Mycelia networks, the internet beneath our feet, around us and inside us could hold the secret for designing self-healing networks.

  • In nature, connecting plants and the ecosystem
  • In humans as Immune support, stamina, longevity
  • In systems that are distributed and decentralised

Fungi are predominantly made up of “mycelium” — an underground decentralized intelligence network described by Paul Stamets as “earth’s natural internet.”

It’s as complicated as bitcoin is a living system constantly changing based on environmental stimuli, a moving target unlikely to ever be hit.

“I believe that mycelium is the neurological network of nature. Interlacing mosaics of mycelium infuse habitats with information-sharing membranes. These membranes are aware, react to change, and collectively have the long-term health of the host environment in mind. The mycelium stays in constant molecular communication with its environment, devising diverse enzymatic and chemical responses to complex challenges.” ― Paul Stamets, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Plants talk to each other using an internet of fungus. Hidden under your feet is an information superhighway that allows plants to communicate and help each other out. It’s made of fungi. Simply plugging in to mycelial networks makes plants more resistant to disease.

Nature’s Internet: The Vast, Intelligent Network Beneath Our Feet. By staying connected, plants can provide mutual support and help shape the ecosystems they inhabit. Much like our human networks.

Mycelia for Sustainability

There are wide applications for fungi …with the potential to save the world.

The edible part of a mushroom is its fruiting body: below ground, these organisms grow a network of fine, branching digestive filaments (mycelium), and when compacted, forms a tough and lightweight material.

It can be grown into any shape and scaled relatively easy, requiring only a food source, air and water. One of those food sources can be rubbish waste resources like food leftovers or farm waste, for which we have no use e.g., nut husks, potato peelings, coffee cups, discarded textiles and even industrial waste.

In fact, for almost any type of waste you can think of, there seems to be a species of fungi that enjoys breaking it down. There are even species of fungi that will soak up toxic heavy metals like lead and arsenic, and some that will grow on radioactive waste. Back in 2011, a species of fungus was found in the Amazon that feasts on the tough plastic polyurethane.

Fungi could be used to terraform on other planets like Mars, feeding on barren soil, helping establish soil conditions to grow food and environment inhabitable for humans.

Fungi inspired companies are innovating our future with fungus-based material being used to imitate styrofoam, leather, and even bacon.

Food Innovation

The rise of “plant-based meat substitutes” has seen investors flock to this sector and marketers finding a new industry to exploit.

Fungi to Fashion

Innovation in fabric leveraging fungi has seen the development of leather

Powering the future

Mycelia is a real life inspiration for StarTrek Discovery’s spore drive to traverse the mycelial network that form the foundation of space and connect every aspect of life across the multiverse.

Powering our Health

Mushrooms contribute to Immune support, stamina, and longevity.

Shiitake mushroom extracts are used as medicine, for boosting the immune system, lowering blood cholesterol levels, treating prostate cancer, and as an anti-aging agent.

The actions triggered by Reishi mushrooms in our bodies create impacts contributing to their promotion of longevity. Protect cellular and mitochondrial DNA from oxidant damage that causes aging and cancer. Reishi has been used in chemo and cancer, helping shrink tumour growth.

Lions mane mushrooms stimulate nerve growth factor in the brain.

Designing self-healing systems for our digital world

When you look into the day in life of fungi, how they create and maintain networks, it could give us more insight into life, systems and maintaining our own human or artificial networks.

The next wave of AI innovation for business automation is in self-healing platforms to reduce operational failures and resolve business problems to provide business value.

A network of self-healing systems has the potential to exponentially resolve problems on its own.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning have the power to help companies identify and fix issues and outages across systems without human intervention.

Self-healing programs can be applied to almost any part of your organisation from customer service, managing supply chains to back office and shared service functions. Fixing broken business processes such as customer service and help desk issues then having a go at resolving them on their own before hanging over to human for assisted help i.e., supervised machine learning.

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