What appeared on the surface to be an open-shut case between a public transport user and Transport NSW on Monday at Newtown Local Court has turned into what could become the first legal case in Australia about human cyborg rights in March 2018 if both parties choose to proceed with their current course of action.
The plaintiff, Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, is a biohacker and cofounder of Biofoundry, the first community lab for citizen scientists set up in Australia. Meow-Meow also happens to be running as a Science Party candidate in the upcoming by-election for the seat of New England on December 2nd.
In June of this year Meow-Meow implanted the chip from a New South Wales Transport Opal card under the skin of his left hand, allowing him to travel Sydney’s public transport system in a seamless fashion, fumble-free. Although the concept of implanting technologies into the human body seems like the stuff of science fiction movies, and for some in society perhaps even a little “out there”, the practice of enhancing the human condition via tech is nothing new.
HealthTech creations such as the cochlear implant, the pace maker, and the insulin pump for individuals with diabetes are already common. Apple announced earlier this year it was bringing out its own hearing aid completely controlled by an app on your iPhone or watch device – and the hardware, like current cochlear implants, would need to be inserted into the human body.
As a society it raises an important question, why are we able to accept implantable technology when it comes to improving human health, but when it comes to enhancing the human life experience / daily efficiencies, morality becomes an issue?