Posted: Tue, January 22, 2013 | By: Hank Pellissier
Tim Cannon is a biohacker from Grindhouse Wetwares in Pittsburgh - their motto is “what would you like to be today?”
He spoke at the Extreme Futurist Festival; he was interviewed by “The Conversation: In Search of the New Normal”; National Geographic’s show “Taboo” is filming him in March in a 1 hour segment; and Discovery channel is currently talking to him.
The interview below with Transhumanity.net took place recently, via email.
Question: Tell me about the bio-hacker scene in Pittsburgh and how it’s sort of a center.
Tim Cannon: The biohacker scene isn’t really centered around Pittsburgh, if anything its centered around the internet. However, Pittsburgh is becoming associated with biohacking and grinding because Grind House Wetware is here. The people here are really supportive of freaks and geeks. There are tons of really bright hackers due to all the colleges and willing piercers, plus it looks like fucking Gotham City, all filled with urban decay and hallowed out factories.
Question: Are you working on any Life Extension pharmaceuticals or devices?
Tim Cannon: Yes, we have designed a way to create C60 (fullerene) in a DIY context, so that it can be done at a local hackerspace. A recent study showed that C60 was able to double the lifespan in rats. We would like to reproduce that study and then use the compound on ourselves. DIYNano and DIY life extension could both become more prevalent in the hacker world, two birds with one stone.
Question: Are you working on any Nootropics, or Brain Surgery devices, to improve cognition?
Tim Cannon: We have the Thinking Cap which is currently in the process of redesign in order to add features, that uses the well known tDCs. Rich Lee is also cooking up some mad science of his own, which I believe he mentioned in an article earlier this week.
Question: Any other Health gizmos you are working on? How many projects do you work on at the same time?
Tim Cannon: We have an implant that we have been working on for a while that is in its final stages. It will have Quantified Self features for doing real time biological data, among other features.
We try to limit ourselves to 3 projects at a time, though we have recently grown, so I think we may be taking on more projects. We have 2 released devices that we are adding features to: a device in development, and gene-hack that is in the initial research and feasibility phase.
Question: What is your relationship to patents. Rich Lee describes them as blueprints. Excuse my ignorance, but where online do you find patent information?
Tim Cannon: I don’t really respect patent laws. They seem stupid and counter productive.. Software developers really don’t write programs anymore, they solve business problems, so they don’t care who seems their code.
As far as finding the information, its out there if you know where to look
Question: Do you describe yourself as transhumanist, or do you think they are just armchair wimps? I like this notion of being “practical transhumanists”
Tim Cannon: Yeah, I am a transhumanist, but not like most of the transhumanists I have met.They seem far more focused on some sort of messianic event. Its almost as if they believe we’ll all get in line to be converted into the ultimate transhumans to populate the galaxy.
I find very few people have even bothered to really define what a transhuman is trying to transcend. The community seems like the hippies, just waiting for society to get with the program, quit there day jobs, and go grow pot in California - like some crystallizing event will occur. There does not seem to be much consideration for the fact that we are fundamentally broken beings, and until we figure which parts of the beast are noble, and which should stay and which pieces need gutted, no technology in the world will make us transhuman.
Question: If you could invent just one thing that has stymied you for a while, what would it be?
Tim Cannon: In dealing with implants, power is the name of the game. So I would have to go with a glucose battery.
Question: Tell me about grinder community - is there a code or maxim or philosophy to it? are they over-whelmingly anti-government, pro-transparency, etc.
Tim Cannon: Improve yourself. Do it yourself. Share it with the world.
Most grinders I have met are overwhelmingly pro-transparency, distrustful, and disappointed by governments They generally feel like the system has let them down and failed to deliver. The failure in delivery is not due to technological or resource based issues; its mostly special interest groups and fear mongers.
Question: Tell me about the relationship to the bodily modification community, and tell me about the magnets. Are there other easy-to-do mods that you recommend to the general population?
Tim Cannon: I wouldn’t really “recommend” any mod. This stuff is dangerous and in its beginning phases. That being said, just about anything that you can do to enhance or alter yourself is grinding. We built a fun device called Bottlenose that interacts with finger magnet and feeds them sensor data. A few other examples would be: tDCs and bacterial transformation for delivery of Anti-Depressants(yogurt hacking).
Question: what are you personal goals? do you think you will live a long time, and develop you brain to be significantly smarter?
Tim Cannon: I want artificial organs starting with the heart, moving to lungs, liver, kidneys in roughly that order, and a math co-processor. I hope I will live to see these things and more. I can’t imagine what a group of us with 500 IQs, living 500 years old could do. As I look into the future I really don’t see bodies. I imagine we will be able to be many places at once and shift around fluidly into many different forms. As for intellect, I believe it is primarily hindered behind the hardware that the Human 1.0 software evolved for. When we get the hardware upgraded, intellect will naturally extend to those limits.
Transhumanity.net Articles on Bio-Hacking, Grinding, DIY, etc.