Sunday, November 07, 2010

Human body 2.0

The human body is a complex intricate composite of millions of years of evolution, but even the most cursory review immediately suggests the potential benefits of redesign. Without considering the deep possibilities and eventual exigencies of augmentation, it might be possible to replicate the full existing functionality of a human in a much smaller energy-conscious form factor, perhaps 1/10 the current size.

Waste: materials generation and energy expenditure
The biggest theme is waste due to untargeted processes. The main forms of waste are excess materials generated and energy used to move them around, all of which require a big overall system. Unlike the latest drugs, most natural molecules are untargeted; they travel around the body until they bump into a place to bind or are expelled unused. It is not just waste running through the blood stream and circulatory system, for example, steroid hormones diffuse into all cells, only binding to a small number.

Optimizing systems without sacrificing functionality
It could be argued that there are benefits to redundancy and waste could be better in some systems than others, for example, the value of having an extensive immune system on patrol 24/7 even though unused cell turnover is high. However, optimization could likely improve all system parameters.

Redesign phases: improved targeting and receptor enhancement
A potential human body redesign would certainly occur in phases, revising a few lower-impact operations first, targeting certain small classes of proteins to existing receptors for example. A second phase could include the generation or specificity-enhancement of receptors for a finer resolution of targeting.

Eventually, with robust targeting, it might be possible for the body to pump around 90% less ‘stuff.’
This would imply tremendous energy savings, and in turn decreased requirements for fluid, nourishment, vitamin, and mineral intake, and could even slow aging as processes do not wear out as fast.

Form factor hybrids
A smaller form factor may be undesirable for many reasons, but presumably it would be possible for streamlined wetware systems to merge into different kinds of hybrid form factors with ultralight ultrastrong hardware.

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