This nOde last
updated December 28th, 2001 and is permanently
(10 Muluk (Water)
/ 7 K'ank'in - 188.8.131.52.9)
The overlap of the mechanical
and the lifelike increases year by year. Part of this bionic convergence
is a matter of words. The meanings of "mechanical" and "life" are both
stretching until all complicated things can be perceived
as machines, and all self-sustaining machines can be perceived as alive.
Yet beyond semantics, two concrete trends are happening: (1) Human-made
things are behaving more lifelike, and (2) Life is becoming more engineered.
The apparent veil between the organic and the manufactured has crumpled
to reveal that the two really are, and have always been, of one being.
What should we call that common soul between the organic communities we
know of as organisms and ecologies, and their manufactured counterparts
of robots, corporations, economies, and computer circuits? I call those
examples, both made and born, "vivisystems" for the lifelikeness each kind
of system holds.
In the following chapters
I survey this unified bionic frontier. Many of the vivisystems I report
on are "artificial"-artifices
of human making-but in almost every case they are also real-experimentally
implemented rather than mere theory. The artificial vivisystems I survey
are all complex and grand: planetary telephone
systems, computer virus incubators, robot prototypes, virtual
reality worlds, synthetic animated characters, diverse artificial ecologies,
and computer models of the whole Earth.
- from _Out
Of Control_ (1994)
: Chapter One -The Made And The Born - Triumph Of The Bio-Logic -