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SCIENCE TO THE LIMIT OF POSSIBLE


transhumanismo@sapo.pt

Transhumanism = Scientific current trying to improve Man's Intelligence, and Happiness.
Domingo, 28 de Dezembro de 2014
EVOLVING TO HUMANITY+

Katerina Deloglou Barbosa, Consultant in Communication, vitaminakb@hotmail.com

 

I would like to leave here a reference to my  beloved master Gilles Lipovetsky, as a reflection for the meeting that is to be organized in Portugal, where for the first time people who are interested in techno sapiens  will be congregated. I hope that we will have ideas and intervention in society to follow the transformation of the name of the movement; the symbol (+) demands a superior qualitative contribution.

 

I definitely want to believe that the bridge between homo sapiens and techno sapiens will be validated by the symbol of the movement.

“… According to the `transhumanist' movement, the union of genetics, robotics and the nano technologies will allow to transform the definition itself of the human being, what will constitute a mutation without precedents and will see man enriched in its physiological and intellectual capacities: the cyborg will be born and the techno sapiens will have replaced the homo sapiens. At the same time that exemplifies the power of reason, the spiral of the high technology does not stop segregating an enormous amount of myths and utopias….”

 

Gilles Lipovetsky, Jean Serroy; “The Culture World - Reply to a Desoriented Society”; Editions 70, Lda; January 2010.

 



Published by Transhumanismo às 17:58
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SYNTHETIC GENOME

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

According to Discovery (1), “Scientists discovered a more efficient way to build a Synthetic Genome that could one day push the creation of synthetic life”.

 

As already said in our previous chronicle, the main difference between synthetic Life and “Artificial Life” is: synthetic life consists of synthesizing new forms of life from elements of the natural life, whereas Artificial Life intends to build simulations of Life from zero. “The method of development of the Synthetic Genome is already being used to help to develop biofuels of the next generation and biochemical materials in the laboratories of the controversial Scientist Craig Venter. Venter “greeted” forms of artificial life as a potential remedy for Illness and Global warming, but the perspective is highly controversial and raises a warm debate on the potential ramifications and the ethics of the engineering of artificial life”.

 

“In an article published in Science (2), the Venter' s team described the synthesis of the entire genome of the bacterium “Mycoplasma genitalium” from laboratory chemicals. … Venter said it was the largest artificial sequence ever made, 20 times longer than any previous attempt.

 

The team at the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in Maryland is working on the final step to ‘create life’ transplanting the synthetic DNA into a cell in the hope that it will ‘boot up’ the cell and take control of its growth and reproduction.

 

The Scientists, lead by the Nobel Hamilton Smith, began by building long strands of DNA, each a copy of about a quarter of the whole M genitalium genome. These were inserted into levedura cells, which coseram stitched together the strands to make clones of the whole genome, named M genitalium JCVI-1.0.

 

The next step is to insert the synthetic chromosome into a cell, so that it can reproduce and become a new life form. Venter's team has already demonstrated that transplanting the genome of one type of bacterium into the cell of another can change the cell's species, a process his team will now use with the new synthetic chromosome.“

 

Therefore, it should be possible to create new (synthetic) species. 

 

The Nobel Hamilton Smith said that producing the artificial genome was like finishing the operating system of a computer. ‘By itself, it doesn't do anything, but when you install it on a computer, then you have a working computer system. It's the same with the genome: the genome is the operating system for a cell and the cytoplasm is the hardware that's required to run that genome’.

 

The work comes out of a larger JCVI effort to discover the minimum number of genes needed for a life form. In its natural state, M genitalium has 485 genes, 100 of which have been found to be non-essential. Synthetic biologists want to use this information to create the most efficient form of life possible, with the fewest genes needed to allow the organism to grow, replicate and proliferate.

 

Venter said there were two main reasons for the work. ‘One is trying to understand the minimal operating system of a cell and to understand basic biology. If these experiments are successful we could enter a new design phase of biology by actually constructing chromosomes of a specific nature for a more specific purpose.’"

 

It would be born thus a new derivation of Life, resultant of the manipulation by human being with sight to serve human designs. Designer Organisms have an enormous potential to create alternative sources of energy or to attack the climatic changes through the absorption of carbon dioxide.

 

Totality of my Chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal

 

(1) Venter Lab Makes Progress on Artificial Life, AFP; Dec. 5, 2008

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/12/05/artificial-life.html

(2) “Biologist claims significant step towards artificial life”; Alok Jha, science correspondent, The Guardian, Friday 25 January 2008

(3) Set of genes inserted a Chromosome (Wikipedia), which has a kind of program of the body of living being

(4) Venter Lab Makes Progress on Artificial Life, AFP; Dec. 5, 2008

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/12/05/artificial-life.html

(5) Wikipedia: Combustible or energy producing molecules which are appearing in the Market due to the prices of oil and to the necessity of Energetic security.


I'm feeling: sprout from chemistry

Published by Transhumanismo às 17:52
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TRANSHUMANISM AND INTERCULTURALITY

António Carvalho, PhD (University of Exeter)

 

Science and the technology are absolutely crucial for the contemporary societies. The model of linear evolution, associated to the galloping proliferation of new instruments, techniques and easiness in the mediation between human beings and nature, must, however, be questioned. Instead of thinking in terms of continuity, linearity and teleological consumption, we can incorporate some ideas extracted from the debates within philosophy, history and sociology of Science and Technology that contribute for the quarrel with terms such as paradigm, rupture, localization, situation or ethnicity.
A certain tension is associated with questions such as: What is knowledge? Who can produce it? Where shall it be developed? Who shall take usufruct of it? It is also notorious the constraint provoked by the dissemination of other knowledge and cultures with distinct epistemological conceptions.
Transhumanism, assuming itself as a movement aiming at reaching the post-human-being state, must take into account the existence of other approaches, that can be designated as non-technological, to the human improvement. The integration of these other conceptions can confer an intercultural and universal load to the improvement of the human being, rejecting the conception of Transhumanism as a by-product of the advances reached in the “orthodox” Science and Technology of the “developed” countries.
Being impossible to catalogue all the non-western forms of approach to Transhumanism (and some of them are even western, however in a state of “anachronism” or non-conventional), we can allude to the practices connected to Yoga, meditation, the control of breath, the alteration of the corporal functions through all a series of exercises that transform the being of the subject. These practices, united under the aegis of what Foucault called “technologies of the self”, depend on an investment of the human will in which the individual takes for itself the full responsibility of its performance: they are, in this sense, an intensification of the agency of those who practice them.
Although they are quite distinct (a naive vision on these “other” practices could lead to their simplification and crystallization), these procedures depend on the interaction between human will and (psychophysical) condition, with the aim to “improve” the last one. They are and integrant part of an approach to knowledge and spiritualitythat values the embodied and experiential dimensions through a project of access to the “truth”.
These visions of improvement, carried out by individuals throughout specific periods of their lives, and which result in an amelioration of the mental aptitudes, better physical performance or development of paranormal capacities, shall be placed side by side with narratives extracted from the genetic engineering, the emergent technologies and hypotheses extracted from imagined future applications. We can, through the intercultural relation with other approaches to transhumanism, identify some interesting indications to rethink one of the great ethical concerns associated to the technological transformation of the human condition: the loss of the agency. In fact, the aprioristic redesign of the human biology, the introduction of technological devices in the body or the chemical stimulation of the neurophysiologic processes for the creation of states of higher pleasure, can imply the dissolution of a will and a consciousness associated to the image of the rational animal. These concerns still promote bigger distrusts when dystopias, present in the popular imaginary, are glimpsed, in which technological innovations are recruited by authoritarian regimes to format the citizens, facilitating and speeding the investments of power. The promotion of interculturality must ally practices of intensification of the “will” to the appropriation of the possibilities offered by the non-human artefacts and devices, opening, on the one hand, new possibilities for the human agency but, on the other hand, maintaining the anthropologic referent , avoiding the risk of what an author designated as “the organic totality”.

The hypotheses of improvement of the human being, in a global society, doubtlessly reflect the perplexities generated by the multiplication of perspectives on what is Man and what must be the future of his condition. The hypotheses supplied by the scientific and technological applications must, in a multicultural paradigm, be allied to a panoply of procedures that are recruited by individuals to modify their condition as spiritual beings. However, we cannot ignore that new associations between humans and non humans will give rise to new synergies and, eventually, to the reconfiguration of what it is understood as Ethics.



Published by Transhumanismo às 17:46
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TO PLAN MORE...THE HUMAN EVOLUTION

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

Minsky, Materialist and Visionary (1) said:
“We are already evolving more quickly, even if not in the familiar darwinian way, which is slow. We can also design systems based on new types of non natural selection that will be able to explore explicit plans and objectives, and what we inherited; it took 1 century to the evolutionists to train themselves to prevent such ideas but now we can have to change these rules”.
The will to take the helm of the Evolution is not against Catholicism because Teillard de Chardin, a Priest, invoked it positively in its “The Human Phenomenon”. But it is necessary that we remain cautious about its limits…
Minsky says:
“This article bears on our rights to have children, to change our genes, and to die if we so wish. No popular ethical system yet, be it humanist or religion-based, has shown itself able to face the challenges that already confront us:
- How many people should occupy Earth?
- What sorts of people should they be?
- How should we share the available space?”.
It is not truth: the Catholicism, at least, pronounced itself frequently on these subjects; although not always in concrete terms … as, by the way, it would not compete to it to do …
Minsky goes on:
“Clearly, we must change our ideas about making additional children. Individuals now are conceived by chance. Someday, though, they could be 'composed' according to considered desires and designs.
Furthermore, when we build new brains, these need not start out the way ours do, with so little knowledge about the world. What sorts of things should our mind-children know? How many of them should we produce - and who should decide their attributes?”
We reported in a previous chronicle a declaration of the Vatican of 2002 (2) in which it is said that “to change the genetic identity of Man while human person, through the production of an infra-human being, would be radically immoral” implying, as it would, that "Man would have full right to make use of its own biological nature". We consider that it is only valid to eliminate of the body of the children everything that could come to cause suffering or impotence in relation to the Cosmos; the Transhumanists argue that the parents have a moral responsibility called “beneficence of procreation” if and when it proves to be reasonably effective and secure to make their children the most healthful possible. They add that this responsibility is a moral judgment that should preferably be left to the individual conscience instead of being put in law, in all the cases except in the extreme ones. In this context, the emphasis in the freedom of choice is called “procreative freedom” (2).
On the contrary, for the parents to compose their children according to their desires (to design blond children, for instance), since they are not their property, would make them “infra-parents” thus infra-human beings … Eugenics again …
Minsky goes on:
“Moreover, when we build new brains, these do not need to start in the same way that ours started, with so little knowledge on the World. What kind of things would have the minds of our children to know? How many children should we have?”
Here Minsky considers artificial selection as convenient for the adaptation to Cosmos, and we fully agree with him.
Minsky goes on:
“Traditional systems of ethical thought are focused mainly on individuals, as though they were the only things of value. Obviously, we must also consider the rights and the roles of larger scale beings - such as the super-persons we call cultures, and the great, growing systems called sciences, that help us to understand other things.
How many such entities do we want? Which are the kinds that we most need? We ought to be wary of ones that get locked into forms that resist all further growth.
Whatsoever that the Future can come to bring us, we are already changing the rules that made us. Although the majority of us will fear the change, others will certainly want to escape to our present limitations.”
In 15 days we will continue to analyze the fracturing proposals of this great visionary…
 
Totality of my chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal.
 
Citations
(1) http://web.media.mit.edu/~minsky/papers/sciam.inherit.html

(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism#cite_note-Cole-Turner_1993-89


I'm feeling: More secure
Music: Bach

Published by Transhumanismo às 17:45
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CREATION AND...TRANSHUMANISM

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

Technology will allow a) mitigating some of the worse evils affecting Humanity, and b) to ourselves to become more powerful:
- Lack of Democracy (that causes Illness, Hunger and War), Pollution and routine Work of Mass Production (around 2020)
- Impossible or dangerous Works (around 2050)
- Unpleasant Works (much later than 2100).
But the obligation to work is not the only evil that makes Man suffer; in the next chronicles we will see how we will be able to try to diminish the other forms of suffering; to approach them, we need to revisit the process of the Creation.
From God, pure spirit, in-temporally sprouts a “blow”, everything that exists, according to an important Philosopher and Physicist (1). But what blow is that one? “Blow” remembers spirit because, in the Bible, “blow” was used to refer to an “immaterial principle of life”.
In temporal terms (since Time was born in the Big-bang), from God, infinite being, will have sprouted a kind of initial fire ball with energy also tending for infinite … Energy realized in force. And the Cosmos is a set of forces (2), according to many present day physicists, which, to the similarity of God even if only in the physical plan, is one, indivisible, omnipotent, and omnipresent … and that “coagulates”, in determined circumstances (namely in the presence of an observer), in the Matter… According to Teillard de Chardin (3), in the Universe, since its beginning, have actuated, alternatively, forces of re-ordering of the beings with other beings and of centring of the beings in themselves (for instance, in Atomic Physics, those connecting the electrons of different atoms or those making the electrons to turn around the nuclei); a re-ordering being followed by a centring and this being followed by a new reordering to a superior level of aggregation of the beings concerned; the vector of the Evolution being the increasing complexity of the beings with a corresponding increase of their respective conscience. The complexification of the human society constituting gradually a kind of supra-humanity gradually adding the consciences and self-consciousnesses that are coming to existence (and not only the consciences: it is not a synthesis of the individual contributions, but a personalized and additive “corpus” of all the individual persons that have existed…).
The Christ Phenomenon
Historically, Jesus Christ was conscientious to have brought the Kingdom of God defined in the Old Testament. And His disciples, after a short period of loss of heart, confessed to have seen Him resurrected (that is, with an alive body, after dead) and continued His preaching of the Kingdom of God, that would be accessible to Man through Christ, who was the Way, the Truth and the Life. Christ “divided” the Human Time in 2: before and later; Christ is therefore a unique man in His quality…
Christ stirred up Man to give more importance to a life that is not seen, nor smelled, nor herd, nor touched and still less tasted, than to the material life. That is the Spiritual Life, which is perpetual, which means without beginning or end (therefore not to confuse with a life that would only start after Death…).
Transhumanism
The use of Technology for the living beings to suffer less and be more powerful only can be inserted in this context and it cannot abstract from it. By the way, the Vatican emitted a declaration in which it says that the creation of a superman, or superior being, by human hands, is "unthinkable", because a true improvement can only happen through the religious experience and "carrying through more fully the image of God". For who is not convinced, we will remember that Religion is a valuable source of knowledge, because of the principle of Kant (we cannot deceive much people during much time)…
We will, in the next chronicle, write a little more about the relation between God and the Nature.
 
Totality of my chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal
 
Citations
(1) Hans-Peter Dürr, PhD in Philosophy and former director of the Max Planck Institute of Physics and Astrophysics of Munich
(2) “Enigma of God Matter and Man”; Hans-Peter Dürr et altri; Daily Ed. of Notice
(3) “the Human Phenomenon”; Teillard de Chardin; Ed. Paulus

I'm feeling: Happy

Published by Transhumanismo às 17:39
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THE FUTURABLES ACORDING TO JACQUES ATTALI

Beja Santos, Personalidade Histórica Portuguesa de Direitos do Consmidor

 

Hiper-empire, hiper-democracy
Ther’s no exageration in saying that Jacques Attali is an intellectual who in no circumstance can be ignored. State Council member of Mitterrand during 10 years, founder of Eureka (European program dedicated to the new technologies, responsible for the creation, among others, of the MP3), of PlaNet France (microcredit association intending to fight the extreme poverty), nominated by Sarkozy to preside a commission that studied the obstacles to the growth of France, is detainer of a very very vaste workmanship, going from essay to romance.
“Brief History of the Future, the incredible history of the next fifty years”, is an essay of obligatory reading (Jacques Attali, Publications Dom Quixote, Portugal, 2007). What is its starting point for this futurable adventure? The forces of the market assumed the leadership of the planet, the money seems to sweep everything in front of it, it can even threaten the States, to become the only law of the world. If thus happens, the market will give origin to the hiper-empire, creator of extreme richness and misery, the nature will be mortgaged, everything will be privatized. In the hiper-empire one will be fallen in a succession of regressive barbarities, in a conflict between States. Attali calls this war hiper-conflit. If the globalization could be contained and reoriented, if the market could be circumscribed without being abolished, then will appear a new horizon of freedom, dignity and overcoming and respect for the other: the hiper-democracy, that will lead to the formation of a democratic world-wide government, capable to receive and to put in movement the fantastic potentialities of the future technologies. Attali writes: “I believe that the hiper-democracy can win, superior form of organization of the humanity, last expression of the engine of history: the freedom”.

I'm feeling: Excited
Music: Alleluiah by Haendel

Published by Transhumanismo às 17:37
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Segunda-feira, 21 de Julho de 2014
IMMORTALS IN THE GALAXIES
Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.
 
According to (1), in 100 thousand to Millions of Years, the energy that the Humanity will need could be gotten from the Milky Way. We will enter then in a Civilization of type 3, i. e. which catches its energy, not only from its planet, but also from its star (the Sun, in our case) and its galaxy.

We already explained it in our chronicle “Planet…” (2).

 

The main problem to get to this civilization will be the difficulty to make interstellar travels; these will only become possible if the ships will be able to reach a considerable fraction of the speed of the light.

 

The exploration of the distant stellar systems could, then, be made by self replicant robotic plants. These plants would land in moons of the planets of these stellar systems to observe the planets; giving “children” plants which should go on travelling through Space… like that it should be possible to explore millions of systems.

 

The End of the World… will be when?

According to the paleontological forecast of Teillard de Chardin (3), the End of the World could be in Millions of years; according to the forecasts of Astronomy (4), in approximately 7 billions of years.

About the end of the life on Earth due to the extinction of the Sun, someone asked me:

 

- The Earth (perhaps the whole Universe) had always generated a way (during billions...of centuries) how make human life possible. Couldn't the sun be replaced in another billion...

- As I explained to you, I don’t agree with your idea that the Earth makes something by itself: their must be a being making the rules that govern that Earth. We cannot wait for God to change those same rules in our benefit (see the Catastrophes and specifically the Lisbon Earthquake killing millions of people praying in churches); instead we must use all our scientific capacities given to us, to make better than now and escape the predicted sun’s extinction (only miracles change the Nature’s way and only God decides about them).

 

- What  about the extinction of the sun which is not a man made violation? Whom will God punish when he will have extinguished his own creatures?

-   You touch maybe the more important argument for Transhumanism: it would have no sense that God creates us for extinction! Then let’s do the best to escape it with the resources He gave to us! And those resources, as far as I know, are the Transhumanist Technologies.

 

- The Transhumanism will not have any risks?

- Many, but of the same kind of the genetically modified organisms. They are not comparable with the ones of not developing itself

 

- How do you know? My strong impression is that the euphoria concerning the new technological challenges makes the transhumanists blind for the necessary social matters and implications that are behind

- I am not of all euphoric, nor in this nor in other matters. Instead, I am realistic in relation to the alternative scene: the course of the Nature as if presents today will lead to more suffering because of the Illness, the Catastrophes and, worse than everything, the eventuality of Extinction; as we got enough knowledge in the XX century (that require social explanation, which, in my field, I am doing), and, in condition that it is preceded of one democratic debate and of the consultation of ethics commissions, we would have to develop our capacities and power on the Nature and to use them to oppose these evils

 

- Is the critics/control possible?

- Possible and indispensable, as I explained previously

 

- Although Michio Kaku is very optimistic in relation to the accomplishment of the Transhumanism in practical in its different aspects, he admits that the forecast of future events will never be probably possible because of the fact that the principle of causality – the order cause-effect – not being susceptible to be reverted

- For me it is clear, in contrast to important transhumanists, that to try to substitute God is impossible. Whatever the vision that one has of the Reality (God or the Universe as the origin of everything) it is evident that Man has limitations of knowledge on what involves it and its proper nature; therefore, it should never venture to change what it does not know… This coincides with the criticism made by some Christian movements and others.

 

To finish, in the End of Times, Christ promised that all enemies, the last one being Death, will be defeated. When will that be? The Father, only, knows. Till then, let's go on travelling in the Galaxies...

Citations

(1) Michio Kaku, known Scientist who met many of his top colleagues of the World, among them 15 Nobel Prizes

(2) Humanity+ Portugal; http://transhumanismo.blogs.sapo.pt

(3) “Human Phenomenon”; Teillard de Chardin; Ed. Paulus

(4) “Super Interesting” magazine; August 2008



Published by Transhumanismo às 17:38
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Terça-feira, 21 de Dezembro de 2010
WHAT WILL BE POSSIBLE?

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

Miriam Leis wrote some of the following controversial questions; I give my answer:

 

Is it necessarily bad to alter (human) nature?

 

- Not at all, if that alteration is, with certainty, a benign one; about what will be such, only those affected by it, whatever the way, can decide; no way to be decided by an "elite", as it happened before in Human History. IT MUST BE AN INDIVIDUAL DECISION, AS IN ALL HEALTH AND SO DOMAINS.

 
Do humans have a right not to remain purely human?

 

- Acording to the human sources of knowledge, that is a TOTALLY ABSURD QUESTION (a human to cease of being human? WHO could have the power to do it?)


Can there be something like “trans/post-human rights”?

 

- Again, an absurd question; for the same reasons.


Can there be risks that are not related to physical harm and social justice?

 

- The risks can appear if all the dimensions of Humankind were not taken into acount (see Edgar Morin)


Should technological progress be slowed down? (as demanded by some)?

 

- The first progress would be to spread the good advances by all Humankind

  
The religious view of “human transcendence” is challenged by scientific-technological possibilities of “human enhancement”

 

- No way; TRANS-cendence by definition is situated in another level than scientific-technological possibilities... TRANSHUMANISM SHOULD NOT BE A TENTATIVE TO MAKE ABSURD ENHANCEMENTS, INSTEAD A TENTATIVE TO AMELIORATE WHAT IS NOT GOOD IN THE PRESENT SITUATION



Published by Transhumanismo às 11:25
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Terça-feira, 15 de Junho de 2010
FREE FROM EXTINCTION

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

“In more or less 1200 Years, with the scientific and technological evolution, we will be able to ascend to a civilization capable to catch the supplementary  energy it needs from the Sun directly (1) (2) (3). We should become able to travel until the next stellar systems, but we will not be still capable to colonize the respective planets, due to lack of resources.

Such civilization should look as the one of the United Federacy of Planets of the film `Star Trek'".

Moreover, the Humanity will become, for the first time, non extinguishable as Species. In 2500 years it will be also possible the control of some astronomical and environmental phenomena…

But…

 

There will very probably still occur unexpected phenomena and the technologies that we have been discussing so far will not be enough to attack them, because they are only useful such phenomena will have already reached a catastrophic state…

The only solution that we imagine would be the Civil Protection to become an artificially immune system. Such system would have to be similar to the natural immune systems, conceived in order to function correctly and susceptible to be put off by the human beings whenever they would leave that correct functioning (4)… I already referred to that hypothesis years ago; other people has done so, too, recently (5) (6) (7) (8). One such civil defence would have to have its own “lymphocytes” (9), which could perhaps be molecular robots or artificial cells, distributed through dangerous environments.

 

Immediately after the triggering of the dangerous phenomena, these nano robots would have to:

• Detect it

• Self-replicate, or be produced in enough copies by an exterior source, to attack the phenomenon in the most efficient possible way (4)(10).

• Suffer genetic variations throughout successive generations, thus evolving to be adjusted to the attack to the phenomena

• Be destroyed or come to ruin, if inadequate to the intended attack

• Self organize in the best way, according to necessities (11), giving eventually origin to some species of organisms… and

• Pass to action on the molecular/atomic structure… to impeach the phenomenon to become worse… There weren’t still any serious technical studies on this (5). But in the area of Hurricanes, Severe Thunderstorms and Tornados (12), there are already running the sowing of substances in clouds to try to hinder that the phenomena occur (13); in the area of Earthquakes, it was expected some years ago that the injection of electromagnetic fields revealed itself useful in the stopping the earthquakes through controlled partial induction (14).

 

Why shouldn’t these interventions be made by evolving sets of nano robots?

Why shouldn’t it be possible to explore the chaotic nature of Artificial “Life”, i. e., the exponential sensitivity of its orbits to the small disturbances, and its structure which harnesses many different movements inside the same system…?

Totalidade das minhas crónicas: Humanity+ portugal, transhumanismo@sapo.pt

*PhD (U. Grenoble), Researcher in Informatics Artificial Life for 38 years.

References  

(1) Michio Kaku, known Scientist who met some of his top colleagues of the World, among them 15 Nobel Prizes; “Visions – How Science will Revolutionize the XXI Century”

(2) A $10 Billion Sun Shield for Planet Earth; http://www.androidworld.com/prod60.htm

(3) Artificial Life Programme, (http://www.inf.ed.ac.uk/research/programmes/alife/); School of Informatics, U. Edinburgh

(4) Formal Verification of Autonomous Systems; Robotics Institute, U. Carnegie Mellon, EUA, http://www.ri.cmu.edu/projects e Automated Software Engineering Group, NASA Ames Research Center

(5) James Hughes, Director do “Journal of Evolution and Technology”; USA

(6) Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations; 2000; http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ecophagy&oldid=292310902

(7) The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology; Raymond Kurzweil; 2005

(8) “Shield” proposals published online at Lifeboat Foundation for bio, nano, etc. threats, and so forth; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifeboat_Foundation

(9) Principais células dos sistemas imunitários naturais

(10) Luis Pecora e Thomas Carrol; Naval Research Laboratory; Washington DC

(11) Artificial Life Programme; School of Informatics; U. Edinburgh

(12) Greg's Weather Center; hurctrack@aol.com

(13) Ernani de Lima; School of Meteorology; U. Oklahoma

(14) De Rubeis, Valerio; Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica; Roma



Published by Transhumanismo às 14:50
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PLANETARIZATION

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

Kardashev, Russian Scientist, and Dyson, Nobel Prize (1), classified the eventually existing Civilizations in all the Cosmos in 3 types according to their sources of energy:

1. Planetary civilizations: They would be those that would take off its energy only from the natural resources of the respective planets

2. Stellar civilizations: would be those that would get the respective energies from their respective stars

3. Galactic civilizations would be the ones that would get their energy from the respective galaxies.

 

We, Terrestrial, didn’t yet explore totally the energy of our Planet, thus didn’t arrived, even, at a Planetary Civilization.

In hundreds of years, however, we will be able to ascend to such civilization.

This Civilization must have the capacity to modify the Climate, and that will be a tool of prevention of many of the deadliest catastrophes that we confront (Storms currently continue to cause devastation in many countries; the destruction verified in 2009 followed three particularly hard seasons of storms and floods in 2008, 2007 and 2006 that left behind them many poor people, making inhuman efforts for recovering them… China, Cambodia and Vietnam suffered thousand of deaths due to floods… Nicaragua and Venezuela suffered, also, terrible floods. Generations of human effort and billions of dollars are lost every year…

What is the solution?

 

The problem is that the Climate is a highly chaotic system and that we don’t know if some time it will be possible to foresee it; therefore, it will be necessary, in parallel, to try to modify it. There are already some technologies, in the area of Hurricanes, Severe Thunderstorms and Tornados (2); determined substances have been sown in clouds to hinder that the tornados occur (3) and we heard about the operations made in Beijing to prevent them, during certain tests of the Olympic Games…

A Planetary Civilization, beyond the possibility to modify the Climate, will be able to bring (1):

- A computer revolution with a net of global telecommunications and, consequently, an economic net

- A biomolecular revolution with the knowledge necessary to cure illnesses and to feed the population;

- A quanta revolution with the motor force and the necessary materials for such.

But… The Humanity will still remain vulnerable to the astronomical and environmental catastrophes. It “will be able to send very small exploratory groups to the planets and until the next stars, but the sustainability of such colonies will expend its resources quickly… One such civilization will be based on a planetary system of communication, culture and economy… The divisions and scars that afflict a civilization as ours will be vanished” (let us wait and hope…).

Such Civilization, although desirable, will have however to face some dangers: “The transition of our civilization for the Planetarization is the most dangerous of all transitions: glacier ages, impacts of cosmic objects, supernova explosions, and environmental disasters as the Greenhouse Effect, the mass extinction of other species, a nuclear war, the social, economical and political fractures, and the genetic homogenization (that could stop Evolution). Many could be the potential causes of such dangers: the Cosmos, the Chemical Industry, the Uranium, the Social Disorder and the space Compression of the Humanity; its dissemination through all the Planet could cause the Human Evolution to stop, since it only processes itself having surrounding wastelands not populated; a solution would be the Humanity to interfere in its respective genome.”.

 

Totality of my chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

References 

(1) Michio Kaku, known Scientist who met some of his top colleagues of the World, among them 15 Nobel Prizes; “Visions – How Science will Revolutionize the XXI Century”

(2) Greg's Weather Center; hurctrack@aol.com

(3) Ernani de Lima; School of Meteorology, U. Oklahoma; nascimento@ou.edu

 



Published by Transhumanismo às 14:12
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 O que é? |  O que é?

Segunda-feira, 15 de Março de 2010
EVOLVING TO HUMANITY+

Katerina Deloglou Barbosa, Consultant in Communication, vitaminakb@hotmail.com

 

I would like to leave here a reference to my  beloved master Gilles Lipovetsky, as a reflection for the meeting that is to be organized in Portugal, where for the first time people who are interested in techno sapiens  will be congregated. I hope that we will have ideas and intervention in society to follow the transformation of the name of the movement; the symbol (+) demands a superior qualitative contribution.

 

I definitely want to believe that the bridge between homo sapiens and techno sapiens will be validated by the symbol of the movement.

“… According to the `transhumanist' movement, the union of genetics, robotics and the nano technologies will allow to transform the definition itself of the human being, what will constitute a mutation without precedents and will see man enriched in its physiological and intellectual capacities: the cyborg will be born and the techno sapiens will have replaced the homo sapiens. At the same time that exemplifies the power of reason, the spiral of the high technology does not stop segregating an enormous amount of myths and utopias….”

 

Gilles Lipovetsky, Jean Serroy; “The Culture World - Reply to a Desoriented Society”; Editions 70, Lda; January 2010.

 



Published by Transhumanismo às 11:18
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 O que é? |  O que é?

Quinta-feira, 25 de Fevereiro de 2010
MATERIALLY IMMORTALS?

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

I launched a debate on “What do you think that Transhumanism will succeed to do in the Future?”, in the professional network LikedIn (1).

 

One of the subjects that arose was Life Extension.

James Clement, Board Member at Alcor Life Extension Foundation:

-   Life Extension will not happen in the emptiness. The technological progress will solve all the problems that it arises. There are equally studies made by Leonid Gravrilov, a Demographer, who showed that, even with an extreme life extension, the world’s population would reach a maximum of 9 billions, starting, afterwards, decreasing. Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Alzheimer Disease, and so… are mainly diseases of old people, not of young one; these do not get Cancer, Cardiac Disease, or Alzheimer because their immune systems, stem cells, and other mechanisms of repairing, are with full force. All of them will probably be cured only as a result of the defeat of Aging.

 

Immortality?

The Futurologist Ray Kurzweil explained in the Boston Globe (2)(3) that those who have 56 years or less could expect to live almost perpetually if they preserved themselves in good health in the next 20 years. Until then, Biotechnologies, Nano technologies, and Robotics, would allow to replace every deficient part in the human body…

The geneticist Aubrey de Grey (4), of Cambridge, explains how to do it, and he is managing a project (“SENSE”) that details the different procedures that would allow us to live more or less 1.000 years; those procedures being presently tested on rats.

 

Minsky (5) explains that, whatever skill we will put in Health Care or Medical Engineering, it will never be possible to overpass the consumption of the biological organisms… And, therefore, that it will not be possible to get immortality by this method; he also points out that “we will always find ways to replace all parts of the Body and of the Brain” by non biodegradable artificial elements.

Minsky, when he says that we will be able to replace totally our body by an artificial one, i. e., to remain ourselves even with a totally different body, accepts, implicitly, the existence of the Soul (even if, contradictorily, he annoys himself with the concept of Soul…); our soul would therefore animate another body, a materially immortal one.

 

The most important question that arises is the catholic assertion that (6) "Man does not have full right to make use of its own biological nature". In particular, no one could assure the material immortality because, as we know, Catholicism says that it is always to God to give the last word…

For you not to be disappointed, let us cite Cardinal Ratzinger, today Pope: “In the Catholic Theology (7), was stated the question of what Resurrection is and of its relation with Time…

Each death is an entrance in the totally other, in what is not time, but is eternity. The Eternity does not come after the time…, it is the other side of the secular being, already present today. Each death is a death for (entering) the eternity, for the ‘end of times’, in the total ‘eschaton’, for the resurrection and the total accomplishment already present… The true point of relation with Immortality is not in the time that will come, but in the Lord who lives…”.

 

Totality of my chronicles: Humanity+ Portugal.

 

(1) H+ Community; Professional Network LinkedIn; http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=37645&goback=%2Eana_37645_1259841299213_3_1%2Eand_37645_10499040_1259841299213_1%2Eand_37645_10499040_*2_1%2Eand_37645_10499040_1259847148160_1

 (2)Ray Kurzweil bientôt immortel ?“;JPB; Automates Inteligents Magazine; http://www.automatesintelligents.com/actu/041231_actu.html#haut#haut; 05/12/04

(3) http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2004/10/31/the_futurist/

(4) Aubrey de Grey ;Personnel page: http://www.gen.cam.ac.uk/sens/AdGbio.htm

(5) Michio Kaku, a known Scientist who interviewed some of the most important scientists of the World, among them 15 Nobel Prizes; “Visions - How Science will Revolutionize the XXI Century”; Ed. Bizâncio.

(6) Declaration of Vatican in 2002 “Communion and Service: Human Persons Created at the image of God”

(7) “Creed for Today – In What the Christians Believe”; Cardinal Ratzinger – Bento XVI; p. 165 – 186)


I'm feeling: At least spiritually

Published by Transhumanismo às 14:16
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Terça-feira, 2 de Fevereiro de 2010
EXTENDING LIFE?

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

Based on an article of “Science et Vie”, “Science at the Door of the Impossible” (1), I’m going to analyze the possibility of repairing organs that fail, thus extending Youth. Especially because “the first person who could live 1000 years could already be among us (2)”…

We already saw that Science has unimaginable possibilities, and also limits.

 

Contrarily to the perspective of the Body as something that irreversibly goes degrading, nowadays it is believed that the Body is repairable…

Which are the pillars of Aging?

- The accumulation of the free “radicals” that we already know how to fight from the Health magazines like ingesting anti-oxidants like fruits, wine, vegetables, and so…;

- The loss of cells;

- The mutations of the genes.

 

The most important point focused in “Science et Vie” is the fact that the method of retardation of Aging is moving from the nowadays one consisting in the treatments presently proposed by the Pharmacies and the Clinics, to the maintenance of the Body, as we do with cars.

 

How should be done such maintenance?

In condition it will overpass the present necessity to destruct embryos, that maintenance should proceed through the regeneration of tissues and organs that fail using embryonic undifferentiated cells, a process invented by James Thomson of the Wisconsin-Madison University (1).

In November 2007, Yamanaka created from a skin cell an undifferentiated one: He reprogrammed the respective genes in order to make the cell to come back behind in time to the state of undifferentiated, and then to develop itself to differentiated cells of several types.

It is planed to make, soon, clinical tests of embryonic undifferentiated cells in people with cardiac insufficiency or spinal paralysis…

Another method of Life Extension is Body Freezing.

 

I launched a debate on “What do you expect from Transhumanism to succeed in the future?”, in the professional network LikedIn (3). One of the subjects that came to debate was that of freezing bodies.

Shannon Vyff, Independent Writing and Editing Professional said the following:

- You do not need to be a millionaire to be signed up with a cryonics company - it takes $28,000 (through Cryonics Institute) out of your life insurance to preserv your whole body.

I've covered my views elsewhere on the need to participate in social action while also supporting extreme life extension - but I'm not a person who would choose my own immortality over ending suffering. What are your thoughts then on what Transhumanism will accomplish Rui - as you seem to be questioning others, started this topic and have not yet laid out your own ideas on the subject?

- What should be the priority between the quest for Life Extension for some, and the cure of the Cancer for many more? I prefer this one because it would not be pleasant to live artificially more time with the weight in the Conscience of the suffering of the others… and because, all the way, we are already living in Eternal Life...

In more general terms, we should use 3 sources of knowledge: Conscience, Science, and Religion; by this order, which is that of their descendent respective evolutionary ages. I do not see any justification to give a relative importance to Science greater than that which derives from its relative age.

The best attitude it is to be cautious with the announcements of the successes of the new technologies, and to weight them with the diverse available sources of knowledge; because we saw what happened to many people, for example with the Nuclear…  It became possible, somebody materialized it, and somebody else killed much people with it…

The social interest must include the personal well-being…

There are still topics to approach about Life Extension, and we will do it our next chronicle.

 

Totality of my chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal.

 

Citations

(1) Best magazine of the Year in France; Number 1103, August of 2009

(2) Aubrey de Grey, SENSE Project

(3) H+ Community; Social professional network LinkedIn; http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=37645&goback=%2Eana_37645_1259841299213_3_1%2Eand_37645_10499040_1259841299213_1%2Eand_37645_10499040_*2_1%2Eand_37645_10499040_1259847148160_1

 

 


I'm feeling: BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Published by Transhumanismo às 17:04
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Sexta-feira, 22 de Janeiro de 2010
DOMINATE ALL CATASTROPHES?

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

The Haiti’s Catastrophe was unexpected (neither the eastern system, based in the sensitivity of the animals and the detectable indications for human beings) nor the occidental one (based in seismographs) were able to foresee it…

That raises the question of knowing if, in the Future, it will be possible to dominate the Catastrophes, mainly the unpredictable ones…

 

The majority of the Catastrophes seem to be susceptible of being mitigated through Prevention. Many agencies of the UN Family (1) collaborated, during the International Decade for Natural Disasters Reduction, with international scientific and humanitarian organizations, national commissions, NGO, and groups of citizens, to study the best form to diminish these disasters; the period was of intense international exchanges and speeded up scientific information; knowledge more than necessary to prevent the loss of lives was generated, refined, debated, systemized and disseminated. The UN also gave, beyond the related technical knowledge, support to the constitution of institutions, and financial aids. Unfortunately, in the past, all these actions were not sufficient to make the nations change their behaviour relative to those disasters…

 

Also, the development of Science and Technology should allow the prevention and mitigation of the consequences of the majority of the Catastrophes. We present, in the following, forecasts of Michio Kaku (2) and Arthur C. Clarke (3) about until where such development could be attained:

- Up to 2020, spreading of sensors and microprocessors: This should be done all over all dangerous spots, which should have an impact in the detection capacity and intelligence of the system

- Up to 2050, the possibility for Artificial Intelligence to become systematically applied, exceeding materially the human one, and continuing from then on to overpass it more and more due to the absence of the organic limitations of this (Arthur C. Clarke); appearance of automata with common sense, natural language interface, recognition and manipulation of objects, and learning (Carnegie-Mellon University)

- Much after 2100, possibility of the robots to become “self-conscientious” (to be able to establish their own objectives, to take decisions by their own) and to act as stewards of the human beings; possibility of transferring the content of human neuronal nets to metallic bodies; at last, the possibility (Arthur C. Clarke) to automate the social systems such as the Energetic and the Economic ones, leaving for the humans only the disconnect function.

But…

 

There will very probably always occur unexpected phenomena, and these technologies, whatever developed they will become, will never be enough to attack them, because they will only be capable to act when those phenomena will have reached the catastrophic state…

The only solution that we imagine would be, therefore, for the Civil Defence to become an artificial immune system similar to the natural ones… Such hypothesis was already stated has years by myself and others (4)(5)(6): One such civil defence should have its proper “lymphocytes” (7), susceptible of an evolution, Darwinian or not, similar, or not, to the natural one (Tim Taylor, U. Edimburgo).

In hundreds of years, it could be possible to modify the Climate, and that would be a tool of prevention of the catastrophes that depend on it, with a very probable consequent disappearance of the Floods, that seem to be among the deadliest catastrophes.

In 2500 years it would be possible to control some astronomical and environmental phenomena…

See you in 15 days…

 

Totality of my chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal

 

References

(1) UN Chronicle; Ben Wisner

(2) Michio Kaku, well known Scientist who met 150 of his top colleagues in the World, among them 15 Nobel Prizes, in “Visions – How Science will revolutionize the XXI Century”

(3) Author of “2001 Space Odyssey”

(4) James Hughes, Director of “Journal of Evolution and Technology”; USA

(5) “Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by Biovorous Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations”; 2000; http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ecophagy&oldid=292310902

(6) “The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology”; Raymond Kurzweil; 2005

(7) Main cells of the natural immune systems

 


I'm feeling: joyfull
Music: Dies Ira

Published by Transhumanismo às 14:58
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Terça-feira, 5 de Janeiro de 2010
CHEMICAL ARTIFICIAL LIFE

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

We already approached Informatics Artificial “Life”, that is, produced with computational elements; and reported the theoretical possibility of making systems of replicating, or self-replicating, molecular robots, aggregating in organisms, and evolving; later we spoke about Synthetic “Life”, that one is intending to produce from preexisting living elements, and which is a potential remedy for Illness and Global Warming.

 

We will speak now about Chemical Artificial “Life” that some researchers intend to come to produce from chemical elements, not living ones, in test tube or laboratory dishes.

 

The Cells resemble to robots whose pack is the “membrane”, the electronics the “cytoplasm”, the operative system the “genome” (set of genes); and an active part the “ribosome”.

The genetic information circulates from the genome to the ribosome (1), where the proteins are produced, proteins that have a key role in all the life forms.

 

We are going to partially reproduce an article of the journalist of Reuters Maggie Fox (2).

 

“American Scientists made one ribosome. The Professor of Genetics of the Harvard Medical School, Church, said the following: ‘If we want to make synthetic life similar to current life, we will have to make this kind of biological machine (ribosome).'. Church and Mike Jewett (3) already synthesized “luciferase”, the material of the incandescence.”.

 

According to (4), the fact of having produced one synthetic ribosome offers the hope that the same team can come to create an entire cell; something that Church waits that comes to be a relatively lesser challenge. He said: ‘There’s no reason to wait that it will run badly…'. A synthetic system ‘in vivo' could produce everything from medicines to biological fuels and absorbent substances of the greenhouse gases. Chemical Artificial “Life”

 

Let us see what Seth Borenstein of Associated Press (5) in 2007 said: “For the whole world, an amount of experts is trying to create ‘life’ from zero, and is closer to this objective. The experts wait an announcement in the next 10 years from the part of someone of the ‘in vitro’ artificial ‘life’ (6); in a general way, such type of artificial ‘life’ involves experiences with chemical substrata of water or another solvent. The Scientists do not have a rigorous, standard definition, of what ‘life’ is. However, the biologists have some basic ideas on the characteristics that Artificial ‘Life’ needs to possess:

 

1. It needs to have ADN or genetic code;

 

2. It needs to be able to multiply and to transmit the genetic code; and necessarily some place where to place it. Of something that can be a protector pack or a membrane, similar to the wall of a cell, that keeps together the ADN and the other parts;

 

3. The wall of the cell will have equally to allow that normal biological processes are fulfilled; that is, it needs to be enough permeable to allow the absorption of the nutrients, and relatively impermeable against the pathogenic microbes;

 

4. The organism must be self-sustainable: It must eat and metabolize foods.

 

5. Finally, the live form has to have the capacity of self-repairing, adapting and evolving.

 

To develop some of these characteristics presents many challenges to the researchers. To keep an artificial organism alive during more than some minutes, or some hours, is equally a challenge, in a way that the scientists can center themselves in the reinforcement of the organisms after some of the initial obstacles were surpassed…”

 

Totality of my chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal

 

References

(1) Wikipedia

(2) “Engineered cell engine is step to artificial life”; Reuters; Maggie Fox; March 9, 2009 http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSTRE52806E20090309

(3) From Harvard Medical School

(4) “Artificial life could be created within five years

Http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/sciencenews/4974917/artificial-life-could-be-created-within-five-years.html

(5) “Artificial life likely in 3-5 years?”; Seth Borenstein; Associated Press; 20, August, 2007   

(6) Da Wikipedia: “in vitro” is something not made in a live organism but in a controlled environment, for instance in a test tube.


I'm feeling: Without brain storms
Music: Gregorian chant

Published by Transhumanismo às 13:41
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Quinta-feira, 3 de Dezembro de 2009
SYNTHETIC GENOME

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

According to Discovery (1), “Scientists discovered a more efficient way to build a Synthetic Genome that could one day push the creation of synthetic life”.

 

As already said in our previous chronicle, the main difference between synthetic Life and “Artificial Life” is: synthetic life consists of synthesizing new forms of life from elements of the natural life, whereas Artificial Life intends to build simulations of Life from zero. “The method of development of the Synthetic Genome is already being used to help to develop biofuels of the next generation and biochemical materials in the laboratories of the controversial Scientist Craig Venter. Venter “greeted” forms of artificial life as a potential remedy for Illness and Global warming, but the perspective is highly controversial and raises a warm debate on the potential ramifications and the ethics of the engineering of artificial life”.

 

“In an article published in Science (2), the Venter' s team described the synthesis of the entire genome of the bacterium “Mycoplasma genitalium” from laboratory chemicals. … Venter said it was the largest artificial sequence ever made, 20 times longer than any previous attempt.

 

The team at the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in Maryland is working on the final step to ‘create life’ transplanting the synthetic DNA into a cell in the hope that it will ‘boot up’ the cell and take control of its growth and reproduction.

 

The Scientists, lead by the Nobel Hamilton Smith, began by building long strands of DNA, each a copy of about a quarter of the whole M genitalium genome. These were inserted into levedura cells, which coseram stitched together the strands to make clones of the whole genome, named M genitalium JCVI-1.0.

 

The next step is to insert the synthetic chromosome into a cell, so that it can reproduce and become a new life form. Venter's team has already demonstrated that transplanting the genome of one type of bacterium into the cell of another can change the cell's species, a process his team will now use with the new synthetic chromosome.“

 

Therefore, it should be possible to create new (synthetic) species. 

 

The Nobel Hamilton Smith said that producing the artificial genome was like finishing the operating system of a computer. ‘By itself, it doesn't do anything, but when you install it on a computer, then you have a working computer system. It's the same with the genome: the genome is the operating system for a cell and the cytoplasm is the hardware that's required to run that genome’.

 

The work comes out of a larger JCVI effort to discover the minimum number of genes needed for a life form. In its natural state, M genitalium has 485 genes, 100 of which have been found to be non-essential. Synthetic biologists want to use this information to create the most efficient form of life possible, with the fewest genes needed to allow the organism to grow, replicate and proliferate.

 

Venter said there were two main reasons for the work. ‘One is trying to understand the minimal operating system of a cell and to understand basic biology. If these experiments are successful we could enter a new design phase of biology by actually constructing chromosomes of a specific nature for a more specific purpose.’"

 

It would be born thus a new derivation of Life, resultant of the manipulation by human being with sight to serve human designs. Designer Organisms have an enormous potential to create alternative sources of energy or to attack the climatic changes through the absorption of carbon dioxide.

 

Totality of my Chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal

 

(1) Venter Lab Makes Progress on Artificial Life, AFP; Dec. 5, 2008

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/12/05/artificial-life.html

(2) “Biologist claims significant step towards artificial life”; Alok Jha, science correspondent, The Guardian, Friday 25 January 2008

(3) Set of genes inserted a Chromosome (Wikipedia), which has a kind of program of the body of living being

(4) Venter Lab Makes Progress on Artificial Life, AFP; Dec. 5, 2008

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/12/05/artificial-life.html

(5) Wikipedia: Combustible or energy producing molecules which are appearing in the Market due to the prices of oil and to the necessity of Energetic security.


I'm feeling: sprout from chemistry

Published by Transhumanismo às 09:31
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Quarta-feira, 25 de Novembro de 2009
SYNTHETIC LIFE

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

Many scientists try at all cost make what they call "life". Let's look a little more about this concept that has been often used ("such a Scientist is at the point of creating life"). In the begining, there was the Inorganic. Teilhard de Chardin, Palaeontologist, said that, from the strictly phenomenological point of view, it hapened, much time ago, a tenuous passage from the Inorganic to the Organic. Acording to the Catholic Encyclopedia, present Science doesn't have an explanation for that passage and only says that the passage was not tenuous (instead it was fracturing) and that the principle which distinguishes the Organic is what it calls "vitality" (the Organic is definitely SOMETHING ELSE, with one dynamism which is absent from the Inorganic). "Vitality is the only philosophical principle that characterizes the passage from Inorganic to Organic". So, when Scientists produce "artificial Life", they are solely SIMULATING SOME ASPECTS of Life.

 

There are, so, lives which are different from that one given by God.

 

We already approached in previous chronicles Artificial Life (1) (2) (3) “that looks for the simulation of the living systems by means of computational algorithms, from the presupposition that the essence of life would not be in the material of which it is constituted, but its singular logical process”. We saw, inclusively, that nothing seems to hinder that “robotic cells” come to aggregate themselves in bodies of humanoids. Susana Dias (2) reports that, in an interview to the BBC News, at the beginning of the year, a Biologist (4) insisted in distinguishing the expressions “artificial life” and “synthetic life”.

 

Synthetic life

 

With synthetic life, solely chromosomes, which are a very important, if not determinant, part of the development of the Body of the living beings, are redesigned; no new system of artificial life is created; the important element is the DNA molecule and, from it, but changing its composition, the scientists intend to create never seen beings, without equivalents in Nature. Cristina Caldas (5) says that Norman Packard, Steen Rasmussen, John McCaskill and the philosopher Mark Bedau, at a point, had decided that it would be the moment to work in this important, ambitious and challenging project: to create a genuinely new alive entity, without the habitual biological ingredients as the DNA, the conventional bio-molecules and the nucleus, among others. The result, six years passed, was the structuring of a series of institutions and nets of research with eyes directed towards Synthetic Life: (6) (7) (8). Steen Rasmussen (9), presented the idea of proto-cell as a minimum alive entity composed by 3 structures:

 

1. A “container”,

2. A metabolic primitive system and

3. A new type of genetic material.

 

We know that the last attempt to make synthetic life was stopped by the lack of an energy that could put everything to function (Craig Venter); therefore, it seems that the essence of life is not in the nature nor in the organization of the materials, but in its dynamic principle, that the scientists consider to be of energetic nature: My question is therefore: Wouldn’t such energy be the physical image of the “Spirit Who gives Life” of Catholicism…?

 

According to Cristina Caldas (5), “consensus does not exist on what life is … To be considered alive, the organism needs to reproduce itself, evolve and to have an active metabolism… But a person who does not leave descendants is considered alive?… And all the organisms that do not multiply, are not living creatures?…

 

Cristina Caldas cites Regis in the book “What is life? Investigating the nature of life in the age of synthetic biology” (10) that concludes: “The metabolism is an unavoidable characteristic of all the live entities, since the minimum until the maximum living ones.”

 

According to Junqueira, Luis (11), “the new synthetic organisms could have the function of producing energy, providing food, processing information and allow the production of new drugs, among others”.

 

In contrast of  Science, that intends to dissect Life…, Religion simply affirms that God… created the living beings.

 

Totality of my chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal

 

References

 

(1) "Vida" artificial informática; Rui Barbosa; Capítulo Português da Humanity+ (Associação Mundial de Transhumanistas)

(2) “Vida artificial e sintética: aposta na substância”; Susana Dias; http://www.comciencia.br/comciencia/?section=8&edicao=39&id=475&tipo=0

(3) Tese de doutoramento; Nina Velasco e Cruz; Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro http://www.cipedya.com/web/FileDownload.aspx?IDFile=168107

(4) Hamilton Smith, que trabalha no Instituto J. Craig Venter, o laboratório que sintetizou o genoma da bactéria Mycoplasma genitalium

(5) “O que é vida?”; Cristina Caldas;http://www.comciencia.br/comciencia/?section=8&tipo=resenha&edicao=39

(6) Consórcio internacional Pace (Programmable Artificial Cell Evolution, liderado por McCaskill),

(7) Empresa ProtoLife (Packard e Bedau) e

(8) ECLT (The European Center for Living Technology)

(9) LANL, Los Alamos National Laboratory

(10) “What is life? Investigating the nature of life in the age of synthetic biology”; Ed Regis; Editora: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 198 páginas; 2008

(11) “Biotecnologia e Inteligência Sintética”; Luis Junqueira; http://www.comciencia.br/comciencia/?section=8&edicao=39&id=471


I'm feeling: Taken in a Program

Published by Transhumanismo às 16:37
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TO PREVENT SERIAL KILLERS AND SO CALLED "ISLAMISTS"

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

Abstract of the presentation by Rui Barbosa, in Primavera BSS - AfterWorkSession2012-Future of People and Machines (Luis Anjos, Rui Barbosa and a CEO of Primavera BSS). 

 

Based on an article of “Science et Vie”, (Better Magazine of the Year in France), Number 1103, August 2009, “Science at the Door of the Impossible”, I’m going to analyze with some detail the possibility of controlling from outside the functioning of the brain of humans or other sentient beings.

 

A scientist (Jose Delgado, Spain) got to stop a rush of a bull through an order sent by radio waves to electrodes implanted in the brain of that bull

 

Should we become able to make the same with a human being to prevent that it committed a crime? 

Should we change the Law to apply it, not anymore to crimes which had been already committed, but to crimes that were intended to be committed?

The important factors to be considered in that case would be the time mediating between the intention and the act, and the secondary effects that would affect the potential criminal…

 

Tackling Serial Killers

Public Safety

A human characteristic is the ability to, after having thought about a particular action, the heart (in the theological sense, not biological) decide to perform that action. The American PREDPOL system gathers, during time, information about dangerous persons. Then if we had a system capable of detecting online that one of those dangerous people frequently 

 

  1. thinks in a certain face,
  2. thinks in a gun,
  3. feels rage and

 

at a certain moment is going to take a decision, this system should automatically alert the Police [1] [2].

Therefore, it should become possible to prevent crimes by thought detection.

And...

A scientist, Jose Delgado, Spain, managed to stop an attack by a bull, through the emission, by radio waves, of an order to electrodes implanted in the brain...

This should be possible to avoid dangerous humans to commit crimes. It would be implemented using preventive chips instead of electronic bracelets. 

 

This "Without Words" Cooperation we propose consists in the problem solving and implementation of actions by networks built on the deep connection of the bodies of living creatures and machines (including computers or robots), through the concurrency of processes, by "passing" the reasoning or action one another like the ball in a football game.

 

In Health, Public Safety and Civil Defense this type of cooperation between living beings and machines would allow a greater symbiosis that would be critical in those areas.

 

Improvement of Human Psychology

To finish this subject, let’s see more deeply some questions that were put to me:

  • Will transhumanists solve conflicts primarily technically (according to the U.S. military strategy, for instance)? What about Democracy? Negotiations, respect......
  • One of the issues of Transhumanism is to change Human Psychology: we know very well the evil power of Human Psychology (Hitler, Stalin, etc.)
  • The individuality will be manipulated in a way that - at the end -all 'New Men' will act/react the same way, according to what is desirable. Who decides what is desirable? Cyber-gods?
  • You don’t need to be a god to know what is good or bad…; what we propose is (as the other medicines do now) to perfect Psychology, but deeper, larger, in a way to avoid the psychological diseases such as Alzheimer, Multiple Sclerosis, and so (should it be possible, without affecting the healthy functions, to change a pathologic psycho to a healthy one, why shouldn’t we do that?).
  • Sensitivity, emotions and ambitions: will sensitivity, emotions and ambitions be changed after all in favour of a rationally and calculably acting being? And will those beings still act by their own free will? Democratically? Will them be still humans then, or rather artificial beings/objects? (In order to achieve finally physical immortality - another promise of yours for the future - you have to modify and replace almost all finite parts at last anyway.)
  • Everything which is good should be maintained…
  • Good and bad emotions and sensations; who says what is good and bad?
  • The answer was given above. Is anyone pleased with bad emotions? Transhumanism pretends to influence the course of evolution, on the basis of a Human Good Desire that will avoid the problems created with the present evolution. Men will maintain their souls and not their material parts. When we propose a New Man we are not speaking about Matrix… The Soul, thus Freewill, should not be affected even for the attainment of superior material objectives…
  • Any place for religion left?
  • No problem due to the fact that God gives a soul to each man and that this soul is not affected by the physical update. Does Man loose its dignity when it changes its heart or kidneys? The Soul is not any identification with God but a creation of God that makes Man similar to Him and able to communicate with Him; I know it by Faith and Religion. Transhumanism proposes that we keep the good things and throw away the bad ones…
  • Who defines perfection? And hasn't success ever been ambivalent as well?
  • Everyone knows for itself what is perfection means; and Mankind agrees in many points (see the Human Rights and the general common sense about what is good and bad).
  • It is very hard for researchers to define borders for their own research.
  • The path is defined walking.
  • Totality of my chronicles: Humanity+ Portugal.

 

The external intervention on the Brain of creatures can also have a therapeutic effect in the Parkinson Illness, the obsessive disturbances and the disturbances of mood; done by means of psico probes, magnetic stimulation and psycho active substances. And to improve memory or concentration; however, this development could be scandalous in a World with so many basic lacks for so many people…

 

Totality of my Chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal


[1] Dr Shao-Lin da Universidade Nacional de Taiwan, revista Quo. Detection of signs of brain activity

[2] John-Dylan Haynes, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Volume 1224, The Year in Cognitive Neuroscience pages 9–21, April 2011

 


I'm feeling: Alive

Published by Transhumanismo às 15:56
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Terça-feira, 10 de Novembro de 2009
TO INSERT TECHNOLOGY IN...THE BODY

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

It should become possible to correct or to increase our faculties. Let’s focus some of the less known technologies for that.

This possibility comes in the sequence of our previous chronicles: to become, materially, more than what we are, that is, “men+”.

Gareth Branwyn says that (1) “the technologies of prosthetics and neuronal interface of today can be divided in 3 main categories:

-          Auditory and Visual:

“So far, the most succeeded implants have been in the area of the Ear. The sick people and members of the respective families who I interviewed spoken to me of their desperation during their years of Deafness and emphasized how much they appreciated this technology that changed their lives”. Visual: although a minimum number of blind people has already obtained some very elementary vision, the truth is that “the visual prosthetics has still a long way to go”.

-    Neuromuscular Functional Stimulation (2)(3) (“the systems of cerebral neuro-muscular stimulation are in experimental application in cases in which certain damages of the spinal marrow or infarcts ruined the linking of the brain to the nervous central system”).

-   Control of prosthetic members through interfaces of these members with the neurons.

Gareth Branwyn still says: “we know that the Future will be `wired'. The linking through `hardware' of neuronal prosthetics is already here and will continue to develop in the direction of implanted systems completely controlled by the brains of the users… Whatever the time such comes to happen, this technology will become, eventually, a commonly enabling option for those that have special necessities, and, at a certain point, the people will surely start to speak about using that same technology for a selective expansion of the capacities of the human beings.”

Michio Kaku (4) foresees that it should become possible to implant natural brains until 2050…. An extreme implant that Minsky (5) foresees is that of the brain in its totality, that is, its total replacement by an artificial brain, “in order that we can think a million of times faster than we do currently”.

Questions that were made to me:

- With the changed body, the brain also would change, and with the brain the control on the actions.

- When you change the heart of someone, the person changes… for better (otherwise such would not be made). That person is better or worse of what was before?.

The insertion of Technology in our bodies will have however its costs (that could be compensatory or not…): Gareth Branwyn says: “For sure that the most enthusiastic neuronal navigators will not want to be subject to repeated surgeries of the Brain just to get the last version of the cerebral interfaces.” And he adds: “The Science Historian Donna Haraway in its essay `the Cyborg Manifesto', suggests that the great handicapped are often the first ones to appreciate the fruitful couplings of the human beings with the machines”. Will it happen that people will really want their heads open to the exterior and ‘wired'? How will they pay such procedures that will be certainly be expensive? And wwhat to say about the obsolescence?”

Those who will replace parts of their bodies with artificial ones, i.e. who will be cyborguized (6), if we refer to what António Carvalho says in “Transhumanism and interculturality” (7), will lose “agency”, i. e., capacity to act in an independent way and to make their own choices freely (Wikipedia). They will become more dependent on the others…

In one future chronicle we will approach the pretention of man to become materially imoprtal.

 

Totality of my chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal.

 

Citations

(1) Will we live you see our brains wired you gadgets? How about today? Brains Wired You the Gadgets, By Gareth Branwyn Magazine WIRED 1.4 (2) “There it comes Artificial Health”; Jornal de Notícias, Portugal; 7-3-2002

(3) De nouvelles expériences concernant les implants cérébraux; http://www.automatesintelligents.com/actu/041231_actu.html#haut#haut; JPB/CJ; 05/12/04

(4) Michio Kaku, known Scientist who interviewed some of his top of the World  colleagues, among them 15 Nobel Prizes; “Visions - As Science Will Revolutionize the XXI Century”

(5) Minsky, http://web.media.mit.edu/~minsky/papers/sciam.inherit.html (6) “Cyborg” is a cybernetic organism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyborgization

(7) António Carvalho: http://transhumanismo.blogs.sapo.pt/12627.html

 


I'm feeling: Perplexo
Music: Modern Times by Charlot

Published by Transhumanismo às 13:30
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Terça-feira, 13 de Outubro de 2009
THE CONTENT OF OUR BRAIN...IN A HUMANOID

Rui Barbosa, PhD (U. Grenoble, France), Founder of the First Humanity+ Portuguese Chapter, transhumanismo@sapo.pt.

 

It is called “Mind Uploading” (1).

Admitting that we come to produce “living” and “evolving” humanoids, we should become able to transfer the content of our brain to the one of one of those humanoids, in way that its brain behaves practically in a way not distinguishable from ours (1)…

That such only become possible much after 2100 when the total knowledge of the Human Brain (2) would be obtained, because, naturally, it will be necessary to know this one to make a copy of it to which we could transfer the cited content…

What would be the advantage?

Let us see some questions made to me about this topic.

- A future chip that would mirror the individual brain (and also the Conscience) and that added objective knowledge, will be capable to differentiate and finally to judge and to take both the subjective and the objective parts in consideration, in order to define and to follow a goal?

- The possibility of an objective knowledge of the conscience of ourselves is a real problem that seems at first sight not totally soluble as I already said in a previous chronicle: Somebody will be capable to observe the effect and not the source of the conscience of itself in someone else (Klaus Hepp, ETH Zurich); by definition, only its owner would be able to know totally its conscience of itself but even this would be an infinite process… This problem also appeared before in History, with Psychology: It was thought that the psyche of a given individual could be solely at the reach of that individual; later, Experimental Psychology was invented and now we know so much on Human Psychology! Even with Experimental Psychology, we cannot reach the totality of the psyche of an individual (remember Wittgenstein who said that there are many things that cannot be verbalized…).

Really, if we became capable to make “live” and “evolving” artificial humanoids and such beings evolved until becoming conscientious, I do not see any reason why they could not acquire, as in the case of the Natural Evolution, the conscience of themselves…

- It will be also possible to join and to mix the consciences and knowledge of others?

- I do not think that this should be the goal: Following our current way to organize information (see Internet), the best solution would be to have, in each one, access to the information of the others; not the concentration of all the information in all; since the relevance and the dynamics of the information depend on who is going to use it.

- What would happen when practically all the decisions were taken by computers but were the men the responsible ones?

- The same that in a company in which men use the computers; the level is different: A decision concerning going or not to the Skopije Festival of the Arts, is one of a human being, a decision concerning the best flight to get would be that of a computer (not far from becoming possible, but also only possible for people who dominate the functioning of the computers, the criteria that the computer uses to decide, and so …); all is a question of decision levels.

- A computer cannot be accused nor punished… what would mean then the morality? And the individuality? This takes us to the Soul ...

- I think that the computers have a material morality (without Soul); the punishment being its reprogramming (3). The human being will have to supervise the Humanoids, since the communication with God must impose itself to the ethics of the machines. If we will be able to build “living” humanoids and be able to transfer the knowledge of our Brain (for instance of a Rescuer Fireman) to their Brain, we will be able to transfer to those humanoids excessively demanding tasks (in the example, in Rescue).

Moreover, it should be possible to put our brains communicating with their brains without the need of verbal communication (written, or another one of this type…) (4).

In the next chronicle, we will approach the subject: should we replace deficient parts of the Body by technological devices?

 

Totality of my chronicles: Transhumanismo Portugal 

 

Citations

(1) Article of Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_uploading#cite_note-Roadmap-0#cite_note-Roadmap-0

(2) For Edelman, Nobel Prize of Medicine, each brain is a different brain and would be necessary 32 million years to a human being to read all the cerebral connections…

(3) http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/anderson/machineethics.html

(4) Brain-Computer Interface http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brain%E2%80%93computer_interface&oldid=315715766

 


I'm feeling: In rest

Published by Transhumanismo às 10:21
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