Tuesday, March 24, 2009

dolphin technology

These dolphins at SeaWorld in Orlando Florida actually create a kind of technology to play with. They apparently have a technique to create a continuous stream of air underwater in a way that makes the bubble ring not rise to the surface, but stay whirling underwater. This gives the dolphins the opportunity to manipulate it, break it, reshape it, much like we sketch with pencils. I wonder if they find out this technique by accident or they develop some kind of cognitive understanding of the physics of air in water that guides them in learning to create these underwater wonders. Maybe in the future we will combine our terrestrial intelligence with that of the dolphins. If you know any interesting papers on dolphin neurology, they are highly welcome.

Monday, March 23, 2009

future fossils

Here's some astonishing work by Korean artist Choe U Ram, who makes these robots with an extraordinary organic quality and subtlety of movement to them. It's almost better than nature.

Friday, March 20, 2009

rise of the river robots

There we go, robot armies are already being developed, but now our seas and rivers are also going to be the homes of robots with autonomous navigation capabilities. Apparently, British scientists want to release robots that resemble fish into the sea near Spain. These machines would be able to detect pollution, so basically it's a moving sensor with the mask of a sophisticated organism.

This way, robots are again a quick and easy solution to something that should be tackled preventively. Throw in some technology, that'll do. Sure. It's adding up quickly if you ask me. I feel that in a way, robots could become the punishment we create for ourselves because we can't live in tune with our world as a whole. We try to stick patch after patch onto nature, but we really need to look inside of ourselves and learn to accept it with all its unpredictabilities, become open-minded to the all-transcendent wisdom pervading it, and with our newly acquired consciousness try to uplift it by catalyzing its own flow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

a frappuccino fresh from the phone

Along these lines, wouldn't it be interesting if we had a technology that would be our perfect biological complement, that would nourish itself with our waste products, and produce waste that we could use as food? Think of a robot that would eat our fecals, drink our urine, and in turn produce, say, vanilla pudding with chocolate sprinkles, while being perfectly happy about all that. I think something like this might be possible, and that there is no inherently decreased evolutionary quality to things we consider to be waste products. Only from our own biological frame of reference this is so, but if we can create other forms of life than merely carbon-based ones, I think we could surely have a biological complement.

Friday, March 13, 2009

full body teleportation: ultimate instant escapism

Have you ever wanted to escape the life you have spiralled into and are silently looking for an easy way out? Try the "full-body teleportation system" filed under US Patent Application #0071122. Given the number, it might just be a prop for the next James Bond movie. The work actually sounds pseudo-believable in stating that it can teleport "a human being through hyperspace from one location to another", using a "pulse gravitational wave wormhole generator system", that is capable of "generating a wormhole with the magnetic vortex generator whereby the pulsed gravitational wave traverses through the wormhole and enters into hyperspace where the wave is enormously magnified due to the lower speed of light in that dimension."

Here's a link to the patent: Full body teleportation system

how giant crabs will save us

Experts Agree Giant, Razor-Clawed Bioengineered Crabs Pose No Threat

This is the best parody on techno-progressivism I have ever seen.

Jazz and animation

This abstract animation by Michael Levy just has to make you happy on this Friday night. It seems to go somewhere in the beginning, but from 2:18 onwards it's just unbridled, out-of-control happiness, with a somehow very neo-biological flavour.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Grey, the colour of tomorrow

A rather dramatic take on the apocalyptic gray goo scenario, where a single 'evil mind' can infiltrate a nanorobotics research facility, modify a nanobot to self-replicate catalyzed by carbon, and release it onto the world to homogenize the planet almost instantly. The first successful autonomously self-replicating nanobot could thus become the basic building block for a new kind of evolution that quite radically transcends the slow and blind biological components that life is composed of nowadays. Let's hope though that this bot will be a reflection of a less egoic but more enlightened mind, that can imbue it with empathy and a sense of connectedness without boundaries.

Credits go to director Ransom Riggs, who used motion capture for this creation.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

'Metamorphoses' at Espace Louis Vuitton, Paris

If you happen to be in or near Paris and moreover, you are drawn to transhumanist ideas, make sure to give Espace Louis Vuitton at the Champs Elysees a visit. You are taken to the top floor by a pitch black elevator where 10 Korean artists show their visions on how our identities are changing concerning our societies, our bodies, and our architectures. These modern works are definitely a splendid complement to all the centuries old art of, say, the Louvre, and in an often playful or humorous way put you back into the contemporary world and the issues we face today.

Hyungkoo Lee seems to want to prepare us for a world where even on a biological level we cannot distinguish anymore between what is determined for us by evolution, and what is created by us. She shows skeletons of cartoon characters that are so realistic that suddenly a Roger Rabbit world does not seem that far off. We seem indeed to be living in an era where the simulations that used to be bounded to the realm of representation are about to be biologized. If cartoon character and biological entity can blend into a "Homo Animatus", what then constitutes a living being? Is everything that seems alive not already alive? Is every recognition of a living being not merely a transitory self-projection arising out of an existential insecurity that makes us look for patterns with which we can identify and stabilize a self that is inherently fragile in a self-induced illusionary structure constituted by things we posit as distinct from us? Is the distinction between life and death not merely the result of narrow-mindedness? So, are we not already dead as much as we are alive? I think you already know my answer.

Another interesting work is a giant tornado-like shape composed of miniature translucent human figurines created by Do Ho Suh. This colorful structure might signify how we all need to act together, as one mind, but all playing a slightly different, unique role. A hominized atmosphere, transformed by man, in harmony with human values and needs, what a beautiful idea that is. Maybe the only way to reconnect with the nature we were once so immanently immersed in is to become it.

The exhibition will be open until August 23rd, 2009. Here's the address:

Espace Louis Vuitton
60, rue de Bassano/101 Avenue des Champs-Elysées, 75008 Paris.
Tél: 01 53 57 52 03

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

the remote control mouse and the clueless cyborg

As a reflection of our conceptualizing neocortex, technology abstracts biology. It tears us out of the state of being that we were bound to by physical, biological or social forces, and can give rise to our own universe where we are free to choose what we ourselves experience. Changing our technological environment in order to materialize ways to happiness and 'making our world a better place' has been the predominating, peripheral, approach, which can now be complemented by an approach that modified the brain directly. This way, we can be always happy, even about the simplest things such as a blue light shining in front of us, as in the case of the modified cyborg mouse you can see in the movie above.

Dr. Ed Boyden from the MIT has found a way to modify the neurons of a mouse brain by having a custom made virus replace a few genes with those of other creatures. The behaviour codified by these genes then can get adopted by the host animal, hence rendering it a sort of clueless hybrid, the unity of brain and body getting to become torn away from its former ecological and social functional infringement.

Is this good? Yes, I would say that any increase of freedom is a good development. But again, this must be counterbalanced quickly by an overarching vision guiding these developments, before we come to get stuck into an alien world that fundamentally stems from technoprogressivist thought. As many of today's developments, and this is something I state over and over, also this fine example of neuroengineering might give rise to a kind of Brave New World, where we can enjoy instant pleasures, however it has major side-effects for our own psychology and the world as one holistic interconnected system. In other words, when we have no all-encompassing vision we float freely in a meaningless universe. We must see the cosmic beauty, if you like, that underlies all, and is already here. The complete acceptance of one's current universe is the ultimate transcendent form of being, and can never be surpassed by transitory forms of happiness, or 'fun', as induced so much by our current technologies. I wish for technologies that take away directedness, aboutness, and make us feel the beauty of all that is, now, here, in the this beyond pointing. Then we come to empathize with a holistic form of beauty that we can then uplift while staying in tune with our physicality, our biological urges, our social identity, our reflective understanding, but also having this transcendent notion that the ultimate form of beauty is beyond this, and that the only really meaningful way to live is to succumb to this beauty, forget the self, and try to make this beauty even more beautiful by envisioning our own universe. A universe that we become in the act of creation, and create in the act of becoming. To me technology like the aforementioned example from neuroengineering makes us a bit like infants, who get stuck in perception-action loops without understanding anything about what they're doing and its ultimate purpose. In a sense, this is what technology has been doing all the time, but in very sophisticated, hardly noticeable, and deceptive ways.

Let's not become clueless cyborgs, but cosmic cyborgs.

You can find more about MIT's Neuroengineering and Neuromedia Lab's work on Wired.com: Rewiring the Brain

if i ever get a kid i think i might call him nano

If horribly corny children's songs about some topic appear, involving handmade puppets with flat personalities, it just proves that the topic is quickly ingraining itself into society.

Monday, March 2, 2009

the merging of technology and nature signified in kinetic art

here's a small snack of kinetic art.

If there's anything I'd recommend you to do with scrap material; it's not trying to recycle it as much as possible, but create something new with it, like Casey Curran does with his kinetic wire art sculpture series "Oceania":


growing someone else's organs

The realization of the idea of having a body that you can change almost instantly in whatever way you like is coming ever nearer. It is now possible to create human organs inside a laboratory or inside an other animal, hence creating a kind of hybrid species, or an extreme form of parasitism. Take a look at this video:

human organs made to order

In this time where boundary after boundary is being blurred, dichotomy after dichotomy being dissolved, we need to start reflecting in a forward direction, see that understanding how everything is becoming united lies in the understanding and feeling that it already is united, that nothing really changes because all there is is one big cosmic process of which the understanding lies not in the modelling of it, the theorizing, the creation of mental images, but in the resonance with the direct experience and optimization of its beauty as perceived by you. A fundamental realization, the ultimate dichotomy we need to overcome, is that of seeing that life is the same as death, that our classification of things being living as opposed to dead is a mere concept, that there is a fundamental beauty transcending this dichotomy too, and that this transcendence is a critical point towards a state of being where we are enlightened with our minds, and later also with our bodies with which we will have lost identification completely, seeing them both as objects and as subjects so also this dichotomy disappears, making way for a supreme, holistic, invulnerably blissful mode of being.