Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Don't Hack Life - Hack Yourself

As a cultural trend, hacking has evolved dramatically since it's inception. The latest exciting developments, however, exploit an approach that is centuries old.

The term hacking took off in the digital realm, the result of much publicized efforts by programmers trying to break into systems to steal their contents (a sabotage that continues to grab headlines today). Now hacking has expanded to include any activity that adapts existing methods, resources and tools, fusing them with new thinking that invents or reinvents.  It's become as much a physical world phenomenon as a digital one, and far more versatile and advanced than The A Team exploits that introduced a generation hungry for resourceful improvisation three decades ago.

Today hacking is a mindset, a way of looking at and adapting the world around us (whether analog or digital) so that it works better for us.  It's a mainstream orientation for Gen Y (Millennials) who have the ambition for life to work better and smarter to serve what they want. It's a noble aspiration indeed.

The latest frontier in hacking may not be to adapt the world around us, but rather to hack ourselves. It could be far simpler (and cheaper) to adapt our sensory response to external elements than adapt those objects or conditions that surround us.

Here's a fascinating perspective on how this might play out in the food category: Food Hacking: Electric Fork It might revolutionize dieting. Imagine if a healthy but bland tasting food could be experienced as enticing and flavorful?

As with much technology what is considered an innovation is not itself new; rather it is treading an existing path, leveraging an 'old' idea but applying it in a new medium or a new way. The forerunner to hacking one's self for food is with medicine.  Philosophically, that is what the science of pharmacology does: it adapts the body's physical, emotional or mental state not just to an inner condition but to respond to outside, exogenous ones. We've been benefiting from it for centuries.  It will be fascinating to see where hacking our response to food leads us.

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