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A new step toward synthetic life
Posted: 29 June 2007 01:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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buba - 29 June 2007 04:38 PM

do you think these questions will be answered before it happens?

Well I used to be active as a biologist about when GM was becoming more of a thing, and certainly similar questions were asked and answered then. The problem really arises over who gets to give the answers. The scientists? Politicians? Big business?

So certainly the questions will be answered before synthetic life is made. It’s whether you’ll like the answers that’s at issue.

buba - 29 June 2007 04:41 PM

sort of the same questions evoked by the Singularity

If this is the LHC issue, I think the scientists were on slightly firmer ground. Nothing CERN is going to produce has not occurred in nature from the impact of cosmic rays on the Earth billions of times in the past. A particle a million times as energetic (>10²° eV) hits us about once in a hundred years.

Last I looked, we’re still here. * checks again * Whew!

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Posted: 29 June 2007 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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David B. - 29 June 2007 05:07 PM

So certainly the questions will be answered before synthetic life is made. It’s whether you’ll like the answers that’s at issue.

And somebody get me a cushion. This fence is f***ing uncomfortable!

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Posted: 29 June 2007 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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This whole “playing God” thing…
Yes, I do believe there are some things that we humans should draw the line at.

However, if God did not want us to use our minds to create these types of ideas, He wouldn’t have equipped us with the tools and capability to do so.

There’s my two cents smile

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Posted: 29 June 2007 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Surely we should draw the line somewhere around the uses ideas are put to, rather than the ideas themselves?

Or are somethings too dangerous to know?

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Posted: 29 June 2007 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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For example, if I knew how to produce a ‘metreon cascade’ that could destroy the Earth, should that knowledge die with me? Should I even be killed to prevent that knowledge spreading?

(Should I install myself as a tyrannical dictator and have beautiful celebrities from the world over mud-wrestle for my entertainment and to save their home country from devestation? No, that’s a stupid question, I meant to ask if they should wrestle naked or in kinky versions of their national dress?)

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Posted: 29 June 2007 02:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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David B. - 29 June 2007 05:56 PM

For example, if I knew how to produce a ‘metreon cascade’ that could destroy the Earth, should that knowledge die with me? Should I even be killed to prevent that knowledge spreading?

(Should I install myself as a tyrannical dictator and have beautiful celebrities from the world over mud-wrestle for my entertainment and to save their home country from devestation?)

Hmm… Good point, David.

And those mud-wrestling celebs do sound tempting, but keep that bit of earth-shattering information to yourself tongue wink

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Posted: 29 June 2007 09:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Well, rightly or wrongly, it is inevitable, the potential rewards to the people who come up with superior and useful new life forms will just do it, regulators be damned.

And David’s scenario of a microbe becoming tire-eating and unstoppable is really not too far-fetched at all.

And someone is going to come up with stuff that is analogous to steroids, exept it increases intellectual potential, that too is inevitable.

Imagine if Hitler or someone like him had access to this technology, the Master Race would surely be upon us, in the name of God and Mankind, of course.  (Remember, Hitler saw himself as avenging the crucifiction, he was fighting for God, at least in his own demonic viewpoint.)

Maybe not today or tomorrow, or in one-hundred years, but sooner or later, because the rewards are just too great and alluring, especially if you are a dictatorial madman with a large budget at your disposal, and insulated from interference by outsiders, such as a Hitlerian dictator would be.

For better or worse, it will happen.

Two wonderful stories on the subject (ficitonal, of course) are the original Star Trek TV episode involving Kahn, the character the second movie ‘The Wrath Of Kahn’ illustrated; the second story is an absolutely fascinating short story, ‘Flowers For Algernon’, made much later into the movie ‘Charlie’ about a dim-witted moronic factory janitor who gets his IQ elevated to stratospheric heights, he does lots of brilliant things, then loses his brilliance and reverts back to his former self.  It is a human-interest story, quite well done.

It would not surprise me at all to find that our own government is running experiments in this direction; why shouldn’t it?  After all, to repeat myself the third time, it is truly inevitable, so perhaps we should be first on the block with the new toy, you know?

Dan, obviously somehow on that down-hill curve without ever having enjoyed the brilliant part…...dang!

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Posted: 30 June 2007 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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In an attempt to further research into creating synthetic life I will be announcing to the world shortly my various successes.  For years I have been conducting experiments within the confines of my fridge.  While many have been failures and resulted in a soggy mess of rotton avocado and plums, I have succeeded and now have a reproduceable success using a mixture of chopped mushrooms, bread crumbs and diced onions.  Apparently this artificial life depends on cooler temperatures to incubate and will consequently thrive at room temperature after removal from the fridge.  My next step will an in depth physiological analysis of the lifeforms I have created.  muahahahahaha    

*rubbing hands together while hunched over with an evil grin and glazed eyes*

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Posted: 30 June 2007 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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David B. - 29 June 2007 05:56 PM

For example, if I knew how to produce a ‘metreon cascade’ that could destroy the Earth, should that knowledge die with me? Should I even be killed to prevent that knowledge spreading?

(Should I install myself as a tyrannical dictator and have beautiful celebrities from the world over mud-wrestle for my entertainment and to save their home country from devestation? No, that’s a stupid question, I meant to ask if they should wrestle naked or in kinky versions of their national dress?)

Oh national dress all the way. Lets you know who’s taking who down.

 


For my part, I think that since we have no way to accurately predict what a species we create will turn into (like in the example of a killswitch evolving away and being stuck with a dangerous oranism) we should leave it be. Evolution is based on survival. Theoretically, our man-made organisms could be exempt from the rules of evolution since they didn’t evolve, they were created. They don’t have a place in the evolutionary ladder and as such could come up with a type of creature that upsets the balance and screw the whole thing over (or we could create synthetic ewoks that do no harm at all, except make Return of the Jedi a little less bad-ass. See how unpredictable this is?). Evolution wouldn’t be able to adapt to the sudden change of, say, a type of 3-foot long species of ant that eats everything in sight with a voracious appetite that stops for nothing as its Queen is eternally hungry, or the creature from Alien.

We’d be well shafted. As would everything else as they wouldn’t have the time to adapt to such a monster. Now if it evolved naturally, species around it would be able to adapt themselves to survive with it. Without that time to get it all sorted out, they’d be sitting ducks for my ant army.

I mean, the hypothetical ants. Not mine.

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Posted: 30 June 2007 07:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Renquist - 30 June 2007 04:41 PM

Oh national dress all the way. Lets you know who’s taking who down.

Is that important? I was just going to pick a nation at random and toast it anyway, that way I can just enjoy the spectacle.

Er… hypothetically, I mean! * Hides quadrupole quantum erasure lens… *
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Posted: 30 June 2007 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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David B. - 30 June 2007 11:51 PM
Renquist - 30 June 2007 04:41 PM

Oh national dress all the way. Lets you know who’s taking who down.

Is that important? I was just going to pick a nation at random and toast it anyway, that way I can just enjoy the spectacle.

Er… hypothetically, I mean! * Hides quadrupole quantum erasure lens… *
red face


That actually might work pretty well too.

 

Hypothetically.

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