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No, Biohackers Did Not Just Discover Eyedrops That Give You Night Vision — And using them might damage your eyesight

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    Currently, there is better scientific evidence that smoking weed improves your night vision than that Ce6 night vision eyedrops do.

    [See the full post at: No, Biohackers Did Not Just Discover Eyedrops That Give You Night Vision — And using them might damage your eyesight]


    Ah that’s mg/kg, not mg/ml. Bad paper reading there. The amount used in the Washington paper was actually much higher than the amount used in out testing. That’s because the injected it though. Acute application leads to needing a much smaller amount. You got your numbers backward. It’s ok, happens to us all. I won’t quote you on it. Also, I may note that we pointed out that this was a review, that is, we discovered nothing. We know that. The other media sensationalist write ups, much like your, make claims that we shied away from in out write up. I would love to talk with Prof. Washington. If he can get past the BS in the reporting, we could probably have a good chat. Since we are moving forward on our next testing, I bet he totally has some insight on what we should avoid or look for.

    Now, the ol’ bashing the patent holder gambit. Let me just kick a big hole in that all. Hey, did you know Tomas Jefferson had slaves? Yeah, that was after Samuel Hopkins got the first US patent. I’m gonna guess he was a jerk too. What does this have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing! But I mean, if running smear campaigns is how we are going to do it….
    Just cause you did something stupid doesn’t mean that everything you did was wrong. I’m not defending anything that was done, I’m, just saying that peer review is the core of scientific progress. Test it yourself. Test it till it breaks. If you want to talk a big game, I expect to see your lab work in the morning. Otherwise, you are becoming the very thing you are complaining about.

    For the monkey test in the NPe6 study, they used a 5.6mW laser to excite the absorbed amount. It’s a really good thing nobody shot a laser in my eye. Phew. It also states in the abstract “Photoreceptor cells and outer segments were not damaged, even after repeated PDT”. Is there a particular reason you don’t want to talk about the “not bad” effects they noted? “Repeated PDT of healthy nonhuman primate fundi using a hydrophilic photosensitizer (NPe6) shows preservation of the neurosensory retina components and architecture with damage confined to the retinal pigment epithelium and choriocapillaris.” Ah, so the minor damage we expect from any procedure. So… everything is fine then? Yeah, everything is fine. Can we move on? Please take your scare tactics and selective quoting elsewhere. I’m happy you cited your papers. That means everyone can read them.

    We never said super night vision. You’d think that someone who hangs out online as much as you wouldn’t get their pants in a twist over a handful of poorly reported articles, but here we are. You getting your sources from what comes down to buzzfeed a la mexico (seriously, you Mexican bloggers, we love you guys, so much action, thank you!), then there is us telling you that you need to relax. It’s.. awkward… I mean, I know I’m some guy in a garage. You’re supposed to be the professional here… Did you just write a denouncement of everything we did and then ended it with, yeah it probably works? Yeah, you did. Are you a software designer talking about biology. Check. That’s cool. Streisand it up, man 🙂

    This touches on the the main point that you seem to be attacking, and that we repeatedly keep telling people. It’s a freaking blog post. It’s a preliminary exploration. Our bad for telling people about what we are doing. Maybe we should stop sharing…. We are just talking about the process of our experimentation. That means all the good parts and all the bad parts too. We note that more testing needs to be done. We state this in the write up. You read the write up, right? Please don’t cherry pick what we write or people might do that same to what you do. Granted, this might necessitate you actually engaging in an activity beyond blogging, but it could happen. We all look forward to it.

    You repeatedly say Transhumainsm is a strategy for design. I hear that design is a strategy for doing things. Why don’t you start turning a little bit of that strategy into a little bit of action.


    Also, you are the first comment on your own blog post. Kinda tacky, man. Guess it’s easy since you already registered… Wait, my local “chamber”? What the…. Wow, you guys built yourself a little clubhouse here , didn’t ya?


    The numerical reference is to the steady state plasma amounts in the human eye which Washington et al state is 2 mg/ml and I just checked it again, ” It has been observed that humans given chlorin supplements (12 mg d-1; orally) accumulate steady-state plasma concentrations of up to 2 mg ml-1″

    I should have made it clearer what I was talking about, comparing this direct application to the eye to dietary intake of Ce6 via oral Ce6 supplements.

    The eye drops are roughly 10x this concentration and you are putting it directly into your eye with an agent to aid it’s absorption (DMSO). Nobody knows if this is a long term risk, but the Ce6 is likely still present in your eye for 24 hours after the application and sunlight or other bright light sources can trigger the response not only laser light.


    So I hear you contacted him and he replied to you. It went up on the facebook page, right? I don’t have facebook, but a lot of people I know do…
    Looks something like this, right?

    Dear Peter,
    Sorry I did not get a chance to respond in time. Nice piece! Pretty well researched. I applaud the Biohacker team for attempting to make their study as rigorous as possible with their current resources. In spite of any problems in their experimental design, as you pointed out, it seems like they tried to give an honest assessment of their study. Yes, saftey is a concern.
    Its it unfortunate that Totada R. Shantha got involved…
    Let me know if I can be of any help in the future.
    All the best,

    So the guy who did the thing thinks we did a pretty good job. There were safety concerns, but we were pretty clear about that as well.
    So what is your problem, man? Why are you giving us so much grief? I’m sure you have your own projects to work on, right? Why don’t you trying writing about what you are doing instead of trying to drag other people down.


    Grinder: noun: a person or thing who grinds
    Grind: verb: to be polished or sharpened by friction (informal: to work or study laboriously)

    So a reporter talked with Washington and then us, and mentioned that he said he tested the Ce6 solution on himself and with positive results (paraphrasing). What are your thoughts on that? Do you have a problem with experimentation, or just us/the Grinder community? Damn those plucky upstarts…

    In fact, I found this, when looking into Dr. Washington:

    “We approach scientific discovery by allowing the question at hand define our approach. This line of attack involves combining tools and knowledge from multiple scientific disciplines ranging from chemistry to biology in order to tackle fundamental problems of great interest. There are no rules here.”

    “There are no rules here”. Hey, I like that. “It could perhaps work in humans”. And then he tested it.

    See, turns out that most people that do interesting work or research don’t call themselves transhumanists (or even Grinders, often). They are to busy actually working. Which is what I need to get back to doing.

    Good luck on your, uh.. crap, I still have no idea what it is you do…. Do you have a website that links back to your active projects or something?


    Yes, I posted the letter I received from Dr. Washington on Facebook.

    “Nice piece! Pretty well researched.” says the inventor of the idea of using Ce6 to enhance vision. His picture didn’t appear in one single article on this despite him being the originator of the science. That isn’t your fault, but the media got it wrong. In part my article corrects this.

    He continues:

    “Yes, safety is a concern.”

    “It is unfortunate that Totada R. Shantha got involved”

    The previously unrevealed involvement of a quack alternative medicine practitioner in your project is news. It certainly does raise questions about safety and risks. This guy gave people insecticide and told them it would cure cancer. This is a news publication, at least in part. Despite the obvious relevance of this quack being the source of eye drop formula originally it was never mentioned in any of the articles I read. It’s called a “scoop” in the business.

    Please note my article is only about improving the experimental design and expressing real safety concerns which I felt were downplayed in the original report and essentially ignored in the subsequent media coverage, and those were amplified when I learned about Dr. Shantha.

    Nowhere in my article do I argue that you shouldn’t continue your work. This is not a call to halt or restrict anyone’s research. My “beef”, if you want to call it that, is with poorly defined and pointless risky experimentation.

    Want to do risky research? Fine.

    Make sure you have informed consent and make sure it pays off.

    Do not publish prematurely. Do not risk other people’s health for no reason or without real benefits and results.


    We didn’t publish. We made a blog post. You understand that, right? You do realize that a blog post means very little… I mean, you do enough of them…. You’re article doesn’t correct anything. It just restates the same things we said in our original post…
    We didn’t risk other people’s health. I risked my own. I’m informed and I consented. I actually did the research before I mixed the solution, and I have a degree in molecular biology so, omg, I may know what I’m talking about. If you want to talk about improving the experimental design, please put forth some suggestions. Y’know, with your experimental design knowledge. In biology. We are all waiting with bated breath. So far, no suggestions have been made that we didn’t mention ourselves. Care to share something new with the class?

    Don’t try to spin what the man wrote. The letter is posted here in the comments. People can make their own decisions about what that means. No one needs your help or selective quoting. With the slew of hokum that comes out of the transhumaist community, you decided this was where you are going to make your stand? Not with the articles discussing the potential AI threat (or lack there of), not the ebola will become an airborne zombie virus, not the Gucci skin replacement nonsense. No, actual work done by people with legitimate references, that’s where you need to step in start slinging the mud. It’s embarrassing. It’s legitimately a shame that you will support people who spin tall tales all day but you will talk down about the people who make efforts to do something. Yeah, I’ve seen that facebook ranting. For shame dude. Put on your big kids pants and just walk away from the sandbox.

    I heard about how you got “tipsy” and ranted about how grinders aren’t really transhumanists, at the last Transhuman Visions afterparty. Yeah, people been talking, sorry man. Don’t worry. I get it, I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about you either. Excellent news for all, because we’re fed up with you guys. Your clubhouse sucks. We’d rather try something and fail then sit around and wait for one of the stacks to had us the next broken upgrade. The last thing we need is more elitist bs. I still kinda thought we were all on the same team here. Thanks for clearing that up.

    We don’t need your future. Lucky for us all, if we just wait another 20 years or so, you won’t even be kicking around for me to say I told you so.

    So either produce something, test something, explore something, or just get the hell out of the way.


    I said….I don’t think transhumanism involves modifying the body without purpose or just to shock people.

    I was specifically talking about Tim Cannon’s implant which had less functionality than the Apple Watch and which could have been tested in an animal. I told TIm this directly yesterday and his reply was that it was aesthetic choice. Ok, but again that isn’t what we are doing. How does it enhance and extend life?

    Doing things to people for “shock” value is not transhumanism. That is what I said and I stand by it.


    Two things here
    1) You are making it sound like life extension is the only thing that matters. Increased night vision, totally and enhancement of life.
    2) It is quite difficult to define what the purpose of a piece of research is good for. Maybe it’s just good for getting people excited in doing research. Maybe there is some other thing that we don’t know about. For implants, testing different coating types could lead to better or more accessible prosthetic devices. The point of what Tim (or we) did wasn’t for shock, it was to explore accessibility. Accessibility leads to exploration and collaboration. And these things lead to the things you are talking about.

    You’re drawing lines in the sand here man. You’re trying to define what is and isn’t worthwhile.


    Consider a hypothetical…a different “night vision” eye drop that works even better. It gives you perfect day time vision at night if there is any available light source, even just starlight. However, after one use, you become blind.

    Is this an “enhancement”? Well it possibly depends. Say for example you are being held captive and using these is the only method of escape. Now alternatively if you just want to go deer hunting at night, this is a bad idea.

    This is the issue. You can’t define what an “enhancement” is independently from the environment and situation in which the enhancement is to be used. Define the problem. Then look for solutions.


    Now your hypothetical is just that thing. It’s making a story up about a thing that doesn’t exist. It’s not an enhancement, it’s not even kind of a thing. You are taking stories and trying to put them on the same ground as the real world. Design fiction is just that. Fiction. Without any sort of solid backing whatever, it’s just a bunch of people sitting around patting each other on the back. Let’s consider a hypothetical: imagine a laser that sits in orbit that can fry a person from space. Now let’s talk about the ethics of using that laser. See, this is just wanking. There is no space laser so why are we talking about the ethics of it? Why are we now talking about your made up, completely not based in reality possible enhancement?

    And it’s true, one can’t define an enhancement independently from the environment being used. You could probably say this about every single piece of technology we have ever developed. On the other hand, a lot of really interesting and useful discoveries were made by just messing around in a lab, or having things applied to what they weren’t defined for. Super glue. Silly putty. Plastics. Making the perfect thing for the perfect job is an exercise in exclusion. It both denotes that somehow, you know exactly what it is that people need or want and that no other things are worth the time. Sounds a bit elitest to me.

    I think you have been hanging out with these “let’s consider the ramifications of completely fictitious tech” people for so long, you’ve forgotten that somebody somewhere obviously has to do work now in the present to get there. It’s an echo chamber of not taking risks or even developing physical things because you all assure yourselves that a better future is coming, and that someone somewhere is going to hand it to you.

    Which is how we end up with articles like yours. So, let take a quote from that forum thread you love so much 😉 (minor edit for tenses)

    why do “the elitist, mostly white male, mostly upper middle class, nerd culture on steroids with a side helping of pseudo science, (have) a tendency to be a bit shrill and rabid in their claims of validity and entitlement to the future, despite the majority of breakthroughs happening not by “transhuminists” but by normal scientists and engineers that don’t usually maintain that particular party line?”

    Sound like anyone who’s written a few scare pieces lately while ranting on Facebook?


    Just some comments on the cited papers in this article:

    In the paper by Nakashizuka et al on “Retreatment Effect of NPe6 Photodynamic Therapy on the Normal Primate Macula” is specifically focused on re-treatment, treatment of eyes 3 times, while the control was eyes treated only once. The study does not make a comparison between healthy untreated eyes and treated eyes. It also does not provide a control in which the same procedure was performed without the compound of interest to compare damage caused by the treatment procedure itself vs the NPe6. As such its unclear whether the results were caused by the NPe6 or a combination of the NPe6 and the procedure. As for the damaged regions in the eye. the retinal pigment epithelium and choriocapillaris, both are capable of regeneration and have been shown to regenerate after injury. In short the paper you chose to cite is specific to procedures for age related macular degeneration and should not be used to advocate for or against the safety of the mixture used by SftM.

    Your notes on ROS are misleading at best. Chlorophyll in general produces ROS as it breaksdowns, which is the intended result in photodynamic therapy through the exposure of a specific wavelength of light to result in high ROS production. The pigment will eventually break down in the eye and produce photo-oxidative stress which will most likely be dealt the same way normal photo-oxidative stress is. There is no evidence that indicate it does or does not produce high levels of oxidative stress in the eye outside of photodynamic therapy procedures.

    In conclusion the evidence you used to support your argument is poor. Only thing one can really say is that the mixture used by SftM has not been proven to be safe or unsafe and the danger in doing these kind of experiments is not knowing whether its safe. Also from what I understand the original post was more of an observational study and that the intention is, through proper controls and more accurate testing, to prove their current hypothesis.

    Also in scientific publications it is expected that the researchers announce any potential conflicts of interest when publishing an article. As such, unless the patent holder participated in the research, I do not understand the in depth analysis on him and how its relevant to the results.


    I actually have a solution that I feel would eliminate the divisive aspect going on. Peter, would you take part in the planning of one of our next projects? You can get as involved as you like or as little and if you feel something unsafe after reviewing the research you can disassociate yourself and write an expose.


    I don’t collaborate with people that want me to die.

    Ben Goertzel

    Jeffrey — this is Ben Goertzel, Chief Editor of H+ Magazine and Vice Chair of Humanity+

    I appreciate your offer to let Peter take part in the planning of one of your next projects, but I can see he doesn’t feel like it…

    I have a different suggestion, though. Perhaps you should join Humanity+ as a full member (dues are not high)
    and then discuss the planning of one of your future projects on the Humanity+ Members email list? I am a member there and so
    are many others, some of whom probably have more relevant expertise to your project than I do. In this way, any objections to your
    work that are likely to be posed by fellow transhumanists, would likely get posed on the list in advance. And in a more positive
    vein, some list members might give interesting suggestions for your work…

    I would love to see the Humanity+ Members email list play more of a role in guiding practical proto-transhumanist projects…

    — Ben Goertzel

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