In March 2005, Amal Graafstra had implants in his hands and used it to access his home, and open car doors. 2013 saw the launch of a biohacking company “Dangerous Things” by Amal.
To this date, 10,000 people are estimated to have chips implanted. Spreading like wildfire, the movement promoting the merge of biology and technology to liberate life’s inconvenience is ever-growing. However, a split is seen associating the ‘scientific revolution’ with a dystopian vision of the future where we end up destroying ourselves or become slaves to technology.
If scientists don’t play God, who will?
Despite the vast majority of support gathered on the integration of evolution and science, some argue that digital world augmentations leading to Transhumanism, is nonsensical. However, bringing a digital identity to the real world where thermostats can be adjusted and doors opening with a flick of a finger is a cybertronic emergence and honestly, sounds extremely commodious, en-route to the human race becoming ‘cybernetic organisms’.
While some gaze upon ‘biohacking’ as bending God’s will, it can be argued from the egoistic viewpoint that self-interest is the most prized commodity and aims to gain respect from others for being ‘superior’. The theory prioritizes pursuing your own happiness, only to have a positive knock-on effect to society thereafter. Dissecting this issue through egotistical ‘retinal-implants’, one can proclaim that self-validation would be the highest order and strive towards becoming ’unique’. Basically, we don’t condemn people for using glasses to see better. So why should we disharmonize implanting RFID chips in ourselves to open doors and unlock smartphones to streamline the notion of everyday life?
People usually feel threatened by those who are not of the ‘norm’, but who or what exactly defines the norm? Especially when evolution beyond human limitations is vastly being researched everyday with millions of taxpayer’s money being spent on it. Undeniably, ‘biohacking’ is deemed ethically permissible as it’s neither ethically obligatory to have implants, nor is it ever wrong to have surgery of any form.
When the greatest gift is life itself, bio-hacking sets out to eliminate human ailments and increase life expectancy. By acutely monitoring human physical and biochemical processes via microchip implants, vast scientific literacy may be yielded and interpreted by doctors, GPs and individuals. To illustrate, in an emergency, historical data prior to a patient losing consciousness may be retrieved and acted upon, saving precious time, reducing the likelihood of fatality. Therefore, from a utilitarian perspective, the cumulative happiness inherent of increased human race longevity and becoming the absolute best versions of ourselves is phenomenal relative to the ‘minor’ incurred negativities.
With respect to global economy, the synergy of enhanced physical, intellectual and psychological capabilities will have a profound boost on labour productivity in manufacturing sectors. Future prospects include managers monitoring the positioning of employees in team activities, minimising downtime, ultimately reducing cost per unit. Also, craftsmen might possess integrated lasers to judge angles, distances and geometries.
Intrinsic human nature is to move forward, develop and evolve. Applying hedonism, the ideology that all other emotions are merely instrumental relative to pleasure, the argument for bio hacking implementation is tremendous. When aligned with capitalism, it has the power to battle poverty in developing countries, simultaneously increasing the quality of life of all social classes.
Chipping ourselves away
Undeniably, the dawn of the first Superman movie back in 1948 drew attention towards superhuman abilities. Everyone ogles at how the likes of Wolverine or Captain America elucidates their life’s turmoil by employing their genetically and prosthetically engineered powers at the face of their enemies (literally). Paradoxically, those ‘physical enhancements’ are what caused them to be in that position in the first place. Undergoing tremendous amount of physical and mental augmentation, only to wind up in a ceaseless internal battle due to their immortality. And this is where our discussion takes us, to the health risks of ‘transhumanism’.
Implants under the skin produces swelling, bruises and temporary itching, taking about two years for the body to heal around the tag. Attempts at biological enhancements will have staph infections such as MRSA, that would cause the body to be resistant to many antibiotics. With this, ‘Dangerous Things’ company is working with professional body piercers, seeking out their expertise with needles to circumvent or reduce the infection. Though one can argue that they’re employing The Duty-Based Approach to avoid heavy repercussions from the implants, the movement is still frowned upon as it goes heavily against God’s will as ethical standards are the creation of God’s will itself. God-fearing individuals know to steer clear in the direction of transhumanism as they believe everyone is born the way God intended in accordance with the Divine Command Theory. Same cannot be said about these ‘body hackers’, who acts upon their longing for transcendence.
Health issues are not the only concern when it comes to human-chipping. While Hollywood actions movies have instilled futuristic real-time tracking devices in the form of microchips but it would need to be self-powering which is not achievable with the current technology without the implant being large. However, this is not to say that there are no security risks involved with the current chip-biohacking. Taking a step back, implanted RFID chips are actually extremely susceptible to hacking, duplication and identify theft, risking high-level security threats, primarily in the workplace.
Porter makes a compelling argument that having chip-implants is equated to carrying around your corporate badge everywhere involuntarily, making yourself a sitting duck for predators. It can be as simple as buying the person a drink, cloning their RFID via scanning and stealing their identity. While there are RF-shielded gloves, it is impractical to constantly wear them. Defying utilitarianism, micro-chip implants are a desire rather than a necessity, and so, do the needs of the few, outweigh the needs of the many in terms of securing privacy?
To hack or not to hack?
Biblical apocalyptics claim body-chipping to be the “Mark-of-the- Beast”, forecasting apocalypse. However, no government agency oversees neuroelectric interface enhancements. With the risks in mind, is hacking yourself worth it? Or is it one step further towards evolution?