Notes on Extinction, Emergence and Biochemical Design

Human beings realise that we are working towards our own demise and if not death a different form of human life.

A short text commissioned for the extinction marathon at serpentine gallery in London which included more interesting and less interesting artists(it says so in the text lol), scientist and writers talking for 24 hours on the topic of extinction. The text particularly deals with Lazarus taxa, Siphonophores, Microbial agency and Post Planetary species.

The text begins by defining extinction as a subtraction of discrete DNA but then quickly suggests that the DNA archives of the world are not necessarily the solution to extinction but a method of cultivating alternative ecosystems for these genetic codes. So, yes we will have all we need to de-extinct a particular species but to expect that these species will evolve in the same way is false.(according to the author)The result of this is unprecedented and one cannot be really sure of the outcome.(makes for a good speculative design project)

In order for de-exctinction of humans to work we would need to design this scenario from a different stand point. We will observe the siphonophores who appear to be one body but are really many organisms working together and the Nematophor; horsehair worms that take over insects and turn them into zombified prostheses.

Everywhere, we are situated within economies of nested parasitism, that is, one species evolved to inhabit the body of another animal often in a necessary and symbiotic relationship.

In order to stick to our ark-maker lifestyle and survive extinction we would have to hope that ,either we can better serve as nested parasites with the post anthropogenic species or vice versa. The texts highlight how much of a paradox this is as the modern human dubiously watches, analyses mass extinction with the realisation that its is one of the preeminent agents of mass extinction. Human beings realise that we are working towards our own demise and if not death a different form of human life.

The texts suggests that the new species which will be the centre of the post anthropocene would be taking form through robotics, synthetic biology and artificial intelligence. It compares them to the small mammals that survived the Cretaceous-Palaeocene extinction (the one that took out many animals and plants including non-avian dinosaurs who were more suited to the environment that was a result of the extinction.

The author continues to support this notion by noting that the first earthlings were not human, and the human biology does not allow space travel which is not the case for metalloid robotics and perhaps some form of synthetic biology. So if and when the anthropogenic extinction happens, the new species would be more capable of making evolutionary steps that we couldnt and for humans to survive they would have to be more like the new species.

Identifying modern technology as the culprit to our own extinction the probable solution would be to de-technologise the planet and re-humanise ourselves but apparently this is the worst possible plan for it ignores this copernican trauma of the anthropogenic precipice(something i do not yet understand) that states in order to survive we need to become something that is not recognisably human and it also does not define what humans actually are:a bunch of brain eating apes with nukes who organise our societies with questionable ways of the past.

The text seems to think the other species will agree with this, I only wonder if they can comment on my blog (woes of an interaction designer)