J. Nathan Matias     MIT Media Lab

I am a computational social scientist who works with millions of people in citizen behavioral science toward a fairer, safer, more understanding internet. I advance this work through CivilServant and as a postdoc at Princeton University departments of Psychology, Sociology, and Center for Information Technology Policy.

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Lucanus Sapiens

18 Nov 2012

J. Nathan Matias writer Molly Sauter writer Austin S. Lee designer

“One hundred years from now, the role of science and technology will be about becoming part of nature rather than trying to control it.”

— Joi Ito

Lucanus Sapiens is a multi-generational experiment to integrate human consciousness with biological organisms inspired by the materials of architectural design.

The explosion of super-intelligence arising from neurobiological, self-aware AI is hard to predict. Faced with climate change and nuclear war, early-stage singularity beings need the material affordances to flourish and survive. Lucanus Sapiens is inspired by insect physiology, which has a high survival probability. In absence of opposable thumbs, the mandibles of Lucanus Sapiens are designed for LEGO compatibility and metal cutting. For singularity beings to learn and develop the unimaginable capabilities we expect of them, their physical form must also be capable of exploring their passions through creative play and unspeakable terror.

Drawing from micro-macro scale build theory, (the use of large small things as opposed to small large things), Lucanus Sapiens also challenges dominant size-ist hegemonies of standard avatar structuration. The avatar-dweller, as part of their transition from a like-embodied reality to an interpolated pseudo-insect-mediated existence, must face challenges not only of scalar space, but also scalar time, e.g. “Time Cubes.” This forces to the surface the conflict between the “high” technology of the avatar network system and the “low” technology of the avatar’s internal architecture.

Note: Austin created the beautiful press-fit stag beetle. Molly and I provided didactics :-)


Hellstrom, Nils. “The Hellstrom Chronicle,” 1971.

Kurzweil, Ray. “The Singularity Is Near.” 2005

Parikka, Jussi. “Insect Media.” 2010

Ray, Otis. “Time Cubes.” Corner 3 of Meta-Cube Phase 3