increasingly complex relationship with mobiles, and how smartphone dependency has become a rapidly growing epidemic. I was particularly interested in the article that I tweeted from Psychology Today that argued the attachment of a young person to that of their mobile phone is akin to the relationship a child has with a teddy bear. I was further intrigued by the TEDx talks from Jeff Butler and Anastacia Dedykina who respectively delved into discussions of how mobiles phones change the way we think, and whether we could live without them.
In my school, this is particular concern of mine and despite the existence of a ‘silent and invisible’ mobile phone policy, I see youngsters walking around our campus carrying mobile phones as if the device was an appendage to their limb. There is no doubt that these youngsters have a deeply intimate relationship with their mobiles, and any suggestion of their removal can often lead to anxiety, and in some cases despair. As Vincent argues, the devices are very clearly an extension of themselves and the social platforms they are accessing are reflections of their identity and self. Therefore to forcibly remove the technology would be tantamount a technological amputation.
However, the question remains as to how much this increasingly symbiotic relationship humans have with mobile technology, will actually contribute to human development? Does the embodiment relationship enhance our ability to grow into more advanced versions of humanity, or does this desecrate humanity and stymie its potential to flourish?
Miller, V. (2011) The Body and Information Technology in Miller, V. Understanding digital culture pp. 207 – 223, London: Sage
Very sad, but interesting article in the Guardian today. Do our daily interactions with technology mean that we are all gradually curating an indelible digital version of one's self? Our own digital legacy of life https://t.co/EeqJYdYbzI
Great article on why Japanese do not fear robots to the same extent as the West. It attributes the religion of Shinto, which affixes spirits to humans, animals and inanimate objects, as one of the major factors. ‘All things have a bit of soul’ #MSCEdchttps://t.co/tnWzIL9vFg
.. our school due to the essential and transformative role it has within their education. I think its more important to think about how we manage the use of technology for youngsters so that they are educated about best practice and appropriate use.
I also teach children, but older students in secondary. Their lives are imbued with technology and, sadly, I am regularly witness to its negative impacts – social disengagement, cyberbullying, tech addiction etc. That said, I could not in good conscience ever remove it from…
Fab article Jemima! It certainly makes me ponder ethical issues in such developments. Although I think that if technological boundaries can be pushed to this limit, humans will always attempt to do so, even when our ethical guidance suggests we shouldn't. Thanks for sharing
https://youtu.be/uNQujCwCu88 Anastasia Dedyukhina ditched her smartphone, together with her senior international career in digital marketing, when she realized how dependent she had become on the gadget. Today she acts as a business mentor, supporting ethical tech startups, and runs Consciously Digital, helping companies and individuals be more productive and less stressed in an age of digital distraction. In her talk, Anastasia will explain why we feel the uncontrollable urge to check our smartphones all the time and share the valuable lessons she learned and the tips that helped her find the balance between her online and offline life.
Having worked for 12+ years in senior digital marketing positions for global media and internet brands, and easily spending 16 hours a day connected and even sleeping with her phone, Anastasia eventually realised she needed to unplug to remain healthy and productive.
Giving up her smartphone was the first step to creating Consciously Digital – a London-based training and coaching company that helps individual and corporate clients be more productive online, so that they can have more time for things that matter.
Anastasia is a frequent speaker at global internet conferences on the topics of ethical tech and digital detox, as well as marketing in the age of digital distraction. She blogs for Huffington Post about digital detox, and is currently finalising her first book on the same subject. Anastasia was born in Russia, lived in six different countries, and has an MBA from SDA Bocconi (Italy) and NYU Stern (USA), and a PhD from Moscow State University.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
It identifies the fine line educators must tread between the advantageous application of technology as a tool to enhance learning, against the often dangerous pitfalls and losses, that its use (and overuse) may result in.
As a teacher in secondary education, this video has resonated with me. Youngsters are increasingly viewing mobile technology as extensions of themselves, and as suggested by Miller (2009) have 'achieved an intimacy with their users that other technologies have yet to match'
Upon reading The Body and Information Technology (Miller, 2011), my interest was piqued in the manner in which the ‘cyborg’ was represented. The terminology, as a result of popular culture and dystopian notions of cybernetics, has often been framed as something to fear, with the term being imbued with pejorative connotations. Citing Gray et. al’s idea that by using technology as a means to restore, normalise, enhance and reconfigure the human body, it is possible to view the notion of cyborgs through an entirely different prism. Ten years ago my father was lucky enough to receive a cochlear implant on the National Health Service after years of degeneration in his hearing. Prior to the operation his hearing had diminished to such low levels that had essentially rendered him severely deaf. The implant to restore his hearing was life-changing and this ‘normalising’ technology significantly improved the quality of my father’s life. His hearing was restored to such a level that the was able to once again hear the sound of a spoon clinking against the side of a mug, as he stirred sugar into his tea – an everyday noise that he had not heard for years. Until I read the core paper, I have never viewed my father as a ‘cyborg’ but Miller has certainly put forward a reasonable case that has helped realign my perspective on this. Imagining cyborgs as individuals who have benefited from technology to improve the quality of their lives, rather than a traditional view often put forward in science fiction, establishes a more positive framework for understanding the complex relationship between humans and machine. This was very influential in my lifestream this week, with my inaugural tweeted about cochlear implants and cybernetics from the Ear Institute.
That said, there are possible ethical concerns on the horizon with this technology – as auditory cybernetics have developed over the past decade, my father’s device has become increasingly connected to the digital world. He can now connect his cochlear to Bluetooth and is able to attune the device to his mobile phone, laptop and television. This has brought me to wonder whether, in the not-too-distant future, humans who do not suffer from acute deafness, will be choosing to voluntarily implant the technology in order to enhance their connectivity to digital environments. This of course raises a gamut of ethical concerns over the nature of voluntary augmentations on the human body. Is this something that should be prevented from happening? And if so, can it be stopped?
Miller, V. (2011) “The Body and Information Technology”, from Miller, V. Understanding Digital Culture pp. 207 – 223, London: Sage.
Interestingly, this was the same Olympics that, now disgraced runner, Oscar Pistorius took part in the main race. Critics argued that his prosthetic 'blades' gave him an unfair advantage over his able bodied competitors!
Absolutely, there's no doubt the intention of the campaign was to was to emphasise strength of character rather that physical enhancement. That said, its difficult not to reflect on the idea of homo faber, the maker and user of technology, and the resulting symbiosis that occurs
Simmel (1971)… characterised the human desire to manipulate inorganic matter and create tools and machines as a way of overcoming bodily boundaries and limitations in the pursuit of physical transcendence'.
Just read Vincent (2011) ‘The Body and Information Technology’. Fascinating stuff… My father received a cochlear implant in 2010. A means of using technology for to ’normalise’ his condition. I have never viewed him as a cyborg until now https://t.co/w1QKVUFQni
Before we get properly started on the business of lifestreaming, I thought I would briefly introduce myself.
My name is Brian Kerr and I am a teacher of history and geography at the leading British international School in Qatar, where I have been living since 2010. I have the added responsibly of being Head of Digital Learning for our Primary and Secondary campuses, so this is what motivates me to learn more about digital education.
I have been enrolled on the Digital Education programme with Edinburgh University since September 2018, and have completed the IDEL course and Digital Education in a Global Context.
I’m looking forward to seeing what Educational and Digital Culture has in store for the weeks and months ahead.