By Ben Slater, Vanilla Brief
I don’t think most people realise it, but we live in the future. You don’t even have to be a kickstarter-backer to appreciate how fundamentally amazing life is right now.
Sure, the future has its detractors, and maybe it is causing our children to develop abnormally large thumbs – but if that is the price to pay for all the cool stuff we have at our disposal, then I will gladly trade the manual dexterity of my children to secure a future of radness. It’s now a world where if we see something crazy on the internet, we are only a PayPal account and a PO Box away from sharing in the insanity. Case in point, I am now a biomechanically enhanced human.
Ok, so maybe that is a step too far – all I have is an NFC-enabled RFID chip implanted in my hand. But as none of my friends has implanted NFC chips in an effort to biohack their person, I think I deserve to be called biomechanically enhanced – although I am sure my wife can think of other words to describe what I did in Melbourne the other week (#stupid anyone?).
When I first saw the Indiegogo campaign raising funds for the xNT implantable NFC chip, it sounded like something from a Blake’s 7 episode (children of the ‘80s unite). Watching Amal Graafstra – the founder of the campaign and the aptly named DangerousThings.com – present at TEDx, my excitement quickly overtook any rational thought.
I simply had to have the chip implanted, and after finding a suitable “installer” in Pete Sheringham of The Piercing Urge Melbourne, well it was too late to turn back.
You can watch the video of the implant here, although it certainly doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination as to what the procedure is like (if that video is too heavy, here is a video of my one-year-old son James laughing at a pussy cat.
After the implant procedure I am now able to share my contact information with anyone with an NFC-enabled phone, simply by tapping their phone on my hand; I can turn all of the lights on and off in our house (which I accidentally managed to do when in Sydney away from home the other evening – my wife was NOT impressed, although secretly I think she thought it was cool. Maybe. Actually, probably not, she was pretty annoyed); and I am looking at having my car enhanced so I can start the engine keylessly with a swipe of my hand.
So, you may ask, why don’t you just give someone your email address verbally, and is it really that hard to turn the key in an ignition? And you would be right. But that’s not the point.
We now live in a world where the ability to search the sum knowledge of human existence is available in your pocket, on your wrist or floating over your eyes (plus there are the cat videos). Where, in some homes, a 3D printer is just another appliance next to the toaster and where biomechanically enhanced humans may just be sitting next to you.
It’s a world where I can have a microchip implanted in my hand seemingly on a whim, after which I can then sit in my office in Brisbane having a face-to-face discussion of the merits of biohacking over Skype with Amal, the man who arguably started this revolution, as he sits in his home in Seattle. We indeed live in the future. And I love it.