The Augmented Human: Cyborgs and Body Hackers

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Creation Date February 13th, 2020
Updated Date Updated May 7th, 2020
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  1. Learn a new language faster than ever! Leave doubt in the dust! Be a better sniper! Could you do all that and more with just a zap to the noggin? Maybe. Sally Adee, an editor at New Scientist, was at a conference for DARPA - The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency - when she heard about a way to speed up learning with something called trans-cranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). A couple years later, Sally found herself weilding an M4 assualt rifle, picking off enemy combatants with a battery wired to her temple. Of course, it was a simulation, but Sally's sniper skills made producer Soren Wheeler wonder what we should think of the world of brain stimulation.  In the last couple years, tDCS has been all over the news. Researchers claim that juicing the brain with just 2 milliamps (think 9-volt battery) can help with everything from learning languages, to quitting smoking, to overcoming depression. We bring Michael Weisend, neuroscientist at Wright State Research Institute, into the studio to tell us how it works (Bonus: you get to hear Jad get his brain zapped). Peter Reiner and Nick Fitz of the University of British Columbia help us think through the consequences of a world where anyone with 20 dollars and access to Radioshack can make their own brain zapper. And finally, Sally tells us about the unexpected after-effects of a day of super-charged sniper training and makes us wonder about world where you can order up a state of mind.   Special thanks for the music of Brian Carpenter's Ghost Train Orchestra  
  2. In 1998, a transponder or silicon chip was surgically implanted into the forearm of a British scientist. It sent identifying signals to a central computer that tracked his movements and allowed him access to his workplace, by opening doors and switching on lights. Professor Kevin Warwick has been speaking to Farhana Haider about becoming a more enhanced version of himself and as a result the world's first Cyborg: a man-machine hybrid. Photo: Professor Kevin Warwick with chip transponder Credit: Science Photo Library
  3. Jordan Erica Webber talks to the co-host of Grindfest, a festival for which dozens of fans of a type of body modification called ‘grinding’ travelled to the Tehachapi mountains in California. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/chipspod
  4. Frank Swain can hear Wi-Fi. Diagnosed with early deafness aged 25, Frank decided to turn his misfortune to his advantage by modifying his hearing aids to create a new sense. He documented the start of his journey three years ago on Radio 4 in 'Hack My Hearing'. Since then, Frank has worked with sound artist Daniel Jones to detect and sonify Wi-Fi connections around him. He joins a community around the world who are extending their experience beyond human limitations. In 'Meet the Cyborgs' Frank sets out to meet other people who are hacking their bodies. Neil Harbisson and Moon Rebus run The Cyborg Foundation in Barcelona, which welcomes like-minded body hackers from around the world. Their goal is not just to use or wear technology, but to re-engineer their bodies. Frank meets the creators of Cyborg Nest, a company promising to make anyone a cyborg. They have recently launched their first product - The North Sense - a computer chip anchored to body piercings in the chest, which vibrates when it faces north. "I'm a 51 year old bald guy, with no tattoos or piercings" says co-founder Scott Cohen. "This was never a place I thought I'd end up in. Everyone's talking about machine learning, but what we're trying to do is make our brains smarter." Of course, the marriage of technology and biology is commonplace in medicine, from pacemakers to IUDs. But now 'citizen hackers' are modifying their medical equipment to add new functions. Dana Lewis from Seattle has created her own 'artificial pancreas' to help manage her Type 1 diabetes and released the code online. But should limits be placed on self-experimentation? And will cybernetic implants eventually become as ubiquitous as smart phones? Features music composed for The North Sense by Andy Dragazis. Presenter: Frank Swain Producer: Michelle Martin.
  5. Neil Harbisson has a condition that means he only sees in greyscale. Throughout his life people would talk to him about colour, but when your world is entirely black and white, it's very difficult to understand. But when he was at university Neil met another student and together they developed an antenna that would translate colours into music notes. Neil underwent a controversial surgery to have the antenna permanently implanted in his skull. He now considers himself a cybernetic organism - a cyborg. Image: Neil Harbisson with his antenna Credit: Lars Norgaard
  6. Today we travel to a future where we can tattoo sensors right onto our skin. What happens when you can get a live readout of everything from glucose to hormones to hydration levels built into a tattoo? What kind of privacy can you expect when your medical data is literally written on your skin? And what does any of this have to do with Inspector Gadget and René Descartes? → → → Further reading on today’s episode can be found here ← ← ←🚨🚨🚨 Become a patron before June 30th and get a special prize in the mail! 🚨🚨🚨Guests:Ali K. Yetisen— researcher at Imperial College LondonAce Ratcliffe — disability activist, writer, co-founder of Harper’s PromiseEler de Grey — interdisciplinary artist & writer Quinn Grundy — researcher at the University of TorontoActors:Maria -- Cara Rose de Fabio Gaby -- Eler de GreyMarquis -- Rotimi Agbabiaka (check out his new solo show called Manifesto on June 21 at the African American Arts and Culture Complex as part of the National Queer Arts Festival.)John -- Keith Houston (also check out his karaoke nights in San Francisco) Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Hussalonia. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky. Special thanks to Adria Otte and Molly Monihan at the Women’s Audio Mission, where all the intro scenes were recorded this season. Get in touch:  Twitter // Facebook // Reddit // info@flashforwardpod.comSupport the show: Patreon // DonorboxSubscribe: iTunes // Soundcloud // Spotify  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
  7. In this installment of the Future Grind podcast host Ryan O’Shea speaks with Anastasia Synn, a Las Vegas-based magician who uses her over two dozen implants both in her live performances and in her daily life. Anastasia is a pioneer in the biohacking and transhumanist communities, using her network and creativity to think up incredible new uses for implanted technology. Anastasia has been prominently featured in national and international media, and she has testified in support of augmentative technology in front of the Nevada State Legislature. She also stars in a new Hulu documentary profiling her husband, famed comedian and magician The Amazing Johnathan.   Show Notes: https://futuregrind.org Subscribe on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/future-grind-podcast-science-technology-business-politics/id1020231514 Support: https://futuregrind.org/support Follow along - Twitter - https://twitter.com/Ryan0Shea Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/ryan_0shea/  Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RyanOSheaOfficial/  If you have any questions or are interested in supporting or sponsoring Future Grind, you can reach us at hello@futuregrind.org.
  8. Over the summer, Elon Musk unveiled the details of his secretive startup Neuralink. Its goal, he said, is to place electrodes in our brains so we can control a computer with our thoughts. Its experiments have so far been limited to rodents and monkeys, but Neuralink builds on strides already made in medicine, where doctors have successfully placed implants into human brains to treat a variety of illnesses. This week on Decrypted, Bloomberg Technology’s Sarah McBride visits the primate lab that’s been carrying out Neuralink’s research, and meets the doctors and the patients at the forefront of this emerging field. 
  9. Humanity is on the road to transhumanism, but some individuals are a little farther down the technologically-evolved highway than the rest of us. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian discuss the definition of transhumanism and some of the DIY pioneers and cyborg harbingers preparing us for Homo sapiens 2.0. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
  10. A race has broken out in Silicon Valley to create a breakthrough "brain-computer interface". Such a device would herald a new era of telepathy, and eventually merge with artificial intelligence. It also brings with it a hornet’s nest of challenges. Who will control it? Will our thoughts be policed? Billions of dollars are being poured into the technology that remains wrapped in secrecy. We talk to people on the front lines to figure out what is really going on.In this new eight-part series, The Sunday Times' technology correspondent Danny Fortson tells the story of the valley through surprising narratives and portraits of key players. DIVE DEEPERlongform interviews on Danny's sister podcast, Danny In The Valleyread Danny's longform commentary on the series at thetimes.co.ukProduced by Jim Carey at Rethink Audio for Wireless Studios and The Sunday Times. Matt Hall is the executive producer for Wireless Studios.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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  2. In this installment of the Future Grind podcast, host Ryan O’Shea speaks with well known biohacker and transhumanist Rich Lee. Rich first came to the public eye in 2013, when he had magnets that served as headphones implanted into his ears - meaning that he could listen to music or receive data wirelessly directly to his head. Rich has also experimented with implanted armor, and is known for his work on the aptly named Lovetron9000. Recently Rich has begun using CRISPR in an effort to modify his genes to promote muscle growth. We discuss sensory substitution, the importance of safety, some potentially horrifying uses of virtual reality and image recognition, and more. This conversation does contain some adult themes - they are nothing too graphic, but we will provide another warning when we’re moving on to those topics. Once again we remind you that the thoughts of the guests on this podcast do not necessarily reflect the views of Future Grind or myself. Biohacking is dangerous and things can go wrong. We strongly advise against self-surgery of any kind, and you should consult with a trained medical doctor before moving forward with any type of human augmentation. Show Notes: https://futuregrind.org Subscribe on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/future-grind-podcast-science-technology-business-politics/id1020231514 Follow along - Twitter - https://twitter.com/Ryan0Shea Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/ryan_0shea/ Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RyanOSheaOfficial/

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