This week, we take an hour to explore the frontiers of the human experience with Trevor Goodman of the Body Hacking Conference in Austin, Texas.
Here’s a bit about the conference from NPR:
• Cybernetics, prosthetics, nootropics, body modification, bionics…
• The origins and history of “body hacking.”
• Body modification as an answer/solution to body dysmorphia (feeling out of place “in your own skin”).
“Frankly, we have no clue how things are going to be in ten or twenty years. Twenty years ago we weren’t carrying our memories around in our pockets like we are now.”
• How modern transhumanism is just an extension of the ancient human project that includes clothing, fire, and other technological augmentations.
• How the freedom of the body is also the freedom of the mind.
• Ethical issues of body modification as personal expression and identity and interactions with other people…
• Unfortunate discovery about our evolutionary history: Our skulls are shaped to take a punch, and our fists are shaped to punch a human skull. That’s why it’s so hard to scan the brain through the skull…
“If only we had punched each other less, maybe we could have giant robot bodies already.”
• Where do I begin and where do you end? Hacking my body is always a political act because it’s always interfering with the commons and the expectations of the system.
• The continued breakdown of consensus reality as we hack ourselves into having all kinds of different new senses that we do not share with everybody else – and how we hopefully begin to CELEBRATE this, celebrate diversity of body forms beyond just whether they depart in minor superficial details from the normal human image or some magazine-made simulacrum of it.
“Sensory augmentation and sensory substitution have the biggest opportunity to fundamentally change who we are as people and how we interact with our environment. And I also think it’s the biggest thing that’s going to blindside people, because some of this stuff is right around the corner.”
“In the past year, DARPA [said] they are getting touch to work in prosthetics. They hooked up a paraplegic woman to a jet simulator and she taught herself how to fly the jet, just by having her brain connected to it, in a day or two.”
“What we’ve learned is that it’s a lot more simple than you might have expected to just plug a thing into the right part of the brain and let the brain figure out how to communicate with it.”
• Trevor raps off a truly impressive list of precedent-setting body hacking experiments starting in 2004 and continuing through utterly crazy science in the present day…
• Will expanding our senses to see or feel the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum help keep us safe from all the wireless information and energy transfer that society requires?
• Will everyone have access to it, or will it create a further divide?
• Project Hieroglyph: Vandana Singh’s short story “Entanglement” and its feature of sensory substitution vests for ecological and political influence.
Prosthetic Indigenous Animistic Awareness
Living in a Postliterate Rumor Society
“You will probably have groups of people who are all about the visual senses, I’m sure, though, too - they’ll all commune together and Look At Things Very Closely.”
#dualplatformidentity // #mindclones
“A lot of us are so not ready to process the changes of twenty years ago, much less process the changes of now.”
• What Does It Mean To Be Human?
My essays on the Body Hacking Conference Blog:
"Best Seat in the House: Being Every Drone"
"Body Alchemy: Let’s Hack The Microbiome!"
"US Supreme Court: You’re A Cyborg"