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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 04:05pm
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The only way, i see, that would work like many transhumanist people imagine is if these changes are appealing to many people. If for example a nanotech-implant is available that gives you the power to increase the speed of thinking for a limited time and if it is not only reasonably prices but also requires minimal brain surgery, i think many people would consider getting one.

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 05:55pm
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Broomstick wrote:
And why do you think that is inevitable?


I just described why it's inevitable; if you hadn't felt the need to devolve this to a meaningless spaghetti debate, you probably would have noticed.

Here, let me pare it down even further: if one cyborg can obsolete ten floors of normal people nattering away at 90-100 WPM in cubicles, exactly how many corporations do you think are going to skip the opportunity to shrink their workforce?



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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 06:18pm
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Ford Prefect wrote:
Here, let me pare it down even further: if one cyborg can obsolete ten floors of normal people nattering away at 90-100 WPM in cubicles, exactly how many corporations do you think are going to skip the opportunity to shrink their workforce?



Two points I would like to make.

1. You're assuming that such Cyborgs would be feasible in the first place when in fact there is no such guarantee.

2. You're assuming that you can't get a similar improvement in productivity by simply improving the tools normal people have available.

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 06:32pm
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VarrusTheEthical wrote:
1. You're assuming that such Cyborgs would be feasible in the first place when in fact there is no such guarantee.

2. You're assuming that you can't get a similar improvement in productivity by simply improving the tools normal people have available.


1. Who gives a shit? This is totally irrelevant to the core premise of my statement.

2. Uh, hello, if I can think up a powerpoint production in literally two seconds flat, I would obsolete the entire American military industrial complex. If cybernetics develop to the point where people really can just imagine what the want and piece it together by daydreaming, unless your tools are mind reading personal computers you can fit in your back pocket no tool will be able to compete. And if you did have mind reading personal computers that fit in your back pocket you'd be pretty transhuman anyway.



What is Project Zohar?

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 06:47pm
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Question: If we can make cyborgs as such that they would make obsolescent scads of human beings, would there be AI present that would make obsolescent these super efficient cyborgs? Why put potentially unhealthy prosthetic in a human when you can do what they do with a smaller block of code and a machine?



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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 07:08pm
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Ford Prefect wrote:
1. Who gives a shit? This is totally irrelevant to the core premise of my statement.

2. Uh, hello, if I can think up a powerpoint production in literally two seconds flat, I would obsolete the entire American military industrial complex. If cybernetics develop to the point where people really can just imagine what the want and piece it together by daydreaming, unless your tools are mind reading personal computers you can fit in your back pocket no tool will be able to compete. And if you did have mind reading personal computers that fit in your back pocket you'd be pretty transhuman anyway.


Which all sounds nice if you ignore the fact that your arbitrary increases in productivity are based completely on techno-babble.

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 07:16pm
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Uh, dude, so is your "magically increase productivity with better tools". At least Ford can give a simple reason why cyborging can be used to increase productivity. I doubt that you can give one that wouldn't be made better with cybernetics.



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I mean, how often am I to enter a game of riddles with the author, where they challenge me with some strange and confusing and distracting device, and I'm supposed to unravel it and go "I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE" and take great personal satisfaction and pride in our mutual cleverness?

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 07:41pm
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Bakustra wrote:
Uh, dude, so is your "magically increase productivity with better tools". At least Ford can give a simple reason why cyborging can be used to increase productivity. I doubt that you can give one that wouldn't be made better with cybernetics.


How about a guy with a combine harvester versus a guy with a sickle? The guy in the harvester is orders of magnitude more productive than the guy with the sickle without a single piece of cyberware.

There's no magic to tools increasing productivity, that's been well demonstrated in history and is not likely to change. The problem with cybernetics is that they are not likely to be cost effective. An augmentation that allows for the increases in productivity that Ford describes would require a lot of computing power, which means in the absence of magic, it will create heat. So unless you want wear a beer helmet filled with liquid nitrogen to prevent your brain from frying, you're likely better off keeping the techno-magic on the outside.

The fact is, like Tasoth just pointed out, an AI could likely do the cyborg's job better and more cost-effectively.

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 07:55pm
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VarrusTheEthical wrote:
An augmentation that allows for the increases in productivity that Ford describes would require a lot of computing power, which means in the absence of magic, it will create heat. So unless you want wear a beer helmet filled with liquid nitrogen to prevent your brain from frying, you're likely better off keeping the techno-magic on the outside.


So you access your computing power via wireless connection. The only structures you need in your body are those which allow you to seamlessly connect with the network. Honestly, these pieces of technical minutae are totally irrelevant. What matters is that as hypothetical people start turning themselves into superhuman supergeniuses, normal people are going to end up increasingly marginalised.



What is Project Zohar?

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 08:09pm
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VarrusTheEthical wrote:
Bakustra wrote:
Uh, dude, so is your "magically increase productivity with better tools". At least Ford can give a simple reason why cyborging can be used to increase productivity. I doubt that you can give one that wouldn't be made better with cybernetics.


How about a guy with a combine harvester versus a guy with a sickle? The guy in the harvester is orders of magnitude more productive than the guy with the sickle without a single piece of cyberware.


And if he could control the combine without using his hands, and with as much or more precision as he uses to control his hands, via cybernetics, he would be better than a guy just driving one. That's the point I was driving at- the abilities that Ford is talking about are qualitatively different.

Quote:
There's no magic to tools increasing productivity, that's been well demonstrated in history and is not likely to change. The problem with cybernetics is that they are not likely to be cost effective. An augmentation that allows for the increases in productivity that Ford describes would require a lot of computing power, which means in the absence of magic, it will create heat. So unless you want wear a beer helmet filled with liquid nitrogen to prevent your brain from frying, you're likely better off keeping the techno-magic on the outside.

The fact is, like Tasoth just pointed out, an AI could likely do the cyborg's job better and more cost-effectively.


So you use the cliche skull-port and limit the amount of hardware you put into the body, (this is still cybernetic, by the way) or you redistribute it so that the hotter stuff goes into the body cavities. You don't necessarily need a huge amount of machinery added to the skull to speed things up.



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I mean, how often am I to enter a game of riddles with the author, where they challenge me with some strange and confusing and distracting device, and I'm supposed to unravel it and go "I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE" and take great personal satisfaction and pride in our mutual cleverness?

- The Handle, from the TVTropes Forums

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 08:29pm
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Just simple shit like 'unlimited, real-time access to remote databases and processing grunt' and 'a tiny chip makes every maths operation you perform instant and correct' is enough to make regular people and indeed whole industries near-irrelevant. I'd pay $250 to seamlessly be able to measure, range and orient anything I can see through visual processing.



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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-23 08:39pm
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Ford Prefect wrote:
Here, let me pare it down even further: if one cyborg can obsolete ten floors of normal people nattering away at 90-100 WPM in cubicles, exactly how many corporations do you think are going to skip the opportunity to shrink their workforce?

If it's cheaper to hire and equip those "ten floors" of meat people than to successfully cyborg one human corporations are likely to stick with meat people, or only hire only pre-cyborged people. If the cost of cyborging is way high, very few individuals will be able to afford it.

Ford Prefect wrote:
2. Uh, hello, if I can think up a powerpoint production in literally two seconds flat, I would obsolete the entire American military industrial complex. If cybernetics develop to the point where people really can just imagine what the want and piece it together by daydreaming, unless your tools are mind reading personal computers you can fit in your back pocket no tool will be able to compete. And if you did have mind reading personal computers that fit in your back pocket you'd be pretty transhuman anyway.

Oddly enough we already have the tech to mount external sensors on a hat or other head covering that picks up the brainwaves of the person wearing it with sufficient discrimination that it can be used to control external devices. So yes, we do, in a sense, have "mind-reading" computers. Still early technology at this point, but it might prove cheaper/easier/fewer side effects than implanting hardware.

Beyond that, you are assuming your hypothetical cyborg has decent imagination, and the ability to organize information. Assuming you don't have an AI doing that (in which case, why bother with a cyborg?), you're relying on native human abilities which vary widely from person to person. There is a reason why two people with the same tools don't produce equal results. That won't change by making them cyborgs, because it's just a different set of tools, it doesn't change the "wet-ware".



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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 02:31am
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Number Theoretic wrote:
The only way, i see, that would work like many transhumanist people imagine is if these changes are appealing to many people. If for example a nanotech-implant is available that gives you the power to increase the speed of thinking for a limited time and if it is not only reasonably prices but also requires minimal brain surgery, i think many people would consider getting one.
Think smaller.

Imagine a genetic modification that removed the need for sleep. Wouldn't you want that? Wouldn't you want it for your children, if you knew it was safe? How much happier, or more productive, or both could you be if you never got sleepy?

And yet arguably, such people are weakly transhuman: just by having more hours in a day they get about 50% more done, they don't have the eternal human problems of stress and crankiness and ineffectiveness springing from lack of sleep, they don't have the incentive to get hooked on common drugs like caffeine... I mean, they're still recognizably human, but that's a first step down the road right there.

And yet that might well be a more solvable challenge than, say, threading nanotech through the brain without damaging it.

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 02:34am
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Broomstick wrote:
Ford Prefect wrote:
Here, let me pare it down even further: if one cyborg can obsolete ten floors of normal people nattering away at 90-100 WPM in cubicles, exactly how many corporations do you think are going to skip the opportunity to shrink their workforce?

If it's cheaper to hire and equip those "ten floors" of meat people than to successfully cyborg one human corporations are likely to stick with meat people, or only hire only pre-cyborged people. If the cost of cyborging is way high, very few individuals will be able to afford it.


To a cro-magnon in the Tokugawa era, hiring a ten storey pagoda of people using adding machines and hand cranked difference engines would also be way way cheaper than constructing a Cray supercomputer to draw hyperrealistic 4-dimensional graphics equations of surrealistic liquid hydrodynamic fluid texture filters to render in innate micropixelated resolutions accurate physical representations of spatter droplets coming out of eviscerated milkbags at one binillion gigapolygons per microseconds, indeed so accurate that through pure visual observation through your iBrain's nVidia visual cortexes with DirectCheck software processing, you can easily eyeball* calculate the weapons yields of these observed special effects up to the sub-microjoule of energies involved in vaporizing the aforementioned milkbag droplets.

*Okay, that's not that accurate because by then your eyeballs will be replaced by Leica-manufactured photonic receptacles using synthetic aperture compound arrays based on those of dragonfly eyes, yet emulated via multispectral infrascopic ultraviolet hyper-sensitive Hubble quantum-phased electronic arrays.

Your eye sockets will be rimmed with tiny frictionless ball bearings so that your synthetic eyes can move independently of each other.



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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 06:45am
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Shroom Man 777 wrote:
The cognitively enhanced networked cyborgs will have iBrains capable of megamultitasking so while their consciousness is playing WOW all day, their consciousness is simultaneously doing multi-macroterabyte computational processes required in actual work. Those with the latest models of iBrains can do this with multithreading technologies that use cerebral graphics cards to render the cyber-WOW in better-than-real graphics while also using processing power from the subconsciousness to maintain the stability of the core architecture of work-related programs.

To facilitate the optimization of this process, you need to have an updated Johnson & Johnson or Pfhizer artificial endocrine system to regulate the hormonal bioelectrical signals and monitor the metabolic systems of your body and ensure proper heat redistribution. A General Electric designed respiratory system will be capable of venting out heated air and cycling in cool air very efficiently.

Cooling won't be a problem for people who are playing WOW in their mind, while doing real work, underwater. Their dimpled shark-skin epidermis manufactured by Speedo is both extremely hydrodynamic and designed also to facilitate the radiation of body heat into the surrounding water to reduce the human being's infrared signatures while allowing him to glide through the water seamlessly. General Electric can provide rebreather systems for superior underwater respiration.

Of course, if you want to use your new Ford or GMC artificial musculature systems to run ten marathons in a day, your General Motors cardiovascular system will have to divert the bloodflow and coolant circulation and oil/lubricants from your iBrain and to your enhanced micro-servohydraulic and synthetic muscles. So if you want to bench press ten tons, your cerebral performance might decrease as energy is shunted towards your physical systems.

Or you could have an enhanced gastrointestinal system that has optimized nutrition uptake, and you could eat the latest posthuman-foods provided by Gerber or Nestle or whatever, which concentrates ten times more nutrients into a single protein pill than an entire thanksgiving turkey. With this kind of nutritional intake, you could use both your artificial muscles and your enhanced brains at full capacity simultaneously.



Naturally, every single cell in your body will be marked by the various company brand logos of the constituent corporations that have patented the designs of your anatomy. You'll have factory warranties so if in case of any defects, you can get replacement kidneys, unless the warranty runs out or unless you do something against the contract which voids that warranty.

If you simply want to turn off the information flow into your brain, the iBrain can easily decrease the multi-terabyte datastreaming of the modem built into the base of your spinal chord.

Or, if you just want a good's night sleep, you can turn HALF of your iBrain off while the other half stays conscious and continues on working, while you alternate the sleep cycles of your brains' hemispheres. Post-people will do that all the time so they can continue working, or playing WOW, in the workplace or at home without having to literally go to bed and shut off their stream of consciousness.

For any issues, you can download software and wetware and brainware patches for your cybernetic brains.

There is planned obsolescence though, in a couple of years the latest iBrain you bought will be laughably obsolete and people will mock you and think you're cheap and outdated, so you better buy the latest model whenever it comes out!


I'm a posthumanist, but I believe that Shroom's enlightening insanity is what we should take as advice. And avoid, preferably.



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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 06:46am
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Shroom Man 777 wrote:
The cognitively enhanced networked cyborgs will have iBrains capable of megamultitasking so while their consciousness is playing WOW all day, their consciousness is simultaneously doing multi-macroterabyte computational processes required in actual work. Those with the latest models of iBrains can do this with multithreading technologies that use cerebral graphics cards to render the cyber-WOW in better-than-real graphics while also using processing power from the subconsciousness to maintain the stability of the core architecture of work-related programs.

To facilitate the optimization of this process, you need to have an updated Johnson & Johnson or Pfhizer artificial endocrine system to regulate the hormonal bioelectrical signals and monitor the metabolic systems of your body and ensure proper heat redistribution. A General Electric designed respiratory system will be capable of venting out heated air and cycling in cool air very efficiently.

Cooling won't be a problem for people who are playing WOW in their mind, while doing real work, underwater. Their dimpled shark-skin epidermis manufactured by Speedo is both extremely hydrodynamic and designed also to facilitate the radiation of body heat into the surrounding water to reduce the human being's infrared signatures while allowing him to glide through the water seamlessly. General Electric can provide rebreather systems for superior underwater respiration.

Of course, if you want to use your new Ford or GMC artificial musculature systems to run ten marathons in a day, your General Motors cardiovascular system will have to divert the bloodflow and coolant circulation and oil/lubricants from your iBrain and to your enhanced micro-servohydraulic and synthetic muscles. So if you want to bench press ten tons, your cerebral performance might decrease as energy is shunted towards your physical systems.

Or you could have an enhanced gastrointestinal system that has optimized nutrition uptake, and you could eat the latest posthuman-foods provided by Gerber or Nestle or whatever, which concentrates ten times more nutrients into a single protein pill than an entire thanksgiving turkey. With this kind of nutritional intake, you could use both your artificial muscles and your enhanced brains at full capacity simultaneously.



Naturally, every single cell in your body will be marked by the various company brand logos of the constituent corporations that have patented the designs of your anatomy. You'll have factory warranties so if in case of any defects, you can get replacement kidneys, unless the warranty runs out or unless you do something against the contract which voids that warranty.

If you simply want to turn off the information flow into your brain, the iBrain can easily decrease the multi-terabyte datastreaming of the modem built into the base of your spinal chord.

Or, if you just want a good's night sleep, you can turn HALF of your iBrain off while the other half stays conscious and continues on working, while you alternate the sleep cycles of your brains' hemispheres. Post-people will do that all the time so they can continue working, or playing WOW, in the workplace or at home without having to literally go to bed and shut off their stream of consciousness.

For any issues, you can download software and wetware and brainware patches for your cybernetic brains.

There is planned obsolescence though, in a couple of years the latest iBrain you bought will be laughably obsolete and people will mock you and think you're cheap and outdated, so you better buy the latest model whenever it comes out!


I'm a posthumanist, but I believe that Shroom's enlightening insanity is what we should take as advice to avoid situations like this.



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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 06:51am
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Ah shit. Doublepost. :oops:



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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 03:50pm
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Simon_Jester wrote:
Imagine a genetic modification that removed the need for sleep. Wouldn't you want that? Wouldn't you want it for your children, if you knew it was safe? How much happier, or more productive, or both could you be if you never got sleepy?
[...]
And yet that might well be a more solvable challenge than, say, threading nanotech through the brain without damaging it.

While i agree that such a treatment would be enough to convince many people into getting one, i'm not sure if getting rid of sleep is actually easier than "overclocking" your brain with nanotech machinery.
If i recall correctly, the question why we need sleep is not yet answered, although there are some guesses revolving around the brain's way to form memories. If sleep has such a functionally important role, i don't think genetics alone will solve it and there is the possibility that removing the need for sleep requires altering the brain's structure in a very fundamental way which would make nanotech brain overclocking look like a toy problem.
Or you could sidestep this whole "sleep problem" by augementing your brain with machinery which puts only one hemisphere in sleep mode while the other hemisphere is still awake and then switches at some point of time.

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 05:33pm
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Thing is, the problems of how to augment our brain's circuits aren't any better solved than the problems of how to do without sleep.

With sleep we know the biochemical basis, or a good chunk of it. And we know how to tinker with genes, assuming we know what we need to change in the first place.

With "nanobrain augmentation" or whatever you want to call it, we don't know how to make any usable nanotech of the type needed, we don't know how to make it nontoxic and safe to stick inside your brain, we don't know how to stick the nanotech inside a living brain without killing it, we don't know how to program it if it has programmable capacity... you get the idea.

So I'm dubious of the idea that nanobrain augmentation is in any way easier- it just sounds easier because it's got a pile of unknown unknowns (with no calculable 'price tag' of difficulty) instead of a pile of known unknowns (with a price tag big enough to induce sticker shock).

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 06:20pm
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The other issue with using nanotech is that there are some not inconsiderable engineering issues you would have to resolve before you could expect a nanite to function in an environment like the human body, let alone start to rebuild it. Specifically you would have to find a way to have tiny machines with minimal heat tolerance operate in the 38 degree centigrade of the human body.

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 08:22pm
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VarrusTheEthical wrote:
The other issue with using nanotech is that there are some not inconsiderable engineering issues you would have to resolve before you could expect a nanite to function in an environment like the human body, let alone start to rebuild it. Specifically you would have to find a way to have tiny machines with minimal heat tolerance operate in the 38 degree centigrade of the human body.


They have those now. They're called enzymes.



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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 08:34pm
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I absoultely agree with the difficulties making nanotech brain upgrades infeasible with today's knowledge of science and technology. So, they won't be here tomorrow or 20 minutes into the future.
My point was rather that getting rid of the need for sleep - if we want it or not - can turn out to be much more difficult to do and require much more than just some genetic changes. At least as far as i know.

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 09:00pm
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ThomasP wrote:
VarrusTheEthical wrote:
The other issue with using nanotech is that there are some not inconsiderable engineering issues you would have to resolve before you could expect a nanite to function in an environment like the human body, let alone start to rebuild it. Specifically you would have to find a way to have tiny machines with minimal heat tolerance operate in the 38 degree centigrade of the human body.


They have those now. They're called enzymes.


Enzymes just catalyze chemical reactions, the nanites I was referring to are the cliched self-replicated robots that build things from the molecular level. An Enzymes are pretty sensitive to changes in the body's temperature and chemical makeup, anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 09:43pm
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VarrusTheEthical wrote:
ThomasP wrote:
VarrusTheEthical wrote:
The other issue with using nanotech is that there are some not inconsiderable engineering issues you would have to resolve before you could expect a nanite to function in an environment like the human body, let alone start to rebuild it. Specifically you would have to find a way to have tiny machines with minimal heat tolerance operate in the 38 degree centigrade of the human body.


They have those now. They're called enzymes.


Enzymes just catalyze chemical reactions, the nanites I was referring to are the cliched self-replicated robots that build things from the molecular level. An Enzymes are pretty sensitive to changes in the body's temperature and chemical makeup, anyway.


Saying that enzymes just catalyze chemical reactions is an interesting way of downplaying the real example of living cells, which fit the definition of self-replicating molecular machinery.



All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain...

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 Post subject: Re: Transhumanism in Sci-Fi PostPosted: 2011-10-24 09:55pm
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ThomasP wrote:

Saying that enzymes just catalyze chemical reactions is an interesting way of downplaying the real example of living cells, which fit the definition of self-replicating molecular machinery.



I'm not downplaying anything, enzymes are neither living nor self replicating. They're just proteins and the do one job, a very important job, but one job. And living cells are NOT examples of molecular machinery, living cells are orders of magnitude beyond the molecular scale. A better example of an organic self-replicating molecular machines are viruses, and their function is limited to hijacking cells to turn them into virus factories. Now there is potential uses for artificial viruses in gene therapy, but that is far removed from actual nanomachines building things from the molecular level up.

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