ISSN: 1477965X
First published in 2003
3 issues per volume
Volume 12 Issue 2-3
Cover Date: December 2014
New perspectives about Nature and life
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Authors:  Pier Luigi Capucci 
DOI: 10.1386/tear.12.2-3.375_1

digital,biotechnologies,organic,life,Third Life,Nature,evolution,symbolic ability

‘Engineered’ and ‘organic’ have always represented two sides of a challenge that went along with human evolution. Since the dawn of its existence, humankind has been trying to adapt ‘Nature’, the phenomenal world, to his goals, through projects, techniques, instruments, devices, machines, in a process that received propulsion and acceleration from the advent of symbolic ability. Inside the phenomenal world, the ‘organic’ – the material carbon-based dimension on which life is founded, according to the sciences – has always represented a very important subsystem, mainly the world of the living. The ‘organic’ as food, support, pleasure, invention, care, with human skill, has been developing since prehistory, to select, hybridize and breed animals and plants, through more and more successful techniques ranging from crossbreeding to genetic manipulation and engineering. But also as ways to take care of the human body and life with tools, dresses, signs, machines and medical treatments. Scientific evolution has led to the capacity to deeply modify existing organisms and create new ones, new species that would never have evolved naturally. One major technique to describe and simulate the world and to interoperate with Nature is digital technology. Artificial intelligence, artificial life and robotics are mainly digitally based, working at the edge of Nature and the engineered. Digitally based technologies such as 3D printing and the Internet of Things can get to an intimate relationship among the engineered, the organic and Nature, blurring the divide between matter and language, life and code, ‘hardware’ and ‘software’. Hence, through sciences and technologies humanity is creating a Third Life originating from knowledge and culture, which is independently and autonomously evolving, expanding Nature from inside the realm of Nature.
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