Biotechnology and tech-tattoo: an approach from Science, Art, and Philosophy
Organização:  FEMeeting, Cultivamos Cultura, DRC Alentejo
Convento de São Bento de Cástris, Évora
14 / 09 / 2022

My presentation will explore the most recent kind of tattoos: the technological, smart, digital tattoos from the viewpoint of Science, Art and Philosophy.
Made of nano-tech electronic components such as electro-conducive ink or fabric tape, bio-nano-sensors, curvy wires, thermo-chromic ink, and sometimes also imitation gold leaf metal inscribed over the skin, these tech-tattoos go deeply by informing about the diseases, the genetics, the very chemistry of individuals. Tech-tattoos have the capacity of sensing, measuring, analyzing and emitting data about the body’s biochemistry through signs and colors inscribed in and on the skin, depending if they are done in the body with conductive ink or if they are worn on the skin. For example, tech-tattoo may measure the body’s temperature, the heart beats, the level of alcohol or the blood pressure, they may also be key tools in supervising fitness, in computing sleep patterns, in a word, monitoring vital, bio-metric data. Even if still temporary – because conductivity is yet lost through skin’s natural resistance – technological tattoo is exponentially expanding, aiming at becoming a permanent bio-smart device, a daily device, with great value mostly for medicine and care treatments.
Beyond these medical uses, tech tattoo has other kind of purposes, such as military (e.g., identifying pathogens in the air) or daily-services (e.g., credit card payments). And, in all cases, the connection of the individuals with the world-wide-web is done, not through external devices (e.g., cell phones) but through the human body itself. Therefore, the tech-tattoo offers new possibilities to think out the intricated relationship between technology, science, and society, more specifically, the relation between medicine, politics, AI intelligence and governance politics.  Moreover, the investment being done in this kind of technology from international companies allied with research centres and science laboratories makes clear its biopolitical power of tech-tattoo clear and urgent its philosophical questioning.

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