April 22, 2017 is my bionic birthday. At around 17:15 I chose to upgrade myself. An NFC tag was implanted into the webbing of my hand. This was the day I had waited for since I was a teenager, watching the original Ghost in the Shell and daydreaming of integrating with the machine world.
If you thought it was not yet possible for an individual to choose to technologically modify themselves, let me assure you that the dawn of "transcending" has begun to split our evolutionary horizon.
People may question the ethics of such procedures, but I believe in the importance of distributed knowledge. This technology is out there and in the hands of people and organisations that I do not fully trust. Instead of fearing it, I choose to understand and learn how to hack it. Hopefully I am one of many with knowledge and skills to be the defense against any unethical practice. Humans are both the cause and the cure of technology gone wrong.
With that in mind, myself and five other individuals were invited by the Leeds International Festival to receive implants as part of their Biohacking, Cyberpunk & Hacker Culture event. With TEDx Speaker and Body Hacker Hannes SjÃ¶blad observing the procedure, we were upgraded.
The tag was produced by Dangerous Things and implanted into my hand by a lovely body piercing professional (who decided to become one of us). The procedure with the sterile injector felt like a deep bite for a couple of seconds and then it was done. I could feel a tiny foreign object embedded into the flesh of my hand.
Within minutes I started to hack myself.
One of the first steps I took was to secure my NFC tag from malicious attack with the Dangerous NFC App. With 17 years experience as an IT professional I take technology security very seriously.
Using a tag writer I found it very easy to manipulate the data with my mobile phone. I can imagine if it came in contact with those of deviant inclinations, it could have been easily sealed in a way that I would not be able to handle the data stored within.
It has been less than 24 hours since I upgraded, but I have already been able to use my new component to:
- bring up my twitter account
- play one of my favourite songs
- call me an Uber to take me home
I plan to enjoy this journey with my new feature and look forward to writing about my future enhancements. But I will always remember the first bit of data I stored into my body using my latest upgrade. Words that spoke to me when I was a little girl. Words that guided me as I explored the revolutionary cyber landscape that was being built.
I think, therefore I am.
Words that I will literally carry with me always.