What if Internet was inside us?
Sunday is the “day of the thinker”. Having already devoted this day to philosophers, economists, scientists and sociologists, I am now pleased to add a forecaster to the list: Joël de Rosnay, since writing The Symbiotic Man in 1995 has been reflecting on the Internet of the future. According to him, this Internet will bring together biology and information systems, leading him to refer to this future manifestation as “The Symbiotic Web” or the “Symbionet”. For de Rosnay, “Yesterday, we went on the net, today we live on the net” and tomorrow, the net will be inside of us! French speakers can watch his talk at Tedx Paris on this subject here.
According to his biography on his website: “Joël de Rosnay, Docteur ès Sciences and scientific writer, is presently President of Biotics International, a consulting company specialized in the impact of new technologies on industries, and Special Advisor to the President of the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie at La Villette of which he was Director of Forecasting and Assesment until June 2002. From 1975 to 1985 he was Director of Research Applications at l’Institut Pasteur (the Pasteur Institute in Paris).”
In his most recent book, published in French as 2020—Les scenarios du future (“2020—Scenarios of the Future), de Rosnay states: “borders between biology, mechanics and electronics have faded away. Researchers have now implanted chips in their arms to communicate with their environment and to be recognized by security systems. Cerebral prostheses have come into contact with a machine-made environment. While other researchers work on “neuro chips” that can be implanted directly into specific areas of the brain such as the hippocampus—offering new hope to those who have suffered neurological damage…But faced with these radical scientific developments, one must remain prudent—an ethical gap exists between the “repaired” person, the “transformed” person and the “augmented” person. Chips and implants theoretically allow for augmented cerebral or metabolic functions for people in good mental health with the means to pay for such prosthetic advances—which runs the risk of creating “sub-humans” and “super-humans”. The symbiotic web can create ethical problems.
The integration of new technologies in the human body is reminiscent of the “cyborg” (for “cybernetic organism”) concept popularized by Manfred E. Clynes and Nathan S. Kline in 1960. I would like to thank Mathieu Felx (better known on Twitter as “Publigeekaire”) for showing me the documentary that resonates with Joël de Rosnay theories: