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The use of algorithms in the development of artificial hearts: the emergence of new bodies and the potential immunological imaginary

Grant number: 21/11150-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): February 14, 2022
Effective date (End): February 13, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Marko Synésio Alves Monteiro
Grantee:Marisol Marini
Supervisor: Jennifer Fishman
Host Institution: Instituto de Geociências (IG). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: McGill University, Canada  
Associated to the scholarship:18/22183-3 - Distributed bodies and intelligences - robotic systems in the production of artificial hearts and the intrinsic dilemmas, BP.PD


The purpose of the research is to investigate the development and use of artificial intelligence in order to improve Circulatory or Ventricular Assist Devices - known as Artificial Hearts. These are experimental and still unstable technologies, mechanisms designed as an alternative for organ transplantation. Mostly of the devices approved and implanted in human patients currently establish a continuous flow of blood throughout the body - which means that implanted patients no longer have pulsatility. The continuous (non-pulsatile) flow of blood results in a number of physiological limitations/transformations. For the improvement of such technologies, in an attempt to increase their responsiveness and suitability to patients' demands, algorithms are being employed and developed. The focus given to materiality allows to illuminate aspects neglected in research on artificial intelligence. More than describing the anatomy of an artificial intelligence system, therefore, it is a matter of speculating about the possibilities concerning the field of artificial organs. That is, pay attention to the production of new bodies, as well as new understandings of care and immunity strategies. We are facing a very peculiar application of algorithms in the medical field here. If, on the one hand, it is an object/subject that articulates and allows us to reflect on the 4 central topics mapped in the specialized literature, on the other hand, the approach we suggest here opens up other analytical possibilities, aimed at the cognitive material intertwining. The material-cognitive intertwining of these systems in the case of artificial hearts allows us to glimpse the emergence of potential new understandings of the body, care and immune strategies. (AU)

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