Smart Bodies Smart Things

Mark C. Taylor


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Where does my body begin? Where does it end? What is inside my body? What is outside? What is primary? What is secondary? What is natural? What is artificial?

Science fiction has long imagined a future fusion of humanity with technology. Today, many of us—especially people with health issues such as autoimmune diseases—have functionally become hybrids connected to other machines and to other bodies. The combination of artificial intelligence with implants, transplants, prostheses, and genetic reprogramming is transforming medical research and treatment, and it is now also transforming what we thought was human nature.

Mark C. Taylor identifies this process as “intervolution” and explores how it is weaving together smart things and smart bodies to create new forms of life. Our wired bodies are no longer freestanding individuals, but interconnected nodes in worldwide networks. Recognizing this transformation overturns deeply entrenched distinctions and oppositions between minds and bodies. Intervolution reveals that we are already cyborgs, integral cogs in what will become a superorganism of bodies and things.


Mark C. Taylor:
Mark C. Taylor is professor of religion at Columbia University. He is an artist and also the author of more than thirty books, including, most recently, Last Works: Lessons in Leaving (2018), Abiding Grace: Time: Modernity, Death (2018), and Seeing Silence (2020).