CSM Industrial Design graduate Joao Gil’s ‘Biocomputer: The Future of Health Care Institute’ is a project that facilitates public engagement and participatory-policy making in relation to the future of healthcare. The institute invites the public to perform and experience a hypothetical scenario in which humans become Biocomputers. They are connected to the Internet to regulate, track and monitor bodies continuously.
The National Health Service is facing enormous financial pressures, which requires the government to consider how to improve these services to meet future demands without compromising on the quality of care. Gil draws inspiration from current advancements on synthetic biology, quantified self, body hacking, and trans-humanism to provide opportunities for the public to undertake various roles from patient to scientist to policy-maker, in this fictional scenario to engage the public to consider how we might utilise key technologies to monitor, care for and administer treatment to our bodies.
With over 97,000 healthcare apps on the market and a rise in sales for self-monitoring devices such as Jawbone and FitBit, the ‘Quantified Self’ movement is a growing trend worldwide. This places significant importance on how we embrace technology to help improve healthcare services with the focus on self care. These emerging technologies allow opportunities for a new interaction between doctor and patient, gathering new insights on personal lifestyle crossing a great amount of data from patients, their habits, geo location, creating the promise and expectation of a personalised medical service.
However, this raises an array of ethical issues such as privacy, as we become more connected to the Internet and enable our data to be shared for medical purposes where do we draw the line to monitor our privacy and ensure the safety of our personal data? How far as we willing to allow technology to diagnose illnesses and administer treatment?
This opens a space for deliberative democracy and technological assessment using speculative design probes and performative tools to experience future fictional worlds. Welcome to the Internet of bodies.