Not everyone is willing to wait around for the Singularity to turn them into superintelligent posthuman cyborgs. Some are doing their best with what’s available now. With tools that include a vegetable peeler, vodka, Sugru (for bioproofing), and a scalpel she ordered online, Lepht Anonym is adding magnets, RFID tags, temperature sensors, and other tech to her body in order to augment her senses. It involves, she points out repeatedly, an awful lot of pain.
It’s really not very difficult, but it hurts a lot.
As you can tell from the videos, which are a couple of years old, the law gets in Anonym’s way. She worries a lot about getting sued for telling people how to replicate her experiments. She cannot use local anesthetic, because it is tightly regulated. That means she has to face the pain of minor surgery without it. She also believes it is illegal to cut open anyone else, even with their permission. She calls the offense “mutilation with intent to scar” and thinks it could lead to 10 years in jail. (I think she’s probably wrong about this, but I’m not a UK lawyer.)
The law is an obstacle to Anonym mostly because she is performing medical procedures with kitchen tools. It is not illegal to install cybernetic implants (or just magnets). In fact, it is possible to have augmentations installed under anesthesia by professionals. It does cost more money (for now), but it is also a lot less dangerous.
More on Lepht Anonym:
- The Verge: “Cyborg America: inside the strange new world of basement body hackers” (August 8, 2012)
- Wired: “Transcending the Human, DIY Style” (December 30, 2010)
- H+ Magazine: “Scrapheap Transhumanism” (February 11, 2010)
- Sapiens Anonym, her blog