Bergen, Norway - Biohacking starts to find its way into our lives, but what is it and who is using it anyways?
When you hear the word biohacking for the first time, it reminds you of some geek, whose social life does not go beyond the next supermarket at the corner. Or we think of science fiction movies and computer games; remember the terminator?
But biohacking is way more, it rather describes a way to improve your own body or your surroundings with the worldwide knowledge about biology and do-it-yourself cybernetic devices.
An example would be the case of a biochemist from Berlin in Germany. The scientist picked up dog dirt in front of his house to find out which dog owner did not clean up his dog’s mess. After he had some probes, he started to throw tennis balls at the dogs that were walking by and played with them a little. Later in his laboratory, he checked the DNA of the dog dirt with the saliva on the balls. And that’s how he found the evildoers.
But biohacking is more than just the smart skills of a biochemist; it can improve our human abilities to a whole new level. In March 2015 the biohacker, Gabriel Licina, had a chlorophyll based liquid, called Chlorin e6, deposited into his eyes to see in the dark.
Besides the cool black eyes he had after the procedure, Licina’s eyesight got so good that he could point out people standing in the woods at dark night – and that up to 50 meters or 55 yards.
Is all of this necessary? Do we need it? Will we be able to do something useful and beneficial out of this new trend or will we use these new methods to breed some new kind of super soldiers?
Jonas de Vos, who lives in Amsterdam, had his body connected to his house via a new kind of chip implanted under his skin. Similar to Tim Cannon, who did the same in 2013, Jonas’ house now reacts to his mood.
“The really ingenious thing about it is that with living in my house now I feel like Iron Man. See, I’m coming home from work and ask Cortana [Microsoft’s personal assistant] for a restaurant, where I can go later that day with my girlfriend. At the same time, the chip in my arm analyzes the data it gathered during the day and decides that I need a relaxing bath instead of a fast shower. That’ll improve my mood before going out. That’s just awesome and it works all electronic, without any expensive and real personal assistants. Everybody will be able to afford these things very soon.”
And again the question: Do we need it? Maybe not as a collective, but individuals may have their very own use for such body modifications, just like Seth Whale. The former US-Marine, who now works for a cyber security company, implanted an NFC chip, with which he can hack nearby Android gadgets, into his left hand. This kind of technology would be a catastrophe in the hands of criminals, just think of private photos or bank account data.
These examples show just a short insight of what is and can be possible with biohacking. On the one hand, it is somehow cool to pimp your own body and truly stand out from the crowd. But on the other hand, these technologies can get very dangerous when in the hands of criminals. In the end, everybody has to decide on their own; do I want to be one of the pioneers in this field or do I want to be the end consumer after the technology is ready for the mass market.