Publication Details

Bradley-Munn, S., Michael, K. & Michael, M. G. (2016). The social phenomenon of body-modifying in a world of technological change: past, present, future. 2016 IEEE Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century (21CW) (pp. 72-77). United States: IEEE.


The current level of uncritical adoption in bodymodifying devices, and the propensity for remaking the human body through the aid of technology, is moving society closer to a human-machine fusion. We are at the brink of postmodernity in all its fullness. This paper speculates on the pros and cons of such a reality and insists on the right of the individual to be able to self-govern his/her own body, maintaining the right to choose. How individual choice is limited is also discussed, as industry innovation cycles get faster, and the need for continuous disruption means that the consumer is often at the mercy of an adapt or die kind of dilemma. What happens when complex technologies, like embedded microchips become a default way of living and working, transacting and interacting with no alternatives? These are just some of the questions explored in this qualitative study on body-modifying devices.



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