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Humanizing Tech

Get Superhuman Abilities with Biohacking

How people are already implanting tech into their bodies to do things nobody else can

I. Setting the Stage

Unpacking our Superhuman Augmentation thesis, there are two alternative approaches. The first is that we try to mimic ourselves in machines. We build software and robotics that look, feel, and act biologic in nature. The other side of that is changing our own bodies by implanting machinery. We put metal and plastic in our knees and our hips. We put pacemakers in our heart.

For thousands of years, human beings have been augmenting their own bodies. We pierce our ears, paint our faces, and even rip into our flesh to make things bigger (boobs and butts) or smaller (bellies).

We, as a society moved from fat as an aphrodisiac when everyone was poor and emaciated in the middle ages to athletic as an aphrodisiac when everyone is lazy and fat in the current ages.

Humans tend to flip-flop on what’s fashionable as the years go on. But lately we seem to be obsessed with a different kind of augmentation. Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilms are all profiting from stories of humans with super abilities.

This dude can fly, this dude is super smart, this gal has a laser lasso, and this little green guy has a plasma sword.

We’re obsessed with our phones because they make us feel superhuman. We’re obsessed with lifehacking because we’re trying to make more money, get smarter faster, or become hashtag Instagram models.

Incidentally, it’s also why our population is obsessed with Artificial Intelligence and Augmented or Virtual Reality. Because it lets us live inside a world where we can be superhuman. Like the Holodeck on Star Trek, we all want to get beamed up.

The AirPods improve our hearing while the AR Goggles improve our sight.

But some altruistic individuals have begun moving some of this outer-body technology soft exoskeleton superpowers back inside their bodies.

II. Defining Biohacking

Colloquially referred to as Grinding, it takes the hacker mindset beyond mechanical software and hardware and aims it squarely at their biology. In its most simple terms, you hack your body to get better performance. It sounds weird until you read the two examples I’m about to give you, that you’re likely already doing.

  1. Coffee: You drink it in the morning or the afternoon to “wake up” and feel more productive. You just hacked your biology.
  2. Music: You listen to it while working out to get amped up, during Christmas to get in the spirit, or in a car after work to destress. In every case, you’re hacking your biology. Incidentally, Music as a Control Mechanism is another of our theses.

I bet you never realized you were so cutting edge. This concept is becoming more mainstream as we speak. Remember the Apple Watch’s new Breath mode? That’s also biohacking.

If you take the breathing concept to its logical conclusion, you’ll get into the meditation space. There’s plenty of scientific evidence to back up the positive mental and health benefits of meditation, which we won’t get into here, but rest assured that reducing the constant distraction and interruption caused by obsessively checking our phones is a good thing.

But that’s not so much what this research is about. Where we really need to head is to the place where we’re physically modifying our bodies for superhuman abilities.

For that, we need to delve into the dark corners of the internet.

III. Leveling Up Your Biohack

It’s not for the faint of heart. The first example we’ll share with you is one you may have come across already, originating from a site called Science for the Masses. This is where they lay out procedures and scientific research for modifying their own biological systems.

In this first example, the founder of the site, named Gabriel Licina, attempts to “shine his eyes” like our too fast, too furious friend, Vin Diesel.

The Chronicles of Riddick’s “shine job”

This was nearly two years ago, when they used a cancer treatment chemical, Chlorin e6, dropped into the eyes. The retina absorbs it and aids in the ability for low levels of light to be detected, and therefore let people see better at night.

You can read more about the exact night vision biohacking procedure on their website. Interestingly enough, the experiment worked that night. They used a control subject who hadn’t had his eyes shined to compare and contrast what could and couldn’t be seen. Some people hid behind some trees and the shined eye guy saw them while the control person did not.

Not the most unbiased and large sampled scientific experiment ever made, but it shows the potential, and sets a precedent.

Gabriel Licina attempting to get night vision eyes, just like our superhero movie friends.

What starts as a cool concept in a movie, ultimately turns into a product. Tech will always change, but humans never will.

Another example is to inject an RFID chip into your hand to have a door just open when you get to it, authenticating you as a secure entrant, which would replace a keyring full of keys. Also log into your computer with your hand. You might have noticed the Apple Watch copied this friction removal along with the latest Mac OS.

IV. Where This Is Headed

There’s an idea at the end of the above video for an NFC chip embedded in your ring finger that will let you share your contact details. Imagine shaking hands with someone new and automatically exchanging contact information as well.

There’s extra-sensory perception like implanting magnets or a compass that lets you feel which direction is north.

The AirPods we put into our ear are using vibrations along our jaw line to send audio vibrations back and forth between the machine and the human. Eventually, as the video alludes to, this will be inside the body, not external pods you stick in and out of your ear.

What’s interesting with the Apple Watch and the AirPods was that both of these products were predicted with Biohacking as Superhuman Augmentation.

We’ve talked previously about infrared vision from contact lenses and about mind-controlled, self-organizing microbots. As these bots become nan0-sized and move into the bloodstream you get things like self-optimizing health where they attack cancer as its growing or deliver nutrients you’re not getting enough of all in hopes of obtaining perfect health.

As we move on to exploration of new worlds where the atmosphere is made entirely of methane or carbon monoxide, we will need to modify ourselves so we thrive in that environment instead of having to wear suits. That’s just about de-risking our ability to live on that planet. If you biology is modified to use Methane as Oxygen, then you don’t have to worry about poking a hole in your space suit. You just go outside and breathe in the warm, pungent smell.

And, taken to its ultimate extreme, what if we evolve ourselves beyond the need to eat food. Sounds silly until you realize plants use photosynthesis to create energy from sunlight and water. Hydrogen and stars are plentiful in the cosmos. That’s a much more efficient food source than having to continually grow crops and animals as we quickly hop from planet to planet and star to star.

Here’s to our future spacecapades.


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Get Superhuman Abilities with Biohacking was originally published in Humanizing Tech on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

from Stories by Sean Everett on Medium http://ift.tt/2hZbgtq