A Dutch organization called Institute of Human Obsolescence (IoHO) has taken an approach to mine human capital. The company has been involved in several types of research and art projects that are centered around the important links between human capital and biological labor and data-production labor, ever since its conception in 2015.
One of their unique projects was making a suit that could mine cryptocurrency. The suit collected excess human heat and used this heat to mine the coins. The suit created by IoHO uses thermoelectric generators and converts the gathered heat into usable electrical energy.
37 workers participated in this experiment and spent a total of 212 work hours. The heat generated was used to produce 127,210 milliwatts of electricity. This electricity, in turn, was used to mine close to 17,000 cryptocurrency coins. 80 % of these coins were distributed among the workers while the company held onto the remaining 20%.
IoHO founder Manuel Beltrán explains the thinking behind the project: “I think art is able to explain abstract things and through art, you are also able to trigger something. With this project, I want to generate questions or sparks.”
People are skeptical about the use of manual labor to facilitate artificial intelligence, and Beltran claims that he wants to use art to understand the people’s point of view about the future and AI. He says “I met a lot of people who have pessimistic feelings about the future. Politics are out of control and we have no say. We are ruled by algorithms which we don’t even understand. We don’t know whom to fight and how we feel. Maybe art can help us to imagine and to start the fight.”
We will have to wait and see what other bizarre experiments Beltran comes up with in the future. You can see the cryptocurrency generating suit in the video below: