Jennifer Lake's Blog

April 7, 2011

Borgification

Bad news about Fukushima and the state of the meltdowns http://vimeo.com/22062314 “Clearly we’re witnessing one of the greatest disasters in modern time” –Areva executive VP, March 21, 2011
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Would we choose Borgification to survive?
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“A cyborg, short for “cybernetic organism”, is a being with both biological and artificial (e.g. electronic, mechanical or robotic) parts. The term was coined in 1960 when Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline used it in an article about the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space….  the term “Cybernetic organism” has been applied to networks, such as road systems, corporations and governments, which have been classed as such. The term can also apply to micro-organisms which are modified to perform at higher levels than their unmodified counterparts…
   The concept of a man-machine mixture was widespread in science fiction before World War II…
The term [cyborg] first appears in print..when The New York Times reported on the Psychophysiological Aspects of Space Flight Symposium where Clynes and Kline first presented their paper; ‘A cyborg is essentially a man-machine system in which the control mechanisms of the human portion are modified externally by drugs or regulatory devices so that the being can live in an environment different from the normal one.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybernetic_organism; See “Cyborgs and Space” http://faculty.uca.edu/rnovy/Clynes–Cyborgs%20and%20Space.htm
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Update May 2013: related to an environment “different from the normal one” in which flesh-eating bacteria proliferate, is the story of a graduate student who lost her hands, a leg and both feet from infection:

May 17, 2013
Woman who lost limbs to flesh-eating bacteria gets bionic hands… state-of-the art prosthetic hands called iLimbs…The iLimb Ultra Revelation hands can be programmed and configured via an iPhone or iPod app using Bluetooth…[She] told WXIA.com that the new hands “feel amazing.”…“I had the philosophy that in life we can’t really say what’s good and what’s bad… “What seems terrible now could seem great later.”
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“The evolution of technology development is often confused with science in the public mind.”Ralph E. Gomory http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~rgomory/
                        
Borrowing a Star Trek term for “techno-sapiens”, borgification looks to be an interim step for human enhancement (euphemism for eradication) with seriously high-dollar rewards and immediate military advantages. I don’t think it will last long, like 8-track tape or VHS –“new genes” are coming with compact DNA– but predictive programming has readied this road and engineers are having fun, fun, fun! Document excerpts below were generated out of a conference held by the National Science Foundation, December 3-4 of 2001:

The NBIC report [Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno] http://www.forbiddengate.com/NBIC_report.pdf : “The integration and synergy of the four technologies (nano-bio-info-cogno)originate from the nanoscale, where the building blocks of matter are established… Convergence of diverse technologies is based on material unity at the nanoscale and on technology integration from that scale… Revolutionary advances at the interfaces between previously separate fields of science and technology are ready to create key transforming tools for NBIC technologies… many of these visions could be addressed within 20 years’ time… Scientific leaders and policymakers across a range of fields prepared written statements for a December 2001 workshop, evaluating the potential impact of NBIC technologies on improving human capabilities at the microscopic, individual, group and societal levels.. as an outstanding opportunity at the interface and frontier of sciences and engineering… Highest priority was given to “The Human Cognome Project”, a multidisciplinary effort to understand the structure, functions, and potential enhancement of the human mind… The recommendatons of this report are far-reaching and fundamental, urging the transformation of science, engineering and technology at their very roots… This report sets goals for..transformation…

   “Manufacturing, biotechnology, information and medical service corporations will need to develop partnerships of unparalleled scope to exploit the tremendous opportunities from technological convergence… Government organizatins at all levels..must accelerate convergence… Unification of science based on unity in nature and its holistic investigation will lead to technological convergence… [see graph, p.21, under “Internal, permanent”, recommending (a)”New organs: new sensors and effectors, implantables (b) “New skills: converging technologies” and (c) “New genes: new genetics, cells”]
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“In general, the goals of the individual subcomponents of a Human Cognome project should be both ambitious and have practical payoff… Cognitive psychology and the social sciences in general have identified a myriad of human shortcomings… We humans are severely limited in working memory, but human beings are exceedingly good at scanning their immediate environment and forming patterns. Providing systematically organized, wall-size, visual language murals facilitates such an environment for rapid scanning… Visual language, thus, is an example of a cognitive prosthesis…” http://www.stanford.edu/~rhorn/a/topic/cognom/artclCncptlzHumnCognome.pdf
>>> I haven’t heard anybody yet refer to their Big TV screen as a “cognitive prosthesis” but given the sensitivity of neural signal transmission and the sophistication of interference frequencies to select and cancel competing transmissions, we ought to think of these devices as brain extensions. http://www.yorku.ca/eye/neuron2.htm
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“Intra-brain communication or IBCOM is a wireless signal transmission method that uses the brain itself as a conductive medium to transmit the data and commands between neural implants and data processing systems outside the brain… One potential [implant] solution may be to develop a nano-scale fully-implantable Neural Recording/Stimulation System (NRSS) that is small enough to be located in any place of the brain without any detrimental tissue interaction…  It would be ideal if a NRSS can be realized in an invisibly small size and be deployed in multiple (more than few hundreds of) neural probes scattered in the brain…” http://redishlab.neuroscience.umn.edu/papers/2009%20ibcom%20embc.pdf
Implantable chips may not be ‘ideal’, but playing with them seems like an important step in the search for and creation of alternate life, perhaps in creating the Smart Environment in which post-humans interact:

“On the surface, silicon seems like an ideal substitute for carbon in another living system. Theoretically, silicon has bonding chemistry identical to that of carbon, and like carbon, can combine with four other elements to construct an incredible range of different macromolecules. So why not silicon-based life?”  >>>This article goes on to briefly explain the “not” although science has no firm explanation of “life” as expanded capacities and criteria are changing concepts. Astrobiologist Lou Allamandola says, “..chances are there aren’t a whole lot of silicon species out there because there really isn’t that much silicon [compared to carbon] except on planets like this. If we’re going to find something that’s alive and silicon-based it’s probably going to be right here because we have an awful lot of silicon here, more than on average in the universe.” http://nai.nasa.gov/astrobio/feat_questions/silicon_life.cfm?video=lou  [bold emphasis added]

>>>okay, are we going to ‘discover’ a new silicon species? Will it look like “nanobes” or nanofibers? Nanofibers already have this experimental use: “Medical: Artificial organ components, Tissue engineering, Implant material, Drug delivery, Wound dressing, Medical textile materials” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanofiber ; and this battery “paper” application just sings with possibilities: “Silicon modified nanofiber paper as an anode material for a lithium secondary battery” http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20090068553
“Silicon carbide whisker (SiCW) and silicon carbide nanofiber (SiCNF) are a new type of ceramic fiber which can [be] prepared by the similar method as that of CNT [carbon nanotubes]. Compared with CNT, SiCW/SiCNF has more excellent mechanical, heat, electricity properties, and better physical-chemical stability.” http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jnm/2010/896389/
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“[M]ilitary competition will drive molecular technology forward…[and] the great advance will come when protein machines are able to make structures more complex than mere fibers. These programmable protein machines will resemble ribosomes programmed by RNA… Engineered proteins will split and join molecules as enzymes do… But whereas ribosomes can build only the loose folds of a protein, these protein machines will build small, solid objects of metal, ceramic, or diamond– invisibly small, but rugged.” pp12-14, Engines of Creation, 1986, K. Eric Drexler

Biocompatible

“Studies were conducted on mouse embryo cells and fetal lung cells, with essentially complete abatement of cytotoxicity when the mineral fibers/whiskers are treated with a silicone.” [1995] http://www.patents.com/us-5587241.html  Silicone, explained: “Silicone is often mistakenly referred to as “silicon.” Although silicones contain silicon atoms, they are not made up exclusively of silicon, and they have completely different physical characteristics from elemental silicon…”  http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Silicone

Radiation Resistance

“High-energy radiation can break chemical bonds and disrupt molecular machines. Living cells once again show that solutions exist: they operate for years by repairing and replacing radiation-damaged parts.” –K. Eric Drexler [p15]

2003 — “Weizmann Institute scientists have found what makes the bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans the most radiation-resistant organism in the world: the microbe’s DNA is packed tightly into a ring… The red bacterium can withstand 1.5 million rads –a thousand times more than any other life form on Earth… Its healthy appetite has made it a reliable worker at nuclear waste sites, where it eats up nuclear waste and transforms it into more disposable derivatives… Since DNA is the first part of a cell to be damaged by radiation and the most lethal damage is the breakage of both DNA strands, scientists have focused on DNA repair mechanisms to find the answer to the microbe’s resilience. Cells, including human cells, can mend only very few such breaks in their DNA. Microbes, for example, can repair only three to five. Yet D. radiodurans can fix more than 200. Thus scientists believed that the microbe must possess uniquely effective enzymes that repair DNA. However, a series of experiments showed that the microbe’s repair enzymes were very similar to those existing in ordinary bacteria…  Russian scientists [are] saying it originated on Mars, where radiation levels are higher… Deinococcus radiodurans was discovered decades ago in canned food that was sterilized using radiation. ” http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-01/wi-ror010203.php

2009 — “The modern founding concept of radiation biology that deals with X-rays.. is that ionizing radiation is dangerous because of its damaging effects on DNA. Mounting experimental evidence does not fit into this theoretical framework, instead supporting that radiation resistance is governed by protein damage… There are profound practical implications to this new view of radiation toxicity. Basically, if you want to survive radiation, protect your proteins! D. radiodurans has shown us how to protect proteins from radiation…”  http://www.usuhs.mil/pat/deinococcus/index_20.htm
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1998 –“..the bacterium benefits from more than just good, tight-knit organization… [it] seems to keep equally strict control over another physiological process as well. Immediately after replication stops [because of radiation injury], a cell excises any damage to the bases that make up its DNA and to the surrounding area. The process is known as degradation. ‘It’s like repairing a building… The first thing..is get rid of the rubble and take down everything that’s broken..’ D. radiodurans takes the process to another level. The higher the dose of radiation, the more degradation.. and it knows when to stop degrading so as not to clean itself up into oblivion. Battista thinks he has found two proteins, unique to D. radiodurans, that function as master control switches. One of them appears to stop and start replication; the other seems to turn degradation on and off. ‘If you inactivate either protein,’ he says, ‘the cell becomes sensitive to radiation.'” [“Conan the Bacterium”, 1998, internal link from the above ‘usuhs.mil’]
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In perfectly circular fashion, George Soros is a major investor in pharma companies pioneering implantable chips and degradation proteins: One of the pharms, Integra Lifesciences, makes bio-implantables.
Here’s more on Soros’s pharmaceutical investments http://citizen2009.wordpress.com/george-soros-biotech/ and an article on a biological degradation tool, “heat-shock protein” called ubiquitin, that Soros (among many others, oc) funds. http://citizen2009.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/molecule-of-the-month/
Ubiquitin — “This discovery won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 2004… The basic functions of ubiquitin and the components of the ubiquitination pathway were elucidated in the early 1980s in groundbreaking work performed at Fox Chase Cancer Center by Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko, and Irwin Rose for which the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded in 2004″ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubiquitin
Artificial Intelligence
“..mid 20th century, the question ‘can machines think?’ became intriguing and popular among scientists..” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendral
“Jerome B. Wiesner, the President’s [JFK] science adviser…had served as a board member of the Weizmann Institute and repeatedly ran into Ben-Gurion on visits to Israel. ‘Ben-Gurion would always ask me two questions,’ Wiesner recalled: ‘Can computers think? And should we build a nuclear weapon? I’d always say no.’ That answer, Wiesner thought, marked him..and limited his access.” [p.99, footnote, The Samson Option, author Seymour Hersh]
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“During the 1960s and 70s, Joshua Lederberg introduced computer science and artificial intelligence to the biomedical laboratory… [In 1965] researchers in chemistry and medicine at Stanford University..inaugerated DENDRAL… In 1973, Lederberg and his fellow investigators created SUMEX-AIM.., a nationwide time-share computer system.., via the ARPANET.” http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/lederberg/computers.html
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“[T]he essence of computation has nothing to do with electronics. A digital computer is a collection of switches able to turn one another on and off… [A] nanocomputer system will be able to direct the disassembly of an object, record its structure, and then direct the assembly of perfect copies… The first steps have already been taken, under the names of ‘genetic engineering’ and ‘biotechnology’…Barring worldwide destruction..the technology race will continue whether we wish it or not” –K. Eric Drexler, 1986
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and
..”the techniques of genetic manipulation have absolutely nothing to do with the genealogical selection that has been practiced by breeders since the..mid-nineteenth century”.. [p136, The World According to Monsanto,2008, Marie-Monique Robin]
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