Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ultimate possibilities for life and technology

Thinking really long term, what would it be like if all matter, including life, could be designed and built to specification with nanotechnology and synthetic biology? Form factor could become ephemeral and purpose-driven. An intelligence could embody as a human, as a fleet of starships, as a crane, as a school of nanoparticles, or remain digital.

Some interesting issues could come up, say from having multiple persistent copies of one intelligence. What would the social, legal, economic etiquette and governing laws be? Or would these words even make sense anymore? The notion of the distinct individual may become obsolete.

Transhumanism will be an interesting and certainly divisive step, when groups or all humans have radically enhanced capabilities as compared with today. Posthumanism, the moment of speciation, may be quite a shock.

What about utility functions? In a digital format, traditional biological functions make a lot less sense. And what about emotion? Is there a relevant adaptation for the digital substrate or is emotion just another biology-based information system?

What is intelligence and is it reflected differently in a digital medium without the sensory input context of the physical world? Maybe intelligence is nothing more than manipulating patterns of information.

Finally, what are the ultimate possibilities for life and technology once joined? What if any would the activity be? Would the focus be on aesthetics? Analytics?

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