Jiabao Li


Human-centric thinking is causing us to damage our planet and other forms of life in ways that can’t be repaired. As the Anthropocene rampages, our challenge for the next decade will be to reimagine how we live through the lens of the environment; to shift our perspectives from human-centered, egocentric, profit-driven postindustrialist thinking to a multispecies, ecocentric worldview. This requires a fundamental perception change, rewiring our views of nature and hierarchies of intelligence.

There are numerous types of intelligence beyond human intelligence, such as distributed intelligence of octopuses; swarm intelligence of ants, bees and birds; collective intelligence of mycelium; and microbial intelligence. Co-create with more-than-humans helps us probe into different intelligences, shift perspectives and interrogate ourselves. To collaborate, we need to go beyond passive looking and deeply understand the nonhuman intelligence, behavior and agency. We need to respect, learn, connect, share the umwelt and embody each other. Finding connections reveals how we are part of many continuums of intelligence. 

Jiabao Li is an artist, technologist, assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin, the founding director of Ecocentric Future Lab and a Harvard graduate. She creates works addressing climate change, interspecies co-creation, humane technology and perceptions. In Li’s TED Talk, she uncovered how technology mediates the way we perceive reality. At Apple, she invented and explored new technologies for future products like the Apple Vision Pro. Li is the recipient of numerous awards, including Forbes China 30 Under 30 and the Outstanding Professor Award. Her work has been exhibited internationally, at MoMA, Venice Biennale of Architecture, Ars Electronica, Future of Today Biennial, Exploratorium, SIGGRAPH, Milan and Dubai Design Week, ISEA, Anchorage Museum and Museum of Design.

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