#19: Posthuman Man o' War and Bacterial Reappropriation


Image by Volkan Yuksei.

Despite its outward appearance, the Portuguese man o' war is not a common jellyfish but a siphonophore, which is not actually a single multicellular organism, but a colony of specialized minute individuals called zooids. These zooids are attached to one another and physiologically integrated to the extent that they are incapable of independent survival. - Wikipedia

A wonderful paper and an excellent article demonstrate the fallacy of the idea or concept of human. While Humans as Superorganisms: How Microbes, Viruses, Imprinted Genes, and Other Selfish Entities Shape Our Behavior digs our very own superorganim, our own body, Encounters with the Posthuman has a good look at our bodies merging with our technology.

Our bodies were never just a single thing. They are basically modular systems and we are just beginning to understand, how to hook technology into it.

On the other side of the spectrum we have some interesting developments in the bacterial universe. Not only can they replace all body cleansing products, they can also be used as body computers.

We Are Not Human Individuals


[This papers] is to show that we are not unitary individuals in control of ourselves but rather "holobionts" or superorganisms-meant here as collections of human and nonhuman elements that are to varying degrees integrated and, in an incessant struggle, jointly define who we are.

Via Daily Nous. The paper can be aquired here or here: Kramer and Bressan - Humans as Superorganisms. I really really love this paper.

# Encounters with the Posthuman


Now, however, advances in artificial intelligence, cybernetics, and genomics are blurring the outlines of the once-cozy categories of human, animal, and machine. Under the loose and shifting rubrics of "transhumanism" and "posthumanism," a growing number of artists, philosophers, and self-modifying "biohackers" are looking to redefine the boundaries of the self.

Via a beautiful designed Nautilus article.

The Bacteria Solution


The "friendly" bacteria inside our digestive systems are being given an upgrade, which may one day allow them to be programmed to detect and ultimately treat diseases such as colon cancer and immune disorders.

Via MIT News.

Researchers develop basic computing elements for bacteria


AOBiome is the first cosmetics company to market a product that purposely contains live bacteria-they don't cause illness, even if ingested-which sets Mother Dirt apart from the glut of recent scientific skin-care items.

Via Bloomberg.