PRINT March 1988



WHATEVER THE TERM “art” may mean at present, it had a different meaning for the ancients. Then, two art forms were held supreme: the art of living, ars vivendi, and the art of dying, ars moriendi. We have unlearned the second of these, but the first has recently reemerged in a surprising shape: it is now called “biotechnics.” The word seems a Greek-derived version of the Latin ars vivendi, but it is quite different in climate from the ancient sense of the term. In fact, it is a discipline out of which a whole world of artificial living beings—living artworks—will arise, and that adventurous world will create a radically different context for our grandchildren’s existence.

We often consider this development as if it were a new kind of industrial, or computer, revolution: instead of animating inorganic machines, we’ll animate organisms, and instead of creating artificial intelligences from

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