Bionetworking over DNA and biosocial interfaces: Connecting policy and design
© ESRC Genomics Network 2010
Published: 15 April 2010
Personal genetic information services (PGI) or direct-to-consumer genomics (DTC) presents a convergence of web 2.0 platforms with consumer-oriented genetics that brings together issues of policy and design. The rise of networking over DNA profile and biodata (bionetworking) challenges the common design and HCI notions of interaction, social networking and user needs. It confronts design thinking and HCI with various biopolitical and biosocial issues discussed in STS studies. These interfaces intensify the troubled relationship between what is social and biological, collective and individual, public and private, natural and political, material (embodied) and based on data or discourses. At the same time, this fast evolving convergence of biosciences with social networking transforms scientific practices in a way which demonstrates the importance of design in discussing issues of STS and policy. The notion of cosmopolitics as "collective experimentation" and "progressive composition of the common world" (Bruno Latour) offers a framework for understanding this connection between philosophy, policy and design. Bionetworking interfaces in this sense serve as probes for testing future collectives which transform the notions of human subjects, community and politics.