BDYHAX 2018 Brings the Future to Austin Texas
What if humans could upgrade their bodies and minds like computers? What would these upgrades look like? Are people already doing this? Is the government doing this? Is this ethical?
BDYHAX is a conference designed to answer these questions. From February 2nd-4th at the Sheraton in Downtown Austin Texas, experts and citizen scientists will gather to talk about the future of human augmentation.
People have always engaged in body modification. Tattoos, piercings, prosthetics, meditation, and nootropic medications are familiar concepts. However, technology is taking human enhancement to new and miraculous places. Even more amazing is the availability and transfer of ideas and resources, leading to a growing community of DIY body hackers. BDYHAX is for anyone who’s ever dreamt of a more creative and connected future.
These are just some of the topics BDYHAX 2018 will explore:
Developments in Life Extension Technology
What if ageing was treated as a disease? Liz Parrish, CEO of BioViva has spent a lot of time answering this question, and telomeres may be the key. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes. As time passes these telomeres become shorter and less able to protect our DNA, and so we age. What if this process was reversible? Through telomeres, Liz Parrish hopes to unlock the science behind age reversal.
DARPA Pushes the Boundaries of Human-Machine Symbiosis
At DARPA, the government’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, human augmentation looks a little different. DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office (BTO) researches everything from microbes to to human-machine symbiosis. What does human-machine symbiosis look like at the government defense level? It means connecting a quadriplegic woman’s brain interface to an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter so she could use her neural connections to pilot the next level attack jet. Justin Sanchez, director of the BTO, will share what DARPA has in store for 2018.
Low Cost Diabetes Care for All
Sometimes human enhancement is less about “adding on” than simply trying to function. With cost and access plaguing healthcare in the US, what’s a person with an expensive disability to do? According to the OpenAPS website, “The Open Artificial Pancreas System project (#OpenAPS) is an open and transparent effort to make safe and effective basic Artificial Pancreas System (APS) technology widely available to more quickly improve and save as many lives as possible and reduce the burden of Type 1 diabetes.” Dana Lewis of the OpenAPS project will share what kind of research they’re doing and why it matters so much.
Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement
What does “fixed” really mean? The award winning documentary of the same name dives into this topic with no holds barred. In a world where a “disabled” man can run faster than most people in the world, how do we determine what disability or normality means? The Fixed documentary continues to ask, “What does “normal” mean when cosmetic surgery procedures have risen over 450% percent in the last fifteen years and increasing numbers of people turn to “smart drugs” every day to get ahead at school or work? With prenatal screening able to predict hundreds of probable conditions, who should determine what kind of people get to be born? If you could augment your body’s abilities in any way imaginable, would you?”
The Art of Human Augmentation
What is innovation without art? Human enhancement isn’t just about being harder, better, faster, or stronger. At the height of human evolution is creative expression. The body artist Stelarc has been creating his own definition of self expression for the past 50 years. His official concentration is described as “Alternate Anatomical Architectures with augmented and extended body constructs.” He’s explored everything from body suspension to exoskeletons to implanting cartilage in the shape of an ear to his forearm. This year, Stelarc will be sharing the story of his life’s work with BDYHAX.
The Ethics of Transhumanism
Human beings excel at adapting to new possibilities. So much so, that they often forget to ask if they should. This year BDYHAX pairs two great minds of opposing views to debate the ethics of human directed evolution.
On the side of “Practical Transhumanism” is Tim Cannon, CEO of Grindhouse Wetware. As pioneers of the biohacking and grinder movements, Grindhouse Wetware has brought us an array of aesthetic and biometric implantables with the goal of augmenting humanity by using safe and affordable open source technology.
On the side of “Anti-Civilization” is John Zerzan, an anarcho-primitivist philosopher, writer, and radio host. John Zerzan is no stranger to controversy. Starting with his arrest for civil disobedience at Berkeley during the Vietnam war, to becoming a confidant of the Unibomber, to his current gig as host of “Anarchy Radio,” Zerzan has made a life built upon debate.
Bring popcorn for this one!
BDYHAX 2018 Introduces SexTech Friday
The story of human augmentation would not be complete without discussing it’s connection to sex and gender. Will Friday evening’s event include how people navigate the world of gender identity? Yes! Will BDYHAX explore the world sex implants and what tomorrow’s romp in the sheets could look like? Indeed! Will SexTech Friday be inappropriate for minors? Most Definitely!
Who Wants to be a Human Vibrator?
Last year, Rich Lee mentioned the Lovetron 9000. This year, BDYHAX will give him an entire talk devoted to the subject. A Gizmodo article written shortly after BDYHAX 2017 describes Rich Lee’s work in the most vivid way possible.
“Turn it on, and the device will give his male appendage machine-powered capabilities that rival some of the world’s most popular sex toys, at least in theory. He calls it—wait for it—the Lovetron 9000. And he doesn’t just envision this cybersexual future for himself. He wants to sell it to you, too.”
Sex, Gender, and Cyborgs
Finally, BDYHAX discusses the monumental work of Donna Haraway, The Cyborg Manifesto. So what does that have to do with sex, gender, and feminism? A whole lot. The Cyborg Manifesto states that cyborgs reject the traditional boundaries between human, animal, and machine. By rejecting these concepts, the traditional boundaries of gender are also rejected. Donna Haraway goes on to say, “Cyborgs might consider more seriously the partial, fluid, sometimes aspect of sex and sexual embodiment. Gender might not be global identity after all, even if it has profound historical breadth and depth.”
To dive further into this discussion, BDYHAX has curated an amazing panel of speakers including Arabelle Sicardi, queer feminist and fashion blogger and Hilary Malatino, professor of trans & intersex studies at Penn State University.
What’s a “future state of human-kind” conference without a dystopian, cyberpunk, party for the ages? Enter The Wormhole and be transported to a world full of transformation, epic adventures, and synth.
So. Much. Synth.
Saturday, February 3rd
Elysium, Doors at 9:30pm
Ages ago, the immortal Dark One was freed from his prison. Since that time, the forces of good have been searching for the Light, the Chosen One to force him back into his cell. The key to this prison is the Magic Sword. Wielded by the proper soul, it will put the universe back in proper balance.
The Keeper of the Magic Sword is an old soul who searches endlessly for the Chosen One. With the help of other immortals, The Seer and The Weaver, they are ever trying to stem the tide of the Great Shadow from engulfing all life. When the need is great, they appear with the Magic Sword and a high stakes proposition for those who are pure of heart, perpetually hoping that their search is finally over. The hope is that one day soon one of those who wield the Magic Sword will in fact be the Chosen One, and the enormous power they wield from the Sword will be immeasurably amplified and drive the Shadowbringer back into his cage. Until that fateful day, The Dreadlords of the Nameless One continue to call forth the power of evil and destroy all that is pure and decent in the world with the malevolent forces of Darkness.
Chris Lund aka Left/Right has spent over 15 years working from Dallas as a dj, producer, promoter, and professor. His music has been featured in Rolling Stone, DJ Mag, Mixmag, Insomniac and garnered support from Oliver Heldens, The Crystal Method, Massive Attack, Mr Carmack, Zeds Dead, Wuki, BBC Radio 1, Rinse FM and more. L/R works as an artist and A&R for Stanton Warrior’s label PUNKS as well his own imprint/brand, BRØKEN.
With degrees in both music composition and audio engineering, Chris loves to create. His tunes and dj mixes feature a diverse bass sound that drive his energetic performances and introspective mixes. L/R is regularly booked coast to coast and internationally to move dance floors – including sets at Fabric (London), Burning Man, SXSW, WMC, LightsAllNight, Euphoria festivals, and his resident BRØKEN events.
Austin-Based Self-Destructive Synth Pop
Jason Alexander Barnes, AKA CYBRNETX, is a 28 year old Drummer/Producer and collaborator at Georgia Tech center for music technology in Atlanta, Georgia.The aspiring producers main goal is creating great experiences while spreading awareness about transhumanism and future technologies. His work at Georgia Tech involves AI, machine learning, musical robots, and advanced prosthetics.