Saturday, July 18, 2020

The March of the Holobots

I am just back from a scientific meeting held in a small city in the mountains, you know, like things were.... when? Was it the Pleistocene, when people met in person to discuss things? Or was it before the PETM, during the Paleocene? Anyway, you learn things while having discussions at dinner with the other attendees. And I had a very interesting dinner with a group of roboticists. Many, many ideas. One I came up with is that of the "Holobot" -- the solid state equivalent of the holobiont! 

Bots are not based on cells, and they have no genetic code, either. So they are born holobionts.We are witnessing the birth of a new ecosystem that we might describe with the words of a recent article on Quanta Magazine (h/t Chuck Pezeshky): 

"Within this theory, individuals can be cells, tissues, organisms, colonies, companies, political institutions, online groups, artificial intelligence or cities — even ideas or theories, according to Krakauer. “What we’re trying to do is discover a whole zoo of life forms that extend far beyond what we have conventionally called living,”
So, the bots we are building can be seen as individuals and they do fulfill this extended definition of "life" -- a dynamic phenomenon that extends in time, not being just limited in space. It is just that they are not the same kind of life as ours. And so, onward, fellow holobots!

This subject is also being discussed on the Facebook group "The Proud Holobionts"


  1. Not enough comments yet, so I'll start. First it's good to see you begin a new blog. Wish it wasn't on Blogger, but Very Glad it's here.

  2. The real issue here is the ecosystem that these bots inhabit. Simply put, it would exist without the internet. So, what happens when the internet starts drying up (which I think it will). Welcome to Easter Island Monsieur le Bot.

    I don't disagree with you about such an idea. But the bots have landed in a precarious ecosystem indeed.

    Be well.




Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)