Currently, we live in the age of the Internet of Things. We are comfortable to know that our refrigerators probably know us far better than we know ourselves.
While most of us already know what the internet of things is, the internet of bodies is a rather unique concept.
The internet of the body? Yes, you read that right.
The internet of bodies primarily refers to the policy implications and the legal implications of making use of human bodies as technological platforms. In other words, the internet of bodies (IOB) can be considered a combination of the human body and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The internet of bodies is not just a theoretical view of what the future might be like. Rather, it is happening in the present day. Back in 2013, it was revealed that the physicians of the former US Vice President Dick Cheney, ordered the wireless capabilities inside his heart implant to be disabled. This was done due to the threats by assassin hackers. Later in 2017, more than half a million pacemakers were recalled due to a security issue, in order for the firmware to be updated.
Well, it is not just heart patients who get turned into a part of the IOB. Patients suffering from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s also become part of the IOB due to the use of self-tuning smart implants. Moreover, patients who suffer from stomach problems are usually given pills that are equipped with sensors. These sensors report health data to the smartphone, straight from the stomach.
Experts, however, raise a number of different questions. The most common question is, what do we actually have a need to connect everything? Another common concern raises questions about data protection and data privacy risks. Many experts think that the data privacy and security risks may actually outweigh all the benefits.
Perhaps the biggest ethical dilemma with the Internet of bodies is consent. This is an issue that is challenging to tackle in a case where the internet of bodies revolves around employees in a company. Essentially, speaking, these employees are dependent on their employers for the paycheck. Hence, they will have to get along with the rules anyway.
One Wisconsin company called Three Square Market, for instance, went into the headlines in the year 2017. This happened after the company installed chips the size of rice-grains into the skins of their employees. The perks of having such a chip included ‘waving at the door to unlock’ rather than having to use a password. In this case, out of the 80 employees, 50 employees volunteered to get the microchips installed. However, many people wonder whether these employees actually volunteered for real?
A number of experts, however, ask whether there is a significant difference between getting tracked by a device that is underneath your skin, and getting tracked by the smartphones that are right next to us in our pockets.
The future of the internet of bodies is hence, quite blurry as of yet. While many experts think that it can yield great benefits, others believe that its negatives outweigh the positives. ffffffffffffff