We Have the Technology: How Biohackers, Foodies, Physicians, and Scientists Are Transforming Human Perception, One Sense at a Time


How do we know what’s real? That’s not a trick question: sensory science is increasingly finding that we don’t perceive reality: we create it through perception. In We Have the Technology, science writer Kara Platoni guides us through the latest developments in the science of sensory perception.

We Have the Technology introduces us to researchers who are changing the way we experience the world, whether creating scents that stimulate the memories of Alzheimer’s patients, constructing virtual limbs that approximate a sense of touch, or building augmented reality labs that prepare soldiers for the battlefield. These diverse investigations not only explain previously elusive aspects of human experience, but offer tantalizing glimpses into a future when we can expand, control, and enhance our senses as never before.

A fascinating tour of human capability and scientific ingenuity, We Have the Technology offers essential insights into the nature and possibilities of human experience.


North American publisher: Basic

Foreign rights contact: The Marsh Agency

Jessica Woollard (jessica@marsh-agency.co.uk) for the United Kingdom

Camilla Ferrier (Camilla@marsh-agency.co.uk) for Arabic World, Bulgaria, China, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy*, Japan, The Netherlands**, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam

Jemma McDonagh (Jemma@marsh-agency.co.uk) for Baltic States, Brazil, Croatia, Czech Rupublic, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy**, Korea, The Netherlands*, Poland, Romania, Scandinavia, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovak Republic, Turkey



Foreign rights sold: Korean to Next Wave Media

Film rights contact: Gillian MacKenzie (gmackenzie@gilianmackenzieagency.com)


“Consistently fascinating, witty, and candid… Engrossing techno-science delivered with gusto and sure to reach a varied audience.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Eschewing both the glib hyperbole of techno-futurists and the finger-wagging of neo-Luddites, Platoni takes her notebook on a whistle-stop tour of sensory pioneers: AI developers, VR engineers, pain analysts, flavor enhancers, and even a few people who really are making the world a better place. Her focus on the senses raises smart questions about the pliable boundaries of human perception and the very real limits of technology — at least in primitive 2015.” —New York Magazine

“Oakland journalist Platoni explores new research that shows how sensory perception and human experience are unexpectedly complicated and changeable.”—Los Angeles Times

“Platoni is a good match for this fascinating, sometimes fraught subject. She’s an industrious gatherer of facts and anecdotes. She has a talent for explaining complex ideas in clear language. And in this book, her first, she’s crafted a thought-provoking group portrait of the innovative thinkers who, in ways subtle and not so, are reimagining what the brain and the body can do… She’s the antithesis of an armchair reporter.”—San Francisco Chronicle

We Have the Technology is a scrupulously researched…thought-provoking book…A whirlwind tour of the senses and the ways technology may or may not enhance them through methods both fantastic and mundane…Platoni is a wonderful explicator of technology who weaves memorable and vivid metaphors to illustrate difficult concepts.”—Washington Post

“Kara Platoni melds complex concepts of biotech and human sensory enhancement in her new book, We Have the Technology…it shows us just how far modern technology has come -- and how wild and crazy it's going to get.”—Bay Area News Group, San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, and Oakland Tribune

“We Have the Technology is an examination of how the creative world of sensory science is changing our understanding and perceptions of reality.”—Shelf Awareness for Readers newsletter

“[An] enthusiastic review of research into human senses and ways they might be improved.... [W]holly engrossing.... This is a superb account of human perception and the first, clunky but potentially breathtaking efforts to expand it.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“[A] fascinating, often mind-boggling report on the fast-growing world of sensory science…Sometimes glowingly optimistic, and sometimes unnerving, Platoni’s overview previews a fast-approaching future of widespread sensory manipulation that demonstrates humankind is truly ‘on the cusp of tinkering with its own evolution.’”—Booklist

“All readers will find something in this journalistic text that doesn’t shy away from tough issues such as privacy and trauma.”Library Journal

“[A] fine book.”—City Journal

“With her rich reporting and narrative writing, Platoni provides readers with an accessible and engaging firsthand account of the inventions that are likely to shape science, technology, and human perception for many years to come.”—East Bay Express

“The cutting edge takes on literal meaning in We Have the Technology, as Kara Platoni introduces us to the biohackers, surgeons, perfumers, chefs, and patients pushing the boundaries of reality by inserting perception-altering technologies inside their bodies. Deeply reported and deftly told, We Have the Technology draws back the curtain on a brave new world in which being a hacker means hacking oneself.”—Joshua Davis, author of Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream

“Did you know there’s a wild, competitive search on for the next taste? Did you know they’ve found heartache in the brain? Did you know they’re using virtual reality for treating PTSD? Kara Platoni did, and fortunately when it comes to explaining Kara Platoni is the best. We Have the Technology soars through exhilarating new realizations about the human brain, the work it does to create reality, and how to subvert it, with Platoni’s wit and humor as a constant tether to the world we think we know. From a clear-eyed analysis of the meaning of time to an agreement with a master chef that Doritos are one of mankind’s peak culinary achievements, this book will make you laugh, it will make you think, and it will give you so many things to talk about at parties. Paragraph after lovely paragraph, it will explode your brain.”—Eric Simons, author of The Secret Lives of Sports Fans

“With We Have the Technology Kara Platoni becomes one of our best practitioners of metaperception—she thinks and feels deeply considered ideas about how we perceive the universe around us, now and in the future. If I ever have to buy robot eyes or a seventh-sense upgrade, I’m calling Kara first.”—Adam Rogers, Articles Editor at Wired and author of Proof: The Science of Booze