Sunday, September 24, 2017

Transhumanism: World’s First Cyborg Neil Harbisson wanted to be able to understand color, so he drilled a hole into his head




Neil Harbisson (born 27 July 1984)  a Catalan-raised, British-born avant-garde artist and cyborg activist based in New York City says "I'm  not wearing technology – I am technology” This interdisciplinary artist who is the world’s first being to be legally recognised as a cyborg.
Why? Harbisson has an antenna implanted into the back of his skull, which has "osseointegrate" into his nervous system and skeleton – attached to it is a webcam, which transposes the light frequencies of colour into his skull as vibrations, each of which produces a distinct musical note.
 While studying at Plymouth University, in the UK, he developed a software that associated color with different sounds and had it drilled into his head.
 Harbisson is one of the subjects of David Vintiner and Gem Fletcher’s photo series Transhuman, featuring people around the world who use technology to transcend the limitations of the human body. 

 The term "transhumanism" is difficult to define; broadly speaking, it looks into changing and transcending human limitations using science and technology. Proponents of a certain kind of transhumanism involve Silicon Valley billionaires like Elon Musk and Peter Thiel.

 From prosthetics to pharmaceuticals, humans have been using technology to alter their physical and mental capabilities for thousands of years. Now, with our rapid advances in technology, some people are embracing human augmentation as a means of expressing themselves and experiencing the world in a totally different way. Neil Harbisson, is one of these people. The artist was born with achromatopsia, or complete color-blindness. Far from a disability, Harbisson considers his natural world-view to be an asset, though he did want to be able to understand different dimensions to sight. But it also encompasses body hacking; the creation of new abilities or the enhancement of existing ones by modifying the body. 
 He has been able to “hear” visible and invisible wavelengths of light. An antenna-like sensor implanted in his head translates different wavelengths into vibrations on his skull, which he then perceives as sound.
 What  Harbisson spoke about the benefits of extra senses:
"Depending on how you view transhumanism, the idea that body modification – such as an implant that lets you find magnetic north – could be available on the NHS is a strange one. But almost everyone I speak to agrees that these trends are just the beginning.
There is no difference between the software and my brain, or my antenna and any other body part. Being united to cybernetics makes me feel that I am technology.

The definition that [scientist] Manfred Clynes gave for "cyborg" in 1960 was that in order to explore and survive in new environments, we had to change ourselves instead of changing our environment. Now, we do have the tools to change ourselves. We can add new senses, new organs. 
The overwhelming theme that emerges is that these initial modifications – microchips that let you sense seismic activity on the moon, additional organs that help you create new senses – are just the beginning for both biohackers and for the rest of society.

It’s like getting a tattoo, says Harbisson. “Look at how many people are now tattooing themselves in 2017, and compare that to the people getting tattooed in 1987.”

Despite Young’s assertion that integrating technology into our bodies is very human, there could be a change in what we call a human being. “Everyone will have different senses and organs and modifications, depending on what they want,” says Harbisson. “What we call diversity now – it will be nothing compared to what we call diversity in the future.”


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Transhumanism: World’s First Cyborg Neil Harbisson wanted to be able to understand color, so he drilled a hole into his head

Neil Harbisson (born 27 July 1984)  a Catalan-raised, British-born avant-garde artist and cyborg activist based in New York City says...

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