top of page

How will Internet of Bodies (IOB) challenge our societal norms and values?


Internet of Bodies(IOB)

The next generation of the “Internet of Bodies” (IOB) could bring technology and the human body closer together than ever before. Andrea M. Matwyshyn, an academic and author who coined the term in 2016, describes IOB as “a network of human bodies whose integrity and functionality rely at least in part on the internet and related technologies, such as artificial intelligence.

The global market for connected medical devices is expected to be worth around $66 billion in 2024 and could reach more than $132 billion by 2029, according to Mordor Intelligence.

Matwyshyn identified three categories of IOB devices based on their level of integration with the body.

The first category is external devices. These include first-generation technologies like smartwatches or rings that track steps or heart rate. Smart glasses, which can function as cameras, headphones, or monitors, are also examples of early IOB devices.

The second category is internal devices. These are devices that are ingested or implanted. Examples include pacemakers with digital implants, smart prosthetics connected to nerves and muscles, and digital pills that transmit medical data after being swallowed.

The third category involves devices that completely merge with the body while maintaining a real-time connection to an external machine and the internet.

One notable company in this field is Elon Musk’s Neuralink, which is developing a brain-computer interface called “The Link.” This coin-sized chip is implanted under the skull and can read brain signals, allowing a person to control an external machine.

While IOB has exciting potential, especially in healthcare, there are also privacy and ethical concerns. Matwyshyn has highlighted these concerns, stating that as human bodies become intertwined with hardware, software, and algorithms, IOB will test societal norms and values, particularly challenging notions of human autonomy and self-governance.


indoor Airfiber


Key Points

  1. Closer Integration of Technology and Human Body: The "Internet of Bodies" (IOB) describes a future where technology and the human body are closely connected, using devices that can track, monitor, and even control bodily functions through the internet and AI.

  2. Three Categories of IOB Devices: IOB devices come in three types:

  • External devices like smartwatches and smart glasses that track activities and health metrics.

  • Internal devices that are implanted or ingested, such as pacemakers and smart prosthetics.

  • Fully integrated devices that merge with the body and stay connected to external machines and the internet.

  1. Privacy and Ethical Concerns: Despite the exciting advancements, there are significant privacy and ethical concerns. As technology integrates more deeply with our bodies, it challenges our notions of privacy, autonomy, and control over our bodies.



FAQs

Q. What is the Internet of Bodies (IOB)?

The Internet of Bodies (IOB) refers to the connection between human bodies and technology through devices that can track, monitor, and sometimes control body functions using the Internet and artificial intelligence.

Q. What are examples of external IOB devices?

External IOB devices include smartwatches, fitness trackers, and smart glasses. These devices track activities like steps, heart rate, and can even function as cameras or monitors.

Q. What are internal IOB devices?

Internal IOB devices are those that are ingested or implanted inside the body. Examples include pacemakers with digital implants, smart prosthetics connected to nerves and muscles, and digital pills that send medical data.

Q. What is a fully integrated IOB device?

A fully integrated IOB device merges completely with the body and maintains a real-time connection to external machines and the internet. An example is Elon Musk’s Neuralink, which involves a chip implanted under the skull to read brain signals.

Q. What are the privacy and ethical concerns with IOB?

Privacy and ethical concerns with IOB include issues of personal data security, autonomy, and control over one’s body. As technology integrates more deeply with our bodies, it challenges our norms and values regarding human autonomy and self-governance.

Reference

Commentaires


bottom of page