Abstract: Machines are obsolete as a foremost paradigm. So are Turing Machines, and thus Artificial Intelligence, the old fashion way. Instead, what truly animates the world, is the Quantum, which is everywhere (literally, and figuratively!). Biology, as found on Earth, is a particular case of nanotechnology animated by the Quantum.
Our expanding science can now harness the latter in its full generality. I propose to call it ULTRABIOLOGY (to distinguish it from the wishy-washy senility of quaint thoughts emanating from millennia past).
Machines are an old idea. Egyptians already used steam to open temples’ doors. What is a machine? It’s a bit like an avalanche: something initially small, leading to great effects, without human intervention.
“Postbiological evolution” is a fashionable concept envisioned by some Artificial Intelligence guys (as the Note at the end reveals, this plutocracy associated crowd is suspect). According to them, evolution would have transitioned from a biological paradigm, driven by the propagation of genes, to a “nonbiological paradigm“, driven by some “alternative replicator”. Blah blah blah.
This picture, abundantly represented in science-fiction, is not correct, and reflects the ignorance of modern physics, and biology, chronic among those who have learned much “code”, and little else besides.
Code without science is intelligence without understanding, and way too much money.
Indeed, a problem is that the codists make a lot of money, presidents receive them, tail wagging, and those basically ignorant people end up steering civilization with asinine notions that undermine contemporary civilization. One of them being that code is everything.
Instead, the Quantum shows that code is nothing much.
I propose instead that synthetic biology (a concept evoked by Leduc in 1912!) is the correct QUANTUM concept that will occupy the future. Synthetic biology will go beyond (‘ultra’) existing biology, so I propose to call it “ultrabiology”. This is state of the art: we have Albert Einstein himself on the record, aghast from some of the notions therein deployed. Such as non-locality. Which turns out to be crucial to biology (and not to “code”, hahaha).
It is true that we can now erect great structures: bridges, airports, energy networks. Some look alive, like giant mechanical cranes. It is true that modern computers can give a life-like appearances to those machines. However, classical mechanics is not all and only what biology is about. Far from it.
BIOLOGY IS CREATIVELY ADAPTATIVE:
First biology is about the creative inheritance of the most complex geometric structures or their descendants. Genes are only a particular case. And a particularly rigid one at that.
Geometric structures inherited? What am I talking about? Look at prions, a form of replicating proteins. Look at the machinery inside bacteria, which reproduces by duplication without genes’ intervention.
Is biology creative? Think of what Lamarck proposed, epigenetics. Epigenetics is now finally demonstrated. Research journals are full of epigenetics kits. for sale.
Epigenetics says that a life experience, what the Greeks called the “bio” modifies not just the genes (say with a mutation), but the expression of these genes (say with an above-genetics process called “methylation”). Some of these epigenetical processes are inheritable: abusing a child will affect genetically the child’s descendants, several generations removed (at least this has been demonstrated in rats).
This has the interesting consequence that a nation of beaten dogs should become a race, or species, of beaten dogs. (Those who want to explain the history of nations that way are referred to Nietzsche, for further singing. Or may feel like enslaving the Slavs again. Although that does not work ever since Ivan became terrible.)
There is more to life’s creativity, than epigenetics. It goes to the heart of physics, a heart neither the ancients nor their machines guessed the nature of, when they thought about physics. The first who had an inkling of the new paradigm was probably Huyghens (who suggested that light was a wave).
Life’s spectacular adaptive creativity is why scientists have been afraid that Earth life would propagate to Mars (probes landing there are thoroughly sterilized). It’s also why many animals were able to adapt genetically to radiation around Chernobyl (which averages around 40 times normal).
ULTIMATELY, BIOLOGY IS CREATIVELY ADAPTATIVE BECAUSE OF THE QUANTUM:
Partisans of “postbiology” may suggest that epigenetics is mechanically reproducible. In full, that’s unlikely. Why? Because even the chlorophyll molecule, the centerfold of life on Earth, uses the Quantum. How? By using the most striking property of the Quantum.
The most striking property of the Quantum is NON LOCALITY. Quantum processes are all about exploring all available space at once: this is the most striking difference with classical mechanics, which is, in its modern version, about fields propagating at finite speed.
Being everywhere at once allows a Quantum driven process to find the lowest energy solution, and that’s exactly what makes the chlorophyll molecule so efficient. All of the life we have now depends upon the sun through chlorophyll (one way, or another; even around thermal vents).
Maxwell’s putative demon sorted stuff out, but the Quantum Demon thinks it out.
NOTHING INTELLIGENT ABOUT CLASSICAL COMPUTERS:
“Artificial Intelligence” is a funny concept. Indeed, as it is, it rests on classical computing machines. Those are not really different from sets of canals, with electrons flowing instead of water.
The modern expression of classical Artificial Intelligence is the Universal Turing Machine.
What’s that? Something that works like a machine distributing bottled drinks. There is nothing intelligent about it: a pre-programmed instruction follows another. If one thinks that’s intelligent, then ATMs are clever.
Is the universe like that?
Yes, in the sense of avalanches. In their simplicity, some AI experts believe that avalanches and canals were the paradigm for thinking. Why? Because they never had a course in Quantum Mechanics, and the physics they know is all about teeth, wheels, and, basically the venerable abacus.
An example of step by step instruction, like a Turing machine, is found in biology: genes and DNA. But, and that’s one of my main points, biology does not reduce to this digital system, contrarily to what the naïve, from Dawkins to AI experts, believe, in their Quantum ignorance.
DNA is digital, like a Turing machine. Instead of using just 0s and 1s, the DNA based systems uses 4, or 20 basic symbols to encode the DNA Turing machines. But that is just a detail.
The big difference between digital computing and Quantum computing is that the latter can be digital, but, in general, Quantum computing will be analogue and continuous: the Quantum computes with geometry itself. And geometry varies, of course, and varies continuously, according to the situation.
To get truly intelligent computers, one will need to forget about Turing machines, and go Quantum.
Details in biology are really small. Look at a wasp. It has more creative brain power than any existing man-made computers. Yet, its brain is tiny.
Life, biology, the sum over all histories of evolution, is all about the Quantum.
Biology is nanotechnology, endowed with full Quantum computing power.
At this point, synthetic biology is a existing, evolving science. Synthetic genes have been made functional. Even entire synthetic chromosomes have been constructed, and inserted in yeast. One hopes to harness the prodigious self-assembly properties of biological systems, to realize nanotech machines.
So why to call it ultrabiology? Obviously, because it’s both extreme and beyond biology.
Note: The preceding may sound very far removed from my usual attack against plutocrats and their vile little helpers. But it’s not. It’s smack in the middle. Reducing everything to code, that is, poetically, to all the fast buck artists and the attached NSA, is not just disinformation, but a power trip by an oligarchy of the pseudo intelligent.
A lot of the crowd that suggests “postbiology” (= biology is obsolete) serves the crowd that finances Obama and his sponsors. who, in turn, created the conditions to make those “social networking” and the like thrive.as an extension of the NSA. All this is characterized by pretty mediocre thinking. Thus by discrediting the latter, I attack the entire pseudo thinking cloaked in pseudo post-modern ways that characterize those rather base plotters.
Last and not least: by insisting that everything reduces to code, mediocre thinkers do not just advantage plutocracy and the attached NSA, but also starve real science. As observed in Obama’s latest budget proposal. So you can go to the multi billionaires Marissa Mayer’s mansion, a 38 year old NSA made creature, and pay 38,500 dollars to see Obama and Marissa, as was the case today, or bemoan all this deviation of civilization into devastation.
And please, somebody explain to me the difference between this and prostitution? Or is it just that Marissa Mayer’s or Obama’s rates are higher than even what Saudi princes would pay for?