Controversy around the 'biological unlocking' technology

Biohacking, also known as DIY biology, is a broad term used to describe an increasingly popular lifestyle. In it, people carry out many activities, from conducting scientific experiments on yeast to transmitting blood of younger people into their blood vessels in the hope of fighting old age.

What is "biological unlocking"?

There are many different definitions of biological unlocking . According to Dave Asprey, a bio-unlocker and founder of the functional food company Bulletproof, biology unlocking is the art and science that changes the environment around me and within us to be able to control completely biological mechanism of itself.

Some of the techniques that bioprotectors use to achieve that are things that people have done for centuries, such as Vipassana meditation and intermittent fasting. Asprey does both things daily. He tried to meditate for two hours a day and ate only one meal on weekdays, the weekend did not eat anything.

Some biocontrol people care about quantifying everything about themselves, such as tracking sleep characteristics with devices. The more data there is about the function of the body, the easier it is for people to optimize their bodies.

There are those who use more extreme cracking measures: therapy welding (deliberately cold-making), neurological feedback (making yourself control brain waves), near-infrared sauna (help copy body escapes stress by electromagnetic transmission . Many people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these treatments.

A small group of biological unlockers also interferes more deeply when implanting equipment into the body, such as computer chips. These implants allow them to do everything from keyless opening to monitoring the amount of glucose under the skin.

Picture 1 of Controversy around the 'biological unlocking' technology
There are many different definitions of biological unlocking.

One of them was Zoltan Istvan, who was running for the presidency of Transhumanist Party. He was comfortable going out without having to bring his home key because he had a chip in his hand . Ivan also notes that for those hands that are no longer in operation, chip implants on the feet are the simplest way to open doors or use some household items with integrated chip readers.

One of the most ambitious types of biometric unlocking is life . Some people who unlock biology say that thanks to advanced technology, they can live longer but younger. Senator Aubrey de Gray also claimed that humans would live up to 1,000 years old.

De Gray focuses on developing a strategy to correct the types of cell and molecular damage associated with aging. His non-profit fund attracted large investments.

Why want to unlock biology?

At the most basic level, biology unlocking involves what we all want: the desire to feel better and see how far the human body is . That wish is very diverse. Some people simply don't want to be sick anymore. Some people want themselves to be as smart and healthy as possible. Someone wants to be smart and healthy for as long as possible. In other words, they want to extend life to an extreme.

These goals tend to increase gradually. Once there is a "cracking" method that can be done immediately to turn health from illness to health or health to health, people begin to think why they must stop there. , why not make health peak, why not try the longevity.

For example, the case of Asprey. He began to crack down on biology because he felt unwell since he was 30 and now over 40 years old. At that time, he was diagnosed with a high risk of stroke and heart attack, abnormal perception and weighing up to 136kg. He said: "I just want to control the biological pace of the body because I'm tired of being in pain and changing my mood constantly."

Now he feels better and wants to slow down the normal aging process, wanting to optimize all biological functions."I don't want to be healthy," he said. "It's normal. I want to stay above normal."

Another bioprotector named Josiah Zayner, former employee of the US Aeronautics Agency, used to inject CRISPR DNA. This person has had health problems for many years and wants to unlock biology to cure himself. However, he also wanted to do more because he was angry with government officials when he was too stagnant in licensing treatments. In the US, it may take 10 years to develop new drugs and allow licensed drugs. For people who are seriously ill, the waiting time is endless. Zayner said it was part of the reason why he wanted to democratize science and empower people to experiment on themselves.

The biological unlocking community has given many people the opportunity to explore non-traditional ideas in the context of freedom. Biometric unlockers focus on discussing online networks, social networking groups . When they are alone, they perform experiments.

The difference between biology and traditional medicine

Some types of biological unlocking far exceed traditional medicine, some similar. Many old techniques like meditation or fasting can be considered the basic type of biological unlocking.

What makes biology different is not because it's a different kind of activity, but it's activities that are done with different concepts. The philosophy of biological unlocking is that there is no need to accept the body's defect, but it can find a way to overcome it with a series of low or high technology solutions. Biometric unlockers do not want to wait for the long process in medicine, they want to change their lives immediately.

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Many people transplant chips into their hands.

For example, Silicon Valley tech billionaire Serge Faguet, he wants to live forever. He said: "Everyone in Silicon Valley has a technical concept, so they think of everything as a technical issue that many unskilled people will not think so. Like "Everyone is dead, but I think people will be more aware of biology unlocking once they have a positive result."

Rob Carlson, an expert on synthetic biology and a supporter of biology unlocking since the early 2000s, said he conceived that all modern medicine is unlocked, but some call others are unlocked because they do not want to recognize the legitimacy of their behavior.

The question here is: Who is allowed to do anything? Why are some people not allowed to discover new things and talk about it publicly?

Is bio-unlocking based on scientific research?

Some biological unlocking activities have strong scientific evidence and can benefit the community. Usually, these are activities that have been tested and proven true after centuries of testing. For example, clinical trials show that mindfulness meditation can reduce anxiety and chronic pain.

However, some other unlocking activities are based on incomplete evidence and may not be effective, even harmful to the body.

After Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey supports a near-infrared sauna therapy that can enhance cell regeneration and anti-aging by eliminating body toxins sold by SaunaSpace, the need for this therapy spike.

However, according to the New York Times, although research on middle-aged and older Finnish men showed that sauna is healthy, no major studies have been done with this type of sauna - shining intense light into the body. So no one dares to say buying this expensive product is good for health.

Similarly, the intermittent fasting method that Mr. Dorsey supported may be healthy for some, but scientists are skeptical. Although there is a long-term study of the health effects of fasting in animals, the research facilities in humans are much weaker. For people who are confused with eating, fasting can be dangerous.

The most dangerous types of biological unlocking

Some of the most risky biological unlocking activities are being done by some people in a desperate situation. To some extent, this can be understood. If they are sick and constantly in pain, if they are old and afraid of death, traditional medicine does not help to reduce their pain, who can blame them if they want to find an out-of-medicine solution?

However, some solutions that are being tested today are too dangerous and not worth the risk.

Currently, some elderly people pay for young people to give blood and transmit it to their bodies in the hope that they will fight old age. This measure sounds "vampire" but very popular in Silicon Valley. People paid up to $ 8,000 to participate in the test. Technology investor billionaire Peter Thiel has shown interest in this measure.

Although a limited number of studies suggest that this blood transfusion can prevent diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, heart disease, etc., these claims have not been proven. In February, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning warning people to stay away from these blood transfusions.

Another unlocking activity is also warned not to try at home : fertilize, pass stool from healthy donors into the intestinal tract of ailing recipient. In 2016, sick of severe abdominal pain, Zayner decided to transplant stool in a hotel room. He took a friend's stool and planned to transfer it to himself to use the bacteria in it. He even invited a journalist to record the process. After that, Zayner announced that the experiment made him stronger.

However, stool culture is still being tested and not yet approved by the FDA. The FDA recently said that two people have been seriously infected by transplants containing resistant bacteria. One person died. The two men were infected when they were fertilized in a clinical trial. Therefore, if self-employed, the risk will be much higher. FDA currently prohibits clinical trials of this type of transplant.

Zayner also popularized the idea that you could edit your own DNA with CRISPR. In 2017, he injected CRISPR DNA for himself at a biotechnology conference and broadcast it directly. Later, he regretted doing so because many people could imitate him and get hurt. However, he said he will still sell CRISPR kits to anyone who wants to buy.

Ellen Jorgensen, a molecular biologist co-founded Genspace and Biotech Without Borders, two labs at Brookylyn, said Zayner's games are worrisome. She advises people not to buy Zayner's kits, not only because it doesn't work, but because CRISPR is such a new technology that scientists aren't sure of all the risks involved.

When modifying your own genes, one may inadvertently cause genetic changes that increase your risk of developing cancer. It is a dangerous behavior not encouraged to do it yourself. She argued that these types of biological unlocking behaviors make people who are crippled by biology such as her bad. She said: "It is not good for the biology community because it makes people feel that we are irresponsible."


When we hear about someone editing their own genes or transmitting young people's blood to immortal life, we have a feeling of anxiety about what kind of people they will become. In fact, those behaviors are changing human nature from the beginning.

40 years ago, in vitro fertilized children seemed to go against the natural law, but now, in vitro fertilization has been accepted as a legitimate measure. Does biology unlocking undergo the same process or does it really alter human nature fundamentally, causing us to worry? That answer is still controversial.

Even so, the biological unlocker is still talking about making such big changes that the risks involved are equally great.

One of them is the social risk: What happens if the person who unlocked the biology upgrades himself and not the whole mankind? What will happen if only rich people can unlock biology that makes me live long? What happens when the rich live longer while the poor die early?

When living in a society of biological unlocking, people can feel the pressure to change their biology even if they don't want to. Denial means it will be detrimental to yourself or criticized for morality.

Molecular biologist Jorgensen concludes: "This is a powerful set of technologies that can be used in many ways. We'd better think and use smart."

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