Envisioning the future of artificial biological reproduction in Mexico

Hendrik-Jan Grievink
December 1st 2018

The debate on the future of artificial biological reproduction is moving to Mexico. C Minds, an impact innovation agency that believes in ‘a 4th Industrial Revolution that brings benefits for all’ collaborated with Next Nature Network to bring the conversation to Latin America. This is what happened.

November 20th, 2018, Mexico City. 25 participants: women’s rights workers, community leaders and creatives gather at NUMA Startup Mansion for a workshop led by designer Hendrik-Jan Grievink. After a short introduction by Claudia Del Pozo, Head of Operations at C Minds, the workshop kicks off with a keynote presentation by Hendrik-Jan. It’s a more elaborate version of the presentation he has given a few days earlier, at Ciudad de las Ideas in Puebla, but it contains the same message: emerging technologies will rewrite the narrative of human reproduction — the question is how?

The workshop was designed specifically to try to answer this question collaboratively, and to make this process as inclusive as possible. The debate about these technologies should start now, while we can still shape their future.

The conversation touched upon many aspects, but seemed to gravitate towards questions on future family planning, artificial intelligence and governance.

Will new forms of parenthood such as collective parenthood emerge? What will it mean to be a child, when you are not ‘born’ anymore but rather ‘extracted’ from an artificial reproductive environment? And what about generational issues that arise when people live to be much older than we do today? What will it mean when you can see your great great grandchildren grow up and in turn, they can see their great great grandparents grow old? Will the concept of a family as we know it today still apply?

One group of participants focused on the role of data. What if new networked technologies could mitigate and facilitate relationships? Would algorithms select our partners in a better way than we do now? Will blockchain facilitate marriage or new types of relationship agreements, for that matter?  

Concerns were raised on the issue of control. For example, what new types of governance could emerge, and will these still be linked to states, or to other organizational bodies such as corporations? How can we  ensure these new types of governance are open, transparent and democratic?

With the Next Nature Network, we value an open and inclusive conversation. For that reason, it is incredibly important for us to find like-minded partners like C Minds to bring our philosophy to corners of the world where we are less active, like Mexico, a country with a unique history and culture, and a unique story to tell.

Are you interested in hosting a workshop? The Next Nature Academy offers the philosophy, tools and methods to help your audience dream, build and live in a future in which biology and technology are merging. Are you in?

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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