WIP [ITP Blog]

Citizen Science - Week 4

September 27, 2018

Kristensen’s Foucault Bio-Power and Biopolitics made me think of my assigned topic, Neurohacking, because of a theme my ideas kept tying back to:

What do we as a society value and consider “normal” neuro-activity and behavior?

original brain map

You can see how a lot of my thoughts kept returning to the “what do we value” bubble. My classmates even added on to the thought that we’re hacking our brains to edge closer to “perfection” and away from social taboo:

revised brain map

According to Kristensen, Foucault was interested in the power dynamics and subjectivities created by social systems and:

On what ground certain subjectivities are more legitimate, normal and desirable while others are marginalized or excluded. In what ways relations of power-knowledge affect to the ways in which the order of things is divided according to normal and abnormal.

What interests me about the current Neurohacking movement — from Nootropics to transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) — is how we’re deciding which parts of our brains need improvement. Is it based on what the current technology is capable of? Do governments and corporations drive its development through the money they redirect to research and development? Or is it simply consumer demand to be able to learn a new language faster? I’ve generated three possible ideas from these questions and thoughts to pursue in this class:

  • Create a marketing campaign for a Neurohacking tool (e.g. tDCS) that is modelled after a traditional beauty ad campaign one might see on social media, physical print. Dive into neuro-traits that are deemed desirable, similar to how beauty campaigns value clear skin or tone bodies.
  • Develop a Neurohacking Spa business plan and prototype experience to investigate how the augmentation of our brain chemistry could one day be normalized in the same way injecting Botox at a party has.
  • Perform a small experiment to test the effects of Qualia — see if it can help me get a better score on Duo Lingo and document my experience before and after taking the drug.

Adrian Bautista

A perpetual work in progress blog documentating my NYU ITP projects. Words are my own.