In this age of technology where everything around us has slowly turned digital, nature is not far behind. Digital plants are the brand new species of plants, also called the Plantoid.
A Plantoid is basically a mechanical plant made of metal, nuts, and screws which roughly resembles a plant. It is being dubbed as a ‘life form’ because it fulfills all three requirements of living beings which are; it can exist autonomously, it is self-sufficient and it is capable of reproducing itself.
Based on the blockchain technology, it has a physical form which can be seen and a virtual form or the Plantoid’s ‘soul’ existing as a software on the blockchain. Therefore, the blockchain technology is not only supporting digital currencies like the Bitcoin but is also experimentally entering exploring other avenues.
The Plantoid is designed by an artist. The more attractive the design, the more its chances of collecting money from donors. The Plantoid convinces humans to donate money to its digital wallet via Bitcoins so that it can ‘reproduce’. Just like bees pollinate real flowers and plants, these donations from humans result in the Plantoid collecting enough money from donors in order to make another Plantoid.
The parent Plantoid which has collected the money actually commissions an artist to make the new Plantoid hence ‘reproducing’ itself. This whole process is automatic and is managed through smart contracts. The Plantoid’s creator Primavera de Filippi is the founder of Okhaos, the art collective that made the first Plantoid. She is also a faculty associate at Berkman-Klein Center at Harvard University.
She has said about the project:
“Plantoid is an attempt at using art to illustrate what I consider to be one of the most innovative and disruptive aspects of the blockchain — the ability to create autonomous entities which are completely independent and self-sufficient.”
The Plantoid is basically just a very small implementation of a larger, more complicated entity called ‘DAO’ which stands for ‘decentralized autonomous organization’. A decentralized autonomous organization also called a decentralized autonomous corporation (DAC), is an organization that is run through rules encoded as computer programs called smart contracts. A DAO’s financial transaction record and program rules are maintained on a blockchain. It is a complex concept, one that has the capability of changing our world as we know it through the use of the blockchain technology.
Although this might seem like a project that does not have much practical use or implementation, the idea behind it is amazing and can be used for doing so much more. If this idea is extended to our daily lives, the things we manage and conduct ourselves can become completely autonomous in their entirety.
Just like the Plantoid only interacts with humans when it needs to, any project such as a road repair project or a building construction project, if carried out on the same basic principle of that of the Plantoid, will become autonomous, only needing humans for physical labor and pay money for projects. As mentioned earlier, our world and how we conduct our everyday affairs will change completely.
The blockchain, therefore, has started to sprout more uses than we might have imagined possible a few years back. It is slowly becoming a sophisticated technology. It is no longer considered a tool for digital money alone. The blockchain technology can have many implementations and the most promising one at the moment does not seem to be Bitcoins. It is rather the automation of processes and services which holds a lot of potential for the self-sustaining, digital world of the future.