Biohacking has become a buzzword in recent years. Defined as ‘A do-it-yourself citizen science merging body modification with technology’, biohacking takes place in formal and informal settings all over the world.
The medical industry has been ‘hacking’ human biology to improve our quality of life for decades. From cochlear implants to bionic eyes and pacemakers to faecal transplants, new developments are being tested and refined all the time.
Why is biohacking so popular?
Biohackers have a profound interest in science and the benefits that come from manipulating the human body and those of other living creatures. But they are fed up with the red tape that surrounds scientific research and the lack of exploration around problems that are not profitable on a commercial scale, so they’re looking to solve these dilemmas themselves.
One of the best-known Australian biohackers is Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, who gained mainstream media notoriety when he implanted his Opal Card into his hand.
His bio on the Science Party website states ‘Meow is a passionate molecular biologist, entrepreneur, and futurist. He believes that scientific research combined with technological action will solve the major challenges facing the world today. He is heavily involved in the democratisation of science through his work in co-creating an international network of biohackers and community laboratories.’ This sums up the beliefs and motivations of many biohackers.
The minimal costs involved in setting up a working lab in a kitchen or garage, along with access to the internet, shared laboratory spaces and likeminded individuals means that there is an increasing number of people manipulating their own genetic material to try and find solutions to health and lifestyle issues, such as open protocol insulin production, DIY cell printers and real (vegan) cheese or just trying to work out how to become more muscular or live longer – the possibilities are limited only to your imagination.
Companies such as Genspace even offer crash courses on biohacking for people without any laboratory experience.
All you need to do is look to the internet to find a multitude of resources explaining just how much is being done in the world of biohacking. There are many Ted Talks covering this topic, the Netflix series Dark Net (series 1, episode 2 in particular) is a fascinating watch and a recent HVMN podcast featuring Dr Josiah Zayner goes into detail of his experience testing on himself when biohacking.
What are the risks?
Beyond the health risks, biohackers expose themselves to other risks when conducting experiments on themselves, it’s unsurprising to note that the biggest risk is to the data generated.
For example, Geektime predicts that the Internet of Things (IoT) and medicine could see RFID chips monitoring human behaviours and potentially even vital signs in the future with the likelihood of technology moving on to include scanning these chips as ID. This is something biohackers are already exploring, but how do you put protective measures in place when there is a shift to large-scale data collection from such activity, especially for commercial enterprises?
Cyber security is a term that every IT professional is already well aware of, but it should be your key priority if research or large-scale data collection is critical to the success of your business. Data security and protection is vital for businesses of all sizes and it pays to be equipped with the right tools from the beginning, so that you remain protected no matter the challenges and opportunities biohacking and other technological advances bring.
The Missing Link can help protect your hard work and proprietary data using a combination of cyber security solutions, custom designed to suit your individual needs.