Cybernetics for the Masses 6: Questions and Answers

At the end of her talk at 27C3 event, Lepht Anonym answers questions from the conference attendees about nuances of using sensory subdermal devices.

Anyway, that’s about everything, so ask me questions.

Conference Host: So, after all of these very well advised warnings about doing this, raise your hand if you still want to give this a try.

Lepht Anonym at Chaos Communication Congress Question: Two questions. One: how easy is it to get hold of local anesthetics?

Lepht: Not very.

Question: And two: what repression have you come under in Britain, for example, from doctors? Have they tried to remove the implants from you?

Lepht: No, they’ve advised that I have them removed, but they can’t actually make you do anything. They refuse to treat any medical problems that have anything to do with the implants, because it’s self-inflicted, so you’ll run into a lot of bullshit, but no one will actually stop you from doing it. Also, asking about getting hold of local anesthetics, you mean any good anesthetics, you mean anything that ends in …caine? Almost impossible.

You can buy lidocaine powder online, but I don’t know how to make it up. There’s no instructions online. I managed to find one set of instructions on some survival website about how to mix it up properly, but that’s the problem: if you dose it up too much, you can give yourself a heart attack, so you really need to get the right dosage, and I’ve never been able to. Also, some medical colleague informed me that sometimes it doesn’t work on your hands, so I don’t even know. I just do everything without; if you ice everything up, it’s not that bad. Ok, it is, but it’s worth it.

Question: Ok, first – I think you are a hacker, you hack stuff. And the question is, what legal and what medical precautions do you suggest – immunization or something?

Lepht: No, nothing like immunization. I just suggest finding out what’s legal to do and what’s not, because working on yourself you’re completely fine. I don’t know if that’s illegal in any country. It’s just that doing things on other people is usually completely no-go. For example, in England me doing this to any of you guys leads to 10 years in prison for mutilation with intent to scar, so I wouldn’t if I were you. Just do it on yourself. It’s usually fine on yourself, but be sure to check it.

Question: And insurance? Like med insurance – is there some difference?

Lepht: No, insurance won’t cover this, not ever.

Question: First of all, you scare me shitless, but you also make me curious. First thing: medical people can grow your own skin and implant it. Did you ever think about finding someone who grows skin around the sensor and can then have it implanted?

Lepht: It’s not really necessary. You can put just about anything under your skin if you peel back enough.

Question: Yes, but it’s under it, and you could grow it right into the skin.

Lepht: Yeah, but the problem of rejection: you’d have just as much hassle trying to put that in as you would trying to put it in the old school way. I don’t think that would actually help you. Besides, that’s another thing that you need actually access to a lab for, and all I’ve got is a kitchen.

Question: Ok, may I do another question? You use sensory input that’s already used for heat and pressure…

Lepht: Yeah, I just use standard sensory devices.

Question: Do the new devices affect your heat and pressure feeling?

Lepht: No. Because the physical devices are inside my fingertips, if you touch surfaces sometimes it’s strange if they are magnetic, because the implants will be attracted to the surface. But nothing’s f**ked up, they don’t mess up my touch or pressure senses or anything. They just function as extras, rather than anything that can get in the way.

Question: I have one question about having multiple magnets. Does that mean you can spatially feel a magnetic field as more than one dimension?

Lepht: Yeah, you can tell how big it is and how far it extends. You can even feel it getting weaker towards the edges. You can draw a picture of it, if I could draw. It’s pretty precise.

Question: There are some questions from the peace missions. The first question is: are worried about being owned, or that stuff you implanted could be exploited?

Lepht: Well, I try to make everything GPL, any software. I’m GPL. I don’t care if I get GPL’ed, but I’m trying very hard to make everything open. I didn’t actually want to show my face today, because I wanted this to be just public information rather than coming from me. So, hopefully it’s not linked enough to me for me to be controlled at all.

Question: And here’s the other question: you’ve already told us that you stick this stuff in some silicones. But how do you attach it internally?

Lepht: You don’t need to. Usually there’s very few places in the body where it’ll migrate. If you put things in the back of the hands, they move around, but not very much. So, generally, you don’t need to attach things, they just sit in tissue and stay there. It sounds kind of counterintuitive: you think it will move all over your body, but it doesn’t; it just sits where it’s put.

Question: How has your life changed? You talked about hacking just for the hacking purpose. But is it worth it? Are you doing it to improve our lives and stuff?

Lepht: I’d say it’s worth it to just satisfy your curiosity, but apart from that, it hasn’t really changed anything. You wouldn’t know I had modifications if I didn’t tell you, so I’m not sure it really changes anything at all. All it does is make me more curious. I mean, by the time I’m done you’ll probably be able to tell, because, obviously, my leg will look really messed up by the time this Southpaw is done. But so far – not much, really. I’m still as curious as I ever was.

Question: I’m a software guy. I’m scared shitless by hardware, because 2 years ago I ruined a drone and it had to be taken apart. When software fails, I can just recompile it. When hardware fails, it needs to be taken apart. Where does your total disregard for your own wetware come from? Can you try to justify that?

Lepht: Mine’s just not important. Health takes a big f**k off second seat to curiosity. It’s just not important. You probably shouldn’t be applauding to that guys. That’s not healthy.

Read previous: Cybernetics for the Masses 5: The Southpaw Project

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