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In the scientific world, the one reviewed and overseen by established academics, biohacking is not a real study. It is a pseudoscience related to biology, one that professional biologists regard in the same way they regard ghost hunting and palm reading.
There are no accredited, recognized universities dedicated to the study of paranormal forces, although lots of extra-scientific organizations exist. Biohackers are no more than quacks or, at best, curious individuals with too much time on their hands as far as “real” scientists are concerned.
Where Do You Find a Biohacker?
They love to hang out in small groups and perform experiments in the dark, and when these individuals bring their results into the light the reaction is usually divisive. Many people regard them as unethical and dangerous.
Only fellow biohackers and individuals outside the mainstream appreciate what they are doing. At best, participants just want to know more about their world. At worst, there could be serious ethical ramifications to what they are capable of. Maybe only funding affects the outcome.
For the most part, biohacking is greeted with plain old confusion. What are these people doing; splicing genes or trying to change genetic coding? Sometimes they get into that, often with little projects that won’t rock the world or hurt anyone outside of their lab. They play with organic and non-organic articles in an effort to learn more about the biology of plants, animals, and how these interact with their man-made environs.
Numerous biohackers hope to develop products and eBooks so as to make a living from their interest in esoteric studies like these. Ideally, they would create items to improve life and which consumers would wish to purchase.
The average person, however, has no idea what these people are doing and can become frightened as a result. They hear “bio” and “hacking” and they imagine men in white lab coats creating the real life equivalent of the Terminator or a home-based gene-mutating device anyone can bring home to their peril. Their closest reference in the technological world is computer hacking; its malicious intent and destructive, costly results.
What is Biohacking?
Realistically, biohacking is about improving one’s environment or one’s own body. An example that captures the idea in a user-friendly format is nootropics. These are regulated and non-regulated supplements and drugs which change neurological activity.
When used correctly, advocates say they promote crisp thinking and focus; better energy; reduced fatigue; and even reduced symptoms from chronic conditions of the mind and body. Individuals who develop and market these products seek to perfect the human brain and body one pill at a time.
Their pills and powders can be swallowed or turned into a smoothie. Allegedly, the best-known nootropics are followed by thousands of clients who claim that these supplements have improved their productivity at work, enhanced athletic performance, or helped a child overcome the worst symptoms of autism.
What Biohacking Can Be
In the instance above, biohacking is potentially harmless, maybe helpful, perhaps no more than an unwise and frustrating encounter with the 21st Century equivalent of a high-street huckster. Maybe you will waste your money on an idea, but it won’t be long before you know if anything good came of your investment. At worst, you might suffer an allergic reaction to the ingredients. Perhaps real improvement is the result of taking this risk, and data from legitimate research will prove as much very soon.
All biohackers sell an idea, one which is supported by science according to the background information you read. Some of that science is conducted by biohacking amateurs as it happens or real scientists working outside of mainstream directions and without funding. Occasionally, someone with better credentials says something nice which is quoted on a website in relation to a product or is taken out of context to the same purpose.
What Biohacking Could Become
There is always the potential, however, for unethical individuals, corporations, or extra-curricular groups to gather with a malicious aim; to make money out of products which hurt people. “Hacking” does not have to be a back word, but it always is when associated with research that would harm people or society.
Is there a chance that weapons could be developed which affect human beings in detrimental ways at the cellular level? Biological warfare has already proven this to be the case. Technological advancements raise the stakes.