based on Pyramid of Technology:

While some technologies are implemented immediately after being envisioned, others remain indefinitely stuck in this stage. Cold nuclear fusion, teleportation, time traveling, or human-powered wings have all been a feature of our collective imagination for some time, but due to their infeasibility, they have yet to rise to a higher level on the pyramid. Although many technologies never make it out of the envisioned stage, they are still valuable as reference points for our imaginative capacity and desire to augment our bodies and minds. More than any other, the envisioned level is a dream stage, the province of artists, poets, science fiction writers and other visionaries. Although more practically oriented people sometimes underestimate this stage, it is in fact the birth chamber of all technological innovation.

Although young children still need extensive time and effort to master reading and writing, it’s difficult to imagine modern life without it. Writing technology is so successful that we don’t even recognize it as a technology anymore. Money, clothing and agriculture are also technologies that have become invisible. While they were invented thousands of years ago, and had a noticeable impact on the lives of our ancestors, today we no longer recognize them as technology. Within the invisible stage technology moves from the conscious realm – where we recognize it as a tool that we deliberately use – into the realm of the unconscious, where it becomes an invisible partner in our existence.

Naturalized technologies have moved beyond being a vital tool or habit within our society: they are so integrated in our lives we consider them part of our human nature. Perhaps the best example of a technology that is entirely naturalized is cooking. Here, cooking doesn’t refer to specific baking technologies like the microwave, but to the basic principle of heating food. Today we think of cooking as a universal aspect of human nature, but some 200,000 years ago, when early humans first started cooking, it was an innovative new technique. Without cooking a modern human being would have to eat five kilos of raw food to get enough calories. By pre-digesting our food before it is eaten, cooking allowed us to absorb more calories from the food we ate, and to expend less energy in the process. According to the gut-brain swap hypothesis, which has been described by Aiello & Wheeler, the human digestive tract shrank while the brain grew, as successive generations of our hominid ancestors relied on cooking (Aiello & Wheeler, 1995). The work of cooking and tending a fire may have even given rise to pair bonding, marriage, the household, and even the division of labor (Wrangham, 2010). Cooking changed the course of human history. Second nature became first nature.

Since the origins of humanity we have employed technology. We are technological beings by nature (Gehlen, 1988; Plessner, 1975) and similar to the bees and the flowers that co-evolved in a symbiotic relationship – the bees spread the pollen from the flowers and help them propagate while gathering their nectar – humankind is intertwined in a co-evolutionary relationship with technology.

This brings an entirely new perspective on the relationship between people, nature and technology. While we traditionally see nature and technology as opposites, like black and white, we now learn that our technologies can be naturalized over time. Throughout human history we practiced technology to emancipate us from the forces of nature – this starts with building a roof above our heads to protect us from the rain, or wearing animal furs to survive in a colder climate – yet, as our technologies become successful they in turn constitute a new milieu, a new setting, that may eventually transform our human nature.

If we can put our minds to creating technologies that have the potential to one day mature and rise to the summit of the pyramid, this will give us a clear guideline on where we want technology to go. As these technologies mature and climb the pyramid, they will in turn transform us. Hence, we need to project the best of our humanity onto them. We will not immediately get it right. There will be pitfalls, but at least we will know where we are going. Luckily, we can already be sure of one thing: in the long run, any sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from nature.

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In The Not So Distant Future, Glow-In-The-Dark Trees Could Replace Street Lights

Is that… is that even healthy?

There are sea organisms and fungi which glow in the dark and there’s fireflies and jellyfish which glow in the dark. It doesn’t do them any harm nor does it do the people around them any harm. I would say its pretty healthy, as well as it would mean more photosynthesis happening in cities which mean cleaner air.

I was just curious about how they were doing it and for some reason I didn’t think to click the link. But thanks! It makes more sense now. I was afraid it was some kind of chemical thing.

nah just genetic modification using existing bioluminescent genes. Genetics is really cool, and so is bioluminescence. I mean they’ve already made pigs glow using jellyfish genes and pigs are waaay more complicated than trees iirc. So they’re actually (i think) less likely to muck it up with trees.

In which case







(I like glowy things)

means more trees which is good

uses less electricity which is good (for both tax reasons and also just because  reasons)

pretties everything up

just generally all good stuff

glowy trees 2k15 plz

*puts on science hat* This is basically an art project. Before anything like this could go live, there would have to be massive serious assessment of the ecological impact, and substantial harm reduction measures implemented. For instance, light pollution affects the behaviours of organisms in urban environments; obvious examples being diurnal birds singing well into the night, deciduous trees retaining leaves into winter, and so forth. Glowing trees can’t be switched off if needed, so the possible consequences of that must be measured. The effects of light pollution are thus far fairly mild but they are real. The thing about streetlamps is that they can’t reproduce and invade wild habitats. Glowing trees could potentially throw seeds into unlit areas such as forests, introducing light pollution where it hasn’t previously existed and affecting the ecosystems dramatically. GMO crops have already caused what could be termed genetic pollution; Glowing trees could cross-fertilise with unaltered rootstock and cause unexpected mutations, which may or may not negatively impact the survivability of the rootstock species, and in turn the other species that depend on the rootstock. Are glowing trees less or more appetising to insects and animals, would there be additional requirements of pesticides or further engineering, would glowing trees affect the reproductive behaviours of insect and animal species, and how would all this interact with the local and global ecosystems? Is there a more containable (thus safer) option, such as tanks/globes of functionally inert biolumiscent algae with a biological “deadman switch” that would prevent it from surviving unassisted if accidentally released? Genetic engineering is unfortunately a can of worms, and though it may provide solutions to many ecological threats, it may also create even more.

*takes off science hat* SO COOL WANT GIMME NOW

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With Farm Robotics, the Cows Decide When It’s Milking Time –

“It just clicked,” said Susan Borden, Tom Borden’s 24-year-old daughter. “One day we came in and they had started milking themselves.”

Sure enough, on a recent Friday, the Bordens stood watch as cows lined up in front of the closet-size devices; each quietly allowed the machine to wash and scan its underbelly with lasers before attaching mechanical milk cups.

The cows ate the whole time, then moved along when the machine was finished. Nearby, another new device, a Roomba-style robot, pushed feed toward cows who lounged in a pen or lay on straw mats.

“We’re the most disruptive thing in here,” Mr. Borden said.

How do you fund deextinction and the rewilding of ecosystems forward to their next-natural state? What if you can make it pay for itself?

What if you can farm the rewilding with robots???

Why choose between domestication and the wild, that is so twentieth century binary thinking man. Embrace the xor!

Ride that paleo diet wave, and that suburban quest for authenticity via cable tv gurus: sell Auroch milk for $20 a litre in Williamsburg and to the greater citizens of Portlandia!

The first Boskarin cattle have now been released in the Velebit mountains. Part of the Taurus program to resurrect Europe’s only recently extinct ancient cattle:

The aurochs stands at the very roots of the whole idea of our continent but was sadly driven to its extinction by man. Luckily, it can also be brought back by man. In 2008, the Taurus Foundation decided to give the re-breeding of the aurochs a serious try. It has since grown into a joint effort together with Rewilding Europe and the Dutch organization ARK Nature. The end result will look like an aurochs, live like an aurochs, behave, eat, mate, defecate and eventually die like an aurochs. For the time being, this animal will be called the Tauros, the Greek word for the bull.

It’s 2017, and Oprah is saying: forget Quinoa, forget the ancient grains and antioxidant berries from the Amazon, try the milk of recently resurrected pre-domesticated cattle. The real, true superfoods harness the power of the palaeolithic, that Ice Age hardiness imbued unto you!

“Rumour has it this is what Cleopatra really bathed in,” the signs on the spas say.

Flown in by drones direct from the biomemetic milking stations built by anthropology majoring makers trained in augmented reality set design and custom blinds.

Untouched by a single human hand. Unseen by a single human eye. Reveal in the Authenticity consumers! Drink it in.

For an extra $99.99 you can have it tweaked with custom gut biota to cure all your ails.

And for 9,000 Euro you can have your own personal herd, visible to all your “friends” on Facebook via our special Farmville plugin.

It’s 2022 and the herds are now big enough to offer safaris for corporate retreats, buck’s nights and any other manner of escape. 

Armed only flint knives chipped with the very finest rocks. Wearing only hare-skin loincloths. Juiced up with Neanderthal DNA temporarily spliced in by harmless virii. They hunt their food for the year on foot and gather tales enough to entertain the crowds at their neighbourhood barbecues. Watched over by fleets of robot medics, ready to resurrect them or repair any injury.

We get a restored ecosystem, a better gardened planet, and they get… fed body, soul and hyperego.

— don’t you just love it when a future path into a better gardened Earth practically writes itself?

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I get these crazy ideas sometimes.

Like: what if we took this emerging tech of semiautonomous vehicles and robotic warriors and used them to deliver food across cities, and between.

To tear down the literal and metaphorical wall between civilization and the wild. A smart city that builds robot bee factories and deploys them as needed, built from discarded consumer goods.

Androids that used non-lethal weapons and calculated shows of force to let us live alongside wolves and bears, dingos and sharks, and that dinosaur your secretly genetically enhanced child built in your basement that got away.

What if the secret to avoiding the mass deaths of climate chaos was as simple as choosing hope over fear?

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In a future Serengeti, illegal poaching continues to deplete the wildlife population, but conservationists have extraordinary new tools to protect endangered animals: robots that take the forms of those animals to blend in with the wildlife and capture poachers.

Artist Robert Chews Big Five series of illustrations imagine a network of wildlife rangers and the animal inspired robots they use in an attempt to make poaching a thing of the past. (Although one illustration reveals that the poachers have fearsome robots of their own.) He frequently adds companion drawings showing off the features of his robots, and usually includes short blurbs about the roles of the robots, including this one about the White-Back Vulture robots:

Vultures patrol protection zones providing aerial recon and basic first aid capabilities. Their main job is to locate recently poached animals and mark them for investigation. If anti-poaching units are in the area the Vulture can land near the corpse of the animal and protect the body from consumption by other animals. Compartments in the wings and the chest area house basic first aid supplies to aid in field operations. These include bandages, tourniquets, antivenom, antiseptics, resuscitators, field rations, and water among other things. Another function is to transport DNA samples of poached animals quickly and efficiently for analysis to help keep records up to date about the remaining animal populations.Vultures also serve as locators for tagged ivory and rhino horn. By locating signals from planted GPS units Vultures can help anti-poaching units and law enforcement locate the contraband and hopefully the poachers as well.

Overall the Vulture units serve as aerial watchdogs as well as CSI. Though they are non-combatant’s their auxiliary functions aid greatly in field operations.


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