A man with an antenna permanently implanted in his head is pushing for governments to officially recognize people who identify themselves as "non-human" cyborgs — part human and part robot.
More people are going to have robotic body parts and governments should begin to accept these changes, says Neil Harbisson, who lives in New York City.
He floated the idea Tuesday during the World Government Summit in Dubai, according to various published reports.
Why was the antenna installed?
Harbisson had the antenna installed in his head to help him cope with achromatopsia, a condition that allows him to see only in black and white. The antenna has a sensor that dangles over his forehead and "translates light waves into vibrations that his brain has learned to decode," the Daily Mail reported.
Harbisson said the device allows him to extend his reality.
“I have an antenna that is implanted inside my head, which allows me to extend my perception of reality beyond the visual spectrum," Harbisson told reporters at the summit. "I can sense infrared and ultraviolet, and I also have [an] internet connection in my head that allows me to receive colors from other parts of the world, or connect to satellite so I can send colors from space."
Harbisson claims his WiFi antenna essentially enables him to travel to different parts of the universe.
"Suddenly, my sense of color is not on earth anymore, but in space,” he said. “This allows me to explore colors of space without having to go there. I call this becoming an astronaut, instead of physically going and exploring space, we can explore space by sending our senses there.”
How many holes were drilled in his head?
Harbisson, 33, has been making headlines since he had the device permanently implanted in his skull in 2004. His head was “drilled four times” to have the antenna installed.
Harbisson told reporters he believes governments should offer special recognition for people who install cybernetic body parts similar to his.
"As species, we have been modifying the planet for thousands of years to adapt," Harbisson told the Khaleej Times. "Why don't we redesign ourselves instead? It will be better for our planet, other species and ourselves.”
Harbisson founded the Cyborg Society and the Transpecies Society, which allow people to "identify as non-human."