Biomimicry and…Technomimicry?

I recently started following Rachel Armstrong on Twitter. She’s an interdisciplinary researcher that is merging the fields of natural and built environments. Her TED Talk, “Creating carbon-negative architecture” is pretty interesting; creating protocells that help construct materials and structures seems like a great way to blend fields together. In a way, natural elements are creating human-planned structures. I know it may seem unethical to manipulate the environment and organisms for human purposes, after all, isn’t that what got us into this problem in the first place? But I think there’s something special about this approach, it’s a way for both natural and human lifestyles to merge into a symbiotic relationship (as long as the human lifestyle changes). But like all technological advances, it depends on how we use it. And Armstrong emphasizes that the protocells aren’t living creatures, but more like programmable biologically-based machines. It’s a shuddering thought, something almost out of a Science Fiction world. In this kind of approach, nature is viewed in a technological lens, as if the entire Earth was some sort of computer program or machine (Hitchhiker’s Guide anyone?). To get an idea of what I’m talking about, check out this video (15 min.). I admit I am somewhat torn by this way of looking at things, but it is something that I’ll keep an eye out for. In a way it’s both biomimicry and the opposite of it, a sort of techno-mimicry where natural processes are based on/inspired by technological ones.

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