I read when it came out in 2002 *The Structure of Evolutionary Theory* by
Stephen Jay Gould and he writes that "on the final branches of scope, the
cut labelled R3 accepts the Darwinian contention that microevolutionary
modes and principles can build grand patterns by cumulation though
geological immensity, but rejects the argument that such extrapolations can
render the entire panoply of phenomena in life's history without adding
explicitly macroevolutionary modes for distinctive expression of these
processes at higher tides of time..." (p. 21)
It is certainly important, as you write, to move beyond the idea of
unilateral structures of evolution and look at more complex
macroevolutionary systems. This brings us back to what it may be an
interesting analysis of the cyborg as an organism that in its evolutionary
structures is actually determined by 'humanity's positive and negative
traits' but also develops in a responsive mode to the other biological
entities that surrounds it.
Most of the assumptions and discussions during this conversation were
absolutely interesting and challenging but I would like to think, within a
macroevolutionary symbiotic structure, of a cyborg that is a symbiotic
organism able to bridge the separate world of the human species with the
more - and here I will use a much contested word - natural part.
Particularly if we think of the example that you describe of bacteria, the
cyborg could be the electronic/mechanical entity that enables us to be less
'destructive' in our relationship with the planet and to faces the
challenges related to environmental pollution and alterations that we are
Your vision may be correct and the less anthropocentric structure of the
cyborg may be what will allow our survival as a species by taking some
elements and discarding others. How these processes of lateral and cross
fertilization will happen and what will be discarded and what will be
adopted, this is another important question. Will the evolutionary processes
be man made? Or will happen independently? Will they be determined and
shaped by cultural issues: such as the ethnic background of the cyborg?
The cyborg becomes fascinating in my opinion if, as you suggest, is inserted
in an evolutionary framework and we attempt to project and understand the
possible macroevolutionary consequences of the choices that we make today.
PS: Yes Murat is right. Thanks to him for that article. It was interesting
to see how the company shifted from the 'military' original vision and
attempted to find a 'diverse' usage for a technology that was conceived as a
military tool. They started that spin off the 'going vegetarian' after the
attention Eatr received on international media. It could very well that
Eatr, in this new envisaged purpose, may represent a serendipitous event
with positive consequences...
Dr. Lanfranco Aceti
Associate Professor in Contemporary Art & Digital Culture
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
34956 Istanbul, Turkey
Tel: +90 (216) 483 9292
Department of Computer Science, Virtual Reality Environments
University College London
On Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 4:48 PM, roger malina <email@example.com> wrote:
> i dont know about cannibilism and cyborgs, but at the
> moment i am reading texts tied to the darwin anniversary
> and one of the things that struck me is how we have an
> idea that somehow humans( and other individuals of a species)
> are somehow "autonomous" in the world= when in fact
> we have co evolved with a whole network of organisms
> many of which (eg the microbial scale) are parasitic/symbiotic
> to such an extent that we have regularly exchanged genetic
> material. Our auto immune system develops in total symbiosis
> with the organisms that we grow up with in the womb and
> in the world. If you remove theses symbiotic species we cannot survive
> Recent ideas about how evolution operates depart
> from the ideas of Darwin that pictures evolution as a "tree" (a metaphor
> based on his study of coral) where new species, branch out from
> older trunk and branches which die off. Current evolutionary theory
> sees more cross /lateral connecting between branches.
> by the way murat points out that the flesh eating robot has turned
> vegetarian= the robot should really eat viruses and other microbes
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Lanfranco Aceti <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Date: Wed, Jul 15, 2009 at 11:04 PM
> Subject: Flesh Eating Cyborgs
> To: roger malina <email@example.com>
> Dear Roger,
> Hope you are well. I have just stumbled upon this and probably you
> knew about it already.
> The purpose of the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR)™
> (patent pending) project is to develop and demonstrate an autonomous
> robotic platform able to perform long-range, long-endurance missions
> without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling, which would
> otherwise preclude the ability of the robot to perform such missions.
> The system obtains its energy by foraging – engaging in
> biologically-inspired, organism-like, energy-harvesting behavior which
> is the equivalent of eating. It can find, ingest, and extract energy
> from biomass in the environment (and other organically-based energy
> sources), as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as
> gasoline, heavy fuel, kerosene, diesel, propane, coal, cooking oil,
> and solar) when suitable.
> This demonstration project can lead to three potential Phase III
> commercialization projects: (1) the development of prototype and
> operational EATR™ systems for military and civil applications; (2) new
> civil and military applications for the autonomous intelligent control
> system; and (3) development of the hybrid external combustion engine
> system for civil and military automotive applications, whether for
> manned or unmanned vehicles.
> In one of my replies I was wondering if eating transplanted human dna
> in plants raised issues of cannibalism, but probably I should have
> asked if the cyborg will feed on plants, animals and human flesh...
> All the best,
> Dr. Lanfranco Aceti
> Associate Professor in Contemporary Art & Digital Culture
> Sabanci University
> Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
> Room 2082
> 34956 Istanbul, Turkey
> Tel: +90 (216) 483 9292
> Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Honorary Lecturer
> Department of Computer Science, Virtual Reality Environments
> University College London
> 011 33 (0) 6 15 79 59 26
> or (0) 6 80 45 94 47
> Yasmin_discussions mailing list
> Yasmin URL: http://www.media.uoa.gr/yasmin
> HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: click on the link to the list you wish to subscribe to.
> In the page that will appear ("info page"), enter e-mail address, name, and
> password in the fields found further down the page.
> HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE: on the info page, scroll all the way down and enter
> your e-mail address in the last field. Enter password if asked. Click on the
> unsubscribe button on the page that will appear ("options page").
> HOW TO ENABLE / DISABLE DIGEST MODE: in the options page, find the "Set
> Digest Mode" option and set it to either on or off.
Yasmin_discussions mailing list
Yasmin URL: http://www.media.uoa.gr/yasmin
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: click on the link to the list you wish to subscribe to. In the page that will appear ("info page"), enter e-mail address, name, and password in the fields found further down the page.
HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE: on the info page, scroll all the way down and enter your e-mail address in the last field. Enter password if asked. Click on the unsubscribe button on the page that will appear ("options page").
HOW TO ENABLE / DISABLE DIGEST MODE: in the options page, find the "Set Digest Mode" option and set it to either on or off.