In this paper, I speculate on a future where our need to socialize physically is solely to exchange bacteria. With our biological data being in the hands of private companies and governments and our environments’ microbiomes becoming less diverse, our social systems, social identities and social interactions are redefined and reinvented to adapt to this new reality.
In this world, everyone wears a “social microbial prosthesis” that analyzes their microbial composition from their breath and reveals sensitive information on their chest. The microbial prosthesis would be able to give off information not only on the microbial composition but also on the mental and physical health of a person.
This second skin plays a role in controlling communication and interaction between people, where one is able to, by inspecting surrounding people’s prosthesis, take careful considerations of who to interact with and who to avoid.
Social Microbial Prosthesis is a critique of the race of private companies and governments to collect our biological data, the role of commercializing such data in shaping and changing our social identities and a response to the loss of microbial diversity in our environments due to our modern lifestyles and surroundings.