Remember your nightlight from childhood? How it comforted you in the time before device charging ports, keeping the dark forces at bay?
Ever want to surgically implant that nightlight underneath your skin so that you could glow at will?
Ok, not so much.
But that’s where the biohackers come in. These early adopters are sprinting toward cyborg status as fast as technology will take them. Which is still not very fast, but not for lack of trying.
The biohacker community fascinates me. So when I read about a group that sliced their own skin to implant LED lights in the backs of their hands, I HAD to share.
Why did they do it? Doesn’t matter. It only matters that they did.
If you’re the kind of person that loves TV shows about cosmetic surgery, check out the original post. But if you’re (like me) prone to night terrors and day terrors and stomach mutiny, then I’d stay here.
Biotech has been with us for a while. But the line between human and machine is about to get a whole lot fuzzier.
I think we can expect most advances in biotech to flow through the medical field for a little while longer, providing much-needed support for those with disabilities, injuries, or diseases. Mind-controlled artificial limbs, pacemaker microchips made a part of the heart itself… and don’t forget Google’s wonderful (terrifying?) injectable smart lenses.
But biotech implants won’t stay need-based for long.
And once they hit the market, it’s off to the races. Biohackers, on your marks…
That’s why the LED-under-skin operation fascinates me so much. Not because it modifies the human form; we’ve been doing that for centuries. Artificial limbs date back at least to ancient Egypt. And not because biotech like this is now possible. We could have sewn flashlights under our skin decades ago. I guess LSD was more interesting?
I’m fascinated because this operation confers no advantage of any kind. These individuals just wanted to alter their biology with technology. Cosmetic? Yes, but that’s almost a secondary consideration.
The article describes these enthusiasts as members of a “biohacking collective.” Motives aside, you can’t deny how cool that sounds. What are you a member of? A book club? The PTA?
So we have a community of individuals eager to take the next step in human modification. No advantage? No problem. They do it because it’s fun. And when the serious stuff finally hits the market, they will buy in first.
Modifications might be novelties at first: LEDs in the hand, prehensile ponytails, light-up tattoos…
But eventually, a market mod that grants a real competitive advantage will appear. That’s when the fun begins.
For now, we can ooh and ahh and ewwww at the distended skin and light-up surgical scars of the biohackers. And pointing is great fun.
But for how long? Are we just a few years away from affordable over-the-counter nanites for injury repair? And I’d be lying if I said bioluminescence was completely uninteresting to me…
I haven’t needed a nightlight for almost two whole years now. The closet monster doesn’t threaten anymore, and I use storm windows to keep out vaporous supernatural creatures. But they could still be out there, plotting, waiting for a power outage to snuff out the lights. If that day comes, artificial bioluminescence could be what saves me.
What about you? Can you envision a private-market tech implant that you would accept into your body? Not for medical benefit—I’m talking about something that adds to a healthy, functioning human form.
What advantage would an implant have to provide to make you accept it under your skin?
Or more likely, what disadvantage suffered by not having it?
Sound like a silly hypothetical?
I’ll bet a shiny penny you have to answer the real question soon enough.