Last week, C Minds, through its Academy for Resilience, partnered with Next Nature Network to host their own designer, Hendrik-Jan Grievink, in Mexico City to discuss what the future holds in terms of reproductive technology and its potential impact on society, gender equality and our perception of human nature. The workshop introduced the concept of technology as another level of nature, referring to it as our “next nature”, and encouraged participants to imagine how technology interacts with our own lives and perceptions.
Participants learnt about how different types of technology and natural phenomenons fit on an axis from ‘born’ to ‘made’ and ‘less control’ to ‘more control’. Based on these categories, participants were divided into four “worlds” (born+control, born+less control, made+control, made+less control) and sought to answer thought-provoking questions such as “How are intimacy, relationships, and reproduction viewed?” and “What kind of products, services, or policies would be necessary in this world?”
Born and Less Control
This category encompasses what occurs without manpower and what cannot be contained by humans. The weather or natural disasters are just two ways of visualizing what is born and out of our control. A future in which society embraces the born and uncontrollable inextricably links the body to intimacy. Participants thought about a world that includes services and policies like vaccinations, government provided healthcare, medical exams, and childcare that complemented their society.
Born and More Control
In this group, participants focused on what has been born but then further enhanced by humans. Two examples are GMOs and a bonsai tree, which exist without human facilitation but are then manipulated by man. Rather than creating new technologies, this group built upon what the earth and the human body have to offer. Services in this world expanded fertility to both genders and disconnected sex from reproduction by finding other means of creating life within the body.
Made and More Control
In this section, society is constantly innovating new technology which it can also regulate. Cars, telephones, light bulbs, and many other everyday technologies have been human made and only function under our control. In this group, participants created a future that allowed reproduction to happen outside the body. Through innovation, this society could control what life is born and separate intimacy from reproduction.
Made and Less Control
Finally, this sphere describes entities that have been created by man but have since escaped our means of control. Examples include traffic jams, the financial system, or networks of computers. Workshop attendees created world that revolves around this simultaneous innovation and liberation. In this society, data is the new form of nature and energy. Reproduction exists separate from the body, and humans can be bred using information and technology.
In each of these hypothetical worlds, participants contemplated the ethical implications of the new technology, policies, and services they created. The discussion that followed allowed participants to consider where we believe technology is going, and what that could mean for our society and its values. C Minds encourages everyone to pursue their curiosity about reproductive technologies and continue seeking opportunities to learn from others. Through open conversation, we can better understand the possibilities of the future and make sure it reflects our shared values.