Fruit flavored candy
Food Technology

What Is Next Nature? #2

…Or is it candy-flavored fruit? The fruit we buy in the supermarket is not as natural as we may think. Centuries of selective breeding have made our fruit juicier, sweeter and bigger. For instance, the tree that produces the bananas we find in the supermarket cannot survive without the help of humans. Originally this fruit used to contain seeds, but our supermarket banana does not have any seeds. Don’t be fooled by artificial candy, our fruit is equally human made. It goes without saying, though, that this doesn’t mean that fruit is not healthy or that candies are!

Read the entire Next Nature is… series.

teaching assistant jill watson
Wild Systems

Your Teaching Assistant Is a Robot

We tend to think that there are certain categories of jobs that can’t be replaced by machines, yet. Something like a college teacher, for example. Jill Watson performed as teaching assistant for several students of the Georgia Institute for Technology. The thing students didn’t realize is that she wasn’t a real person. The experiment lasted five months during which Jill’s task was to help students, by answering their questions online. Her responses were so credible and elaborate, that they didn’t doubt her identity.

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Microbial Factories

Using Feces as Medicine

Meet freelance-biophysicist Josiah Zayner. He’s one of those people who decided to take matters into his own hands when his life became substantially affected by severe gastrointestinal pain. Taking the matter into his own hands proved to be quite messy, since the matter he was handling consisted of human feces, and not even his own.

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reputation monkey whispering
Wild Systems

Rating the Reputation Economy

A ten part series exploring the design of an invisible technology: money.

Our online reputation permeates throughout our digital world. With every website we visit, comment we leave, person we “friend”, spammer we flag or badge we earn, we leave a trail of how well we can or can not be trusted. Though it may not seem like it, our reputation is becoming a valuable currency that is hard to earn and easy to lose.

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recreating second skin to look younger
Augmented Bodies

Creating a Second Skin to Look Younger

Staying young has been a human desire for as long as we can remember. Cleopatra used to take milk baths to preserve her beauty and youth, today we apply expensive creams to achieve the same result. But all these special treatment didn’t even come close to what we wanted to achieve. So in the end, we just had to accept the reality of time. Until now. Scientists at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, Living Proof, and Olivo Labs managed to create what every woman has been dreaming of: a second skin to reduce wrinkles and tighten the skin.

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Forward to Nature

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Virtual worlds, printed food, living cities, wild robots – we’re so surrounded by technology that it’s becoming our next nature. How can we live in harmony with it? The Next Nature Network is a 21st century nature organization that wants to go forward – not back – to nature. We stir debate, create events, exhibitions, publications and products that bring biology and technology into balance. Because ultimately, we may not just have to save the pandas but the people too. Will you join us?

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Suburban Utopia

A System that Predicts Crime

Clubs, bars, cafes and the streets that connect them are the hotspots for a night out. Occasionally, the combination of crowded spaces and alcohol usage can cause unpleasant situations, such as aggressions. To prevent acts of aggression, a new smart surveillance system is being tested in Stratumseind, a street of Eindhoven with the longest concatenation of nightlife venues in the Netherlands. This new system can identify a growing conflict and direct the police to it, before anyone could throw a punch.

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Texting smiley faces with a straight face
Society of Simulations

What Is Next Nature? #1

Laughing is meaningful in a social environment. We do most of our laughing together. But with smartphone interfaces slowly replacing real world interaction, our facial expressions become obsolete. In order to express our emotions in text messages we outsource them to emoji. At the moment we are awkwardly divided between laughing at our smartphone or texting laughing smileys while expressing nothing but a poker face.

This post is part of the Next Nature Is… series. Every week we will post an image with a statement about next nature in action. Some of them will be very recognizable, others will surprise you. Our next nature is unfolding itself all around us and we want you to recognize it as well.

Plastic Bottle Village
Plastic Planet

A Village Made of Plastic

Probably the house in which you live was built using some kind of plastic. In fact, plastic of all types is all around us, from our computers to our water bottles. It’s one of the most flexible materials known to man. But, as you probably know, the amount of plastic waste humans produce is immense, and most of it ends up polluting the environment and endangering wildlife. Yet in this case, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. A canadian entrepreneur is trying to help reduce plastic pollution by building a village made out of plastic in Panama.

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Manufactured Landscapes

Iconic Buildings in Untouched Lands

What would happen if we could isolate iconic buildings and place them in beautiful natural settings? This is photographer and designer Anton Repponen‘s latest project, Misplaced → New York. He was able to put these stunning architectural monuments in the spotlight by placing them in a natural landscape, where they can be observed without all the distracting elements that surrounds them in a town, like New York City in this case.

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cyclist path commuters
Suburban Utopia

Fitness Trackers Help Improve Cycle Paths

How safe is it to cycle in your town? In most cities daily cyclists are stunningly increasing, but they also face quite some risks and unexpected events on their way. More and more towns are investing on improving bicycle paths, also hoping to decrease the number of car-users. To do so, some cities are taking advantage of technology, a very handy tool when it comes to data and information collection.

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