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What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

Posts Tagged ‘Anthropomorphobia’

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    3D-Printed Skin Cells as an Aesthetic Statement

    Here is a next natural form of body modification, a 3D printed tattoo. Maria, a 23 year old girl from the Netherlands, printed her skin with a design made from stem cells. For her, two diagonal lines mean rebellion and one horizontal line means peace. For Maria, these three ambivalent lines represent the state of utopia.

    During the London International Tattoo Convention, I interviewed Dr. De Jong who performed the operation. He was a tattoo artist until his 30s and has been trying to find a new form of self expression. He confidently said “Tattoo is a very ancient form of fashion and we need to use a new means to express ourselves. I am sure this 3D printed tattoo will soon be fashionable in Amsterdam and Tokyo and will spread across the world”.

    This story is actually a fiction; the photo is from Ted Partin’s book Eyes Look Through You. But perhaps it is not entirely a fiction, but a fictional reality. Think about Stelarc’s Ear on Arm, or 3D printing technology branching out to bone, organs and skin. People already do astonishing things with their bodies. Why not 3D-printed modifications?

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  • DNAfaces08

    Artist Creates Portraits of Strangers Using DNA in Discarded Hair

    Through cigarette butts and strands of loose hair, we constantly and carelessly discard our genetic material. One New York-based artist, Heather Dewey-Hagborg, used these random traces left behind by unsuspecting strangers to make sculptures of what their owners might look like.

    In her Stranger Visions series, Dewey-Hagborg created physical models using DNA facial modeling software and a 3D printer. The masks reflect eye color, geographical roots, sex, and other traits, but not exact facial features because forensic phenotyping can’t yet fill in all the details. Stranger Visions calls attention to the potential for a culture of “genetic surveillance” made possible by inexpensive $1,000 DNA sequencers. “As a society,” says Dewey-Hagborg, ”we need to have a discussion about that.”

    Soon, our entire genome may be accessible to strangers within minutes, with fears of cloning or genetic hacking to go along with it. It’s unsettling to think that our DNA, and therefore our identities, are not as precious as we think they are.

    Via Designboom.

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    Bionic man

    It’s not really a man, and it’s not really a robot. Nor is it a cyborg, although this might be the most accurate description. This $1 million dollar bionic something is a showcase of what we are currently capable of installing in human beings along with a look at the future of augmented biology.

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    Chinese Whisper Challenge Pits Man Against Machine

    What would happen if you let computer and man compete? Not in obvious ways, like who can do faster calculations or win the Jeopardy game show. Rather, what about a challenge right on the border of our abilities?

    Speech is one such border. Many smartphones have fairly advanced speech recognition. Although humans can still recognize spoken words much better than a computer, we can easily misinterpret a message or forget it. To pit human against machine, design student Ylja Band made an online experiment in which she makes man and machine compete in the form of the Chinese whisper challenge. The human participant and the computer try to pass the same message via speech, ending up with very different results.

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  • retouching models to make them appear fatter

    Reverse Retouching: Fattening Up Too-Thin Models

    In a darkly ironic reversal of its normal role, Photoshop is now being deployed to make models look more fleshy than they actually are. In part spurred on by the impossible beauty standards that Photoshop has made commonplace, models have become so adept at self-starvation that magazine editors have to use software to make them look healthier.

    Former Cosmo editor Leah Hardy recently described the “reverse-retouching” that occurred under her tenure:

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    Customizing the Brain with Psychoactives

    It’s long been a desire of the human species to have complete control over our own thoughts. We’ve all had these moments where we curse our brain. Asking questions like: “Why wasn’t I more fun at that party”, “Why did I act so mean to that person? “ and “Why am I not reaching my creative potential?”. In the last couple of decades, a plethora of psychoactive substances have been discovered. With them came the ability to exercise control over our conscious minds.

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    Forget Me Knot

    We all know BioJewellery; two wedding rings grown from bone tissue collected from two lovers. This intimate ring allows you to physically wear your partner around your finger.

    Although these rings are very intimate and symbolic they are made of a material (bone) which is quite abstract. Bone is hopefully not something you usually touch and see from your partner.

    Sruli Recht, an Icelandic fashion designer, has solved this problem. He created a ring with a slice of his own skin. A piece of rectangular skin is surgically removed from his belly. The skin is then tanned, salted and mounted on a 24 carat gold ring. Sruli also made a short documentary about this process, but beware this contains graphic scenes of the operation.

    Although it might give you slight rushes of anthropomorphobia, with this ring you wear a piece of your partner which actually feels like him or her.

    Via Dezeen.com

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    Paradise Reset

    Interview with our own Koert van Mensvoort in the IKON Television Documentary ‘Paradise Reset’ on the future of human nature. Watch the entire documentary here.

    Do you want to know more about the future of meat? We are writing a speculative cookbook of in-vitro meat dishes, join us on www.bistro-invitro.com.

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  • Portrait of MAN

    If only this short by Steve Cuts wasn’t so incredibly well made, I would dare to criticize it for promoting a misanthropic perspective on humankind that stands in an outdated Christian tradition, portraying people as a sinful beings that merely destroy the Paradise we were once kicked-out of.

    I doubt if such self-hatred is helpful in understanding our human position on the planet. Great animation, still. And at least there is a happy ending. Thanks Ad.

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  • child pate

    Liver Pie Made for (Not from) Children

    Everyday Anthropomophobia: This summer in Norway I discovered it is normal to put images of happy children on your liver pie product. I asked a Norwegian friend about this packaging and we concluded that, with items you see your entire life, you often forget to question their expression or origin. Product description from the producer: “Has a mild flavor which makes it perfect for kids.”

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    Human Barbie

    Just when you thought the Second Life hype was long gone, meet Ukrainian body artist Valerie Lukyanova who aims to turn Second Life into First Life.

    They call her the Human Barbie. She has been posting images & videos of her hypernatural beauty since November last year and her emergence on the internet erupted a virtual firestorm. Many have wondered if she was a hoax, however, her appearance in a television show seems to confirm she is a real lady.

    Although we wholeheartedly grant Valerie the morphological freedom to alter her body like a Barbie, we also advise her to read the essay Anthropomorphobia – Exploring the Twilight Zone between Person and Product. It might help understand the uncanniness her fellow members of the human species experience with her appearance.

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    Via Vmagazine.com. Thanks Janine, Thanks Ronald.

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  • Make Mine Music

    Beluga Whale makes Human-like Sounds

    Researchers in the US have been shocked to discover a beluga whale whose vocalisations were remarkably close to human speech. While dolphins have been taught to mimic the pattern and durations of sounds in human speech, no animal has spontaneously tried such mimicry.

    But researchers heard a nine-year-old whale named NOC make sounds octaves below normal, in clipped bursts. They then rewarded NOC for the speech-like sounds to teach him to make them on command and fitted him with a pressure transducer within his nasal cavity, where sounds are produced, to monitor just what was going on.

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    Source BBC, via Zack Denfeld

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  • vgo robot

    Using a Robot to Virtually Attend School

    There are many people in the world for whom, for various reasons, it is impossible to leave the house or hospital. This means these people are not able to go to work or school. The VGo is the solution for those people.

    Seven-year-old Devon Carrow Sperduti from Buffalo, New York is such a boy. He suffers from deadly allergies so he cannot leave his house. A single day at school could kill him. Thanks to VGo, Devon can still attend school. Devon can control the VGo from his laptop at home to follow lessons and interact with his friends.

    Via a webcam Devon can see what is happening in the classroom and hear what is being told. If a question is asked to the class, Devon can flash a light to show he knows the answer. During the break, he can even play with his classmates in the schoolyard. For the children, the robot is a virtual Devon.

    The VGo can be the solution for international business. It is no longer necessary to have a long expensive flight to attend a meeting or conference. The VGo gives you the ability to freely move around and truly interact with people and the environment.

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  • The soft touch of a human hand

    The Soft Touch of a Human Hand

    When using devices nowadays everything feels like plastic. Nissan’s engineers are trying to change just that.

    The inside of cars usually are built with plastic and can feel cheap instead of the pleasant feeling of human skin. The most comfortable materials, according to Nissan’s engineers, are soft, warm, smooth and even moist. When creating the most naturally feeling plastic the engineers are using these qualities to recreate the feeling of human skin. These qualities, however, are not the only factors in making plastic feel naturally.

    The natural feeling comes from pressure resistance and texture as well. Nissan’s engineers are replicating the softness of human skin and applying it to the plastics. The most attractive texture according to Nissan’s research approximates that of the human fingerprint. The implementation of these new natural feeling plastics should lead to the most comfortable cars ever. Drivers will love the soft, natural feeling of the steering wheel.

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  • happiness counter

    Robot Fridge Forces You to Smile for Food

    Feeling grumpy and hungry? Unfortunately, the University of Tokyo’s Happiness Counter refrigerator won’t open up until you give it a big smile. The concept is based on the fact that smiling releases endorphins, but it seems like the pushy fridge is a quicker route to rage than to true happiness.

    Via Buzzfeed.

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    Pantone SkinTone

    Should made-to-order babies become a reality in the near future, one piece of the design puzzle has been solved now Pantone has release their SkinTone system. Indexing 110 skin tones they might have set a standard to work with. Racists could never be more precise in their practice. Forget about the “skin color” label on stockings and find a Pantone color to match.

    The Pantone SkinTone is available here at $89. And there’s a really corny Pantone video below.

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  • unreal tournament

    Video Game-Playing Robot Acts More “Human” than Humans

    Computer-controlled players in video games can usually be spotted for their repetitive, illogical or unemotional behavior. Unlike humans, non-player characters (NPCs) don’t get angry, frustrated or scared in stressful game situations, and have trouble planning ahead. In order to address this problem, 2KGames launched the BotPrize, a Turing-style Test aimed at creating more convincing artificial players.

    A human audience watched players in battling their way through Unreal Tournament 2004 and rated them on their apparent “humanness”. A team from the University of Texas at Austin tied for the win, creating an NPC so realistic that it scored a humanness rating of 52%. That’s impressive, and even more so taking into account that plain-ole real humans only clocked in at 40%.

    The UT team was able to create their more-human-than-human bot through a process called “neuroevolution”. Using existing models of in-game human behavior, the researchers created different NPCs that were weeded out via a Darwinian process. As with mutations in genetic evolution, each new generation of the different NPCs lineages were tweaked slightly with behaviors that could either prove to be adaptive (more human) or maladaptive (less human). After five years of digital evolution, the game bot finally outperformed its human competition.

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  • converse-shoe-tattoo

    Converse Sneaker Tattoo

    Today, shoes have been naturalized to the extend that we hardly can imagine life without them. Yet, shoes didn’t exist in old nature, hence there must have been a day when footwear was a radical new technology people had to get attuned to. At that time, some ten-thousand of years ago, one had to decide whether to embrace or decline the emerging footwear technology, similar to mobile technology in our time.

    Over the years, footwear moved from being an unfamiliar to an accepted phenomenon, from a second nature to a first nature. Like the mobile phones we carry only more recently, we can still decide to take off our shoes and experience life without them today. Indeed almost no one ever does that for a longer period, but at least we can.

    The unidentified wearer of the Converse Sneaker Tattoo apparently decided he didn’t want to experience any shoe-less moments in life anymore? Or he just wanted to get his feet on a blog? In any case, he got what he wanted. Peculiar image of the week. Via BoingBong.