WIEF Global Discourse On Internet Of Bodies


Jun  2nd

World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation, organised its 11th Global Discourse on Internet of Bodies on 25 May 2021 at 2:30pm (+8 GMT). Speakers for the one-hour webinar was Professor Mark Findlay, Professor of Law, Singapore Management University, Dr Ariffin Kawaja, co-founder, StretchSkin Technologies Singapore and Leigh Howard, deputy commissioner to Southeast Asia, Victoria Government, Australia. Moderator was Bobby Varanasi, founding chairman and CEO, Matryzel Consulting Inc, United States.

IoB is a process where technology is attached, implanted, connected or assigned in some way to a physical human and from that data is collected. There are two areas of interest for all of us today, one is the technological side which is the implant that often seems to dominate a discussion – the idea of having humans that are half machines which we’ve seen a lot in movies. What’s more interesting is the data produced, how that would be used and whether the body from which it’s taken from fully understands the nature of that data and the end source. The central issue is: the data produced through bodies goes somewhere and is used by someone.

Ariffin said, ‘IoB is essentially an extension of Internet of Things (IoT). There are different phases of IoB which we’re seeing right now. The first generation will be your Fitbit and smart watches to detect your vital signs, wellness and rehab data. The second generation will be implants, digital pills approved by Food and Drug Association (FDA) of America in the past three or four years, artificial pancreas for diabetic patients, prosthetics and the ability to detect our cognitive capabilities.’

Victoria government is spending a substancial amount of money for investments related to medical research and clinical trials. ‘It’s a significant piece of business and particularly as we see the cutting edge of that work going into Melbourne where it’s very much a life sciences hub. Some of the advances are quite startling.’ Leigh explained. ‘We’re seeing a lot of work around diagnostics and that’s the application. Whether it’s a permanent fixture to a person or something that’s ingested and passes through the system that sends data through, what’s really amazing is the brain computer interface technologies that are emerging. It’s because it can help people who might have disabilities or disadvantages by putting on the lens around physical or augmentation diagnostics.’

‘Due to the potential for mass data sharing, they become less segmented and more likely to intersect. From that comes some great positives. For instance, the ability to mix medical diagnostics with other aspects of welfare and wellbeing. Lifestyle educational development even things like poverty and socioeconomic retardants can be built into the bigger picture of why humans act the way they do and what their potentials are.’ Mark said. ‘The downside is that the more data we have and the more we share it, the more responsible we’ve got to be. This is the really challenging balance between the excitement that access gives us in terms of what we can do and the very pressing responsibility in terms of care and treating that data with respect.’

The day that medical diagnostics are done at home will soon become a reality. Medical experts can be receiving our health readings which are done in the comfort of our own home, before sending the data to a medical expert who will then give us a reading in real time, without the need for a physical consultation.

The main concern when it comes to IoB is its security. When commenting about IoB and how it is used by big organisation to control human beings, Mark said, ‘Climbing on the back of the research we’ve done about surveillance in the workplace, there’s nothing new in this. A Grab or delivery driver doesn’t have an implant but he has an app on his phone and it can trace as well as make him do whatever they want him to do, or he doesn’t get to drive.’ He added, ‘the residual fear of somebody out there using the implant that’ll turn us all into robots. Although the question’s incredibly important, it’s background noise if we were to do two things: Clearly rehabilitate the narrative and people to understand the plus points as well as the things they can engage in. Also, we must be much more egalitarian about this and ensure that AI doesn’t just sit in America, Europe, Singapore and Malaysia.’


About World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation

World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation was established in 2006. It is the organising body of the annual World Islamic Economic Forum. The Forum serves as a focal point where country leaders, captains of industry, emerging entrepreneurs, academics and other stakeholders from the Muslim World and beyond, meet to build bridges through business. The Foundation also undertakes various capacity building programmes under the WIEF initiatives of the Businesswomen Network (WBN), Young Leaders Network (WYN), Education Trust (WET) and Roundtable Series (WRT).

For more information, visit www.wief.org

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  1. Dr Ariffin Kawaja
    Co-founder @StretchSkin Technologies, Singapore

    Dr Ariffin Kawaja is a co-founder of several healthcare and halal-tech startups in Singapore, which have received USD2 million funding from private investors and government agencies. His current startup, StretchSkin, provides a gaming platform known as the Virtual Exercise Therapy System (VETS) and has been used by close to 1,000 elderlies. Dr. Ariffin is a Research Associate at the Centre of Artificial Intelligence and Data Governance in Singapore Management University. He received his doctoral degree from Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His thesis was on fear-based health messages for Malay diabetes patients in Singapore. His research covers behavioural interventions using emotion and gamification for diabetic as well as elderly patients.


  1. Professor Mark Findlay
    Professor of Law and Director of Centre for AI and Data Governance@Singapore Management University


    Prof. Mark Findlay is a Professor of Law at the Singapore Management University, and Director of its Centre for AI and Data Governance, where he is a Professorial Research Fellow. He has honorary Chairs at the Australian National University, the University of Edinburgh and the University of New South Wales, as well as being an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the British Institute for International and Comparative Law, and an Honorary Fellow of the Law School, University of Edinburgh. Professor Findlay is the author of 29 monographs and collections and over 150 refereed articles and book chapters. He has held Chairs in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, England and Ireland. For over 20 years he was at the University of Sydney as the Chair in Criminal Justice, the Director of the Institute of Criminology. Recent publications include ‘Law’s Regulatory Relevance’ and ‘Principled International Criminal Justice: Lessons from tort law’. He is now working on COVID-19 regulatory issue


  1. Leigh Howard
    Deputy Commissioner to South East Asia


    Leigh is currently Deputy Commissioner to South East Asia for the State Government of Victoria, Australia. He leads a regional network of Victorian Government Trade & Investment offices responsible for achieving Victoria’s global trade & investment objectives and the government’s broader economic, social, and sustainability goals.

    Before joining the Victorian Government, Leigh was a board member and Executive Director for TradingPost.com.au, one of Australia’s biggest online classified portals. Prior to this, Leigh had an extensive career in managing HR outsourcing and executive recruitment. He founded Sheffield Executive, building it to be one of the leading search firms in Malaysia.  Leigh spent six years as Director, South Asia for Talent2 International (ASX:TWO), a global HR outsourcing company.

    Leigh is a Foundation Board Director of AustCham ASEAN is the Immediate Past Chairman of the Malaysia Australia Business Council.


  1. Bobby Varanasi (Moderator)
    Founding Chairman and CEO @Matryzel Consulting Inc., USA


    Bobby Varanasi is Founding Chairman and CEO of Matryzel Consulting Inc, USA, an independent advisory firm. He has over two decades of experience in consulting and management across technology, business services and building global operations. He advises federal governments across North and South America, Middle East, North Africa, Asia-Pacific and Australia on ICT sector development. He also advises Fortune 500 customer organisations and emerging market entrepreneurs on various aspects including strategy and inter-party trust ecosystems. Bobby is a board member for IAOP as well as Global Sourcing Council, and an Exco member of Malaysia-Australia Business Council. He is Co-founder of ThynkBlynk, an Executive Director for Sigmax-e and external advisor for Angstrohm Technologies. He mentors various tech startups in Malaysia. He is a Certified Outsourcing Professionals (COP), a certified Core Banking Professional (HSBC) and an ISO 9000 and CMMi Quality Systems Auditor.