“Together for a smarter life” is the motto for the Trivadis TechEvent to be held on Friday, 13 September in Regensburg near Zurich. Roughly 700 IT and digitalization experts will discuss the latest technological trends and experience first-hand how smart IT can make work and life easier.
Following this theme, we have invited Neil Harbisson to be the keynote speaker: He is the first person in the world with an antenna implanted in his skull and also the first officially recognized cyborg. Neil uses the antenna to transform audible vibrations into information in his head. The original intention was to allow the colour-blind avant-garde artist to hear colours through the antenna.
Progressive, crazy or a nightmare? We didn’t want to wait for the event, so we spoke with Neil the “Antenna Man” beforehand about his perspective on the future of bionic sensibility and the “Transpecies Society” he has co-founded.
Two years ago, you co-founded the “Transpecies Society.” This society lends a voice to people who have expanded their identity using technology. Who are these people?
Neil Harbisson: Well, they are essentially people who don’t identify as 100% human – regardless of whether from birth or if they no longer feel that they “fit” in society. They already have cybernetic technology in their body and have thus changed how they identify. We currently have 400 members in our society, but there are undoubtedly many more around the world.
There’s a video in which you say something along the lines of “The older you get, the better your senses get.” Do you think that there will be a lot of people in future who will use devices to keep their senses “younger”?
Neil Harbisson: “Bionic sensitivity” will continue to develop, that much is sure. And as we get older, this sensitivity will take shape more and more. To put it another way, cybernetic sensitivity will get better as we get older. But it’s important to point out: This is the further development of a gift that lies within us from birth.
Why did you agree to speak at the TechEvent?
Neil Harbisson: The agenda of the TechEvent promises a truly interesting event. So many different aspects of technology will be covered. That’s why I am really interested in taking part and sharing ideas and thoughts. Especially because, ultimately, technology affects us all.