Transhumanism - Debate on Safety, Feasibility, and Ethics - Nanomachines, son!

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Drain Todger

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This is something that I love reading and thinking about but never get to talk about. Hence I will likely forever be an exceptional individual on this topic.
It's obvious that one thread is not enough to efficiently discuss everything OP brings up. But it's a well structured effort. I'll try to say something "productive." And I will spoiler my main points.

Nanotech/nanomachines have MASSIVE implications for medicine, e.g. in age-related disease. I think some people have an idea that nanotech/nanomachines in humans will be actual tiny robots swimming around in your blood breaking down amaloid plaque/LDL/whatever in best case or malfunctioning and breaking down your muscle/neurons/whatever in worst case. In reality, nanotech (as it's currently developing) will be highly specific molecules that can only do one function. Think of proteins (including enzymes). DNA can be modified to produce proteins that prevent/treat certain diseases (this links back to "synthetic biology"/GMO, as stated by OP) but that's not coming anytime soon. And notice I am NOT mentioning synthetic cells. That's a whole other topic.
Exoskeletons have massive implications to industry and military. I could go on about this in the context of OP but "mech suits" aren't my only interest. Hapic suits are another intruige. They are wearable tech that is being used a lot for VR gaming now. However, a few years ago, these were being developed to help certain sorts of deaf people perceive sound. The intent makes sense; sound is vibration and you are deferring/redirecing that vibration to different parts of the body to help people "hear." This sort of suit was also being tested to help train pilots in understanding the mechanical status of their aircraft without visual stimuli. In this context, exoskeletons can be used to more thoroughly and non-invasively integrate tech into our body schema. Anyone who has kept up on this, please let me know.

The above two fields, I strongly endorse and think should be researched and developed as quick as possible. But of course that is not all of the tech/engineering OP mentioned. I have nothing else to say about the other topics rn. But I have two smaller points to make:

People have already brought up immortality in this thread. I think human culture around death, in general, is terrible and results in a lot of extraneous suffering. I am occupationally obliged to deal with a lot of death. Thus I hope people can separate their emotions about death from the topic of "transhuman" tech. It will be a long time before we "end" death, if ever. I don't think this should be the focus of current discussion.

A lot of qualms with "transhuman" tech, I think, can be alleviated by education. Hence I think basic medicine and neuroscience should be introduced in high school/secondary school. There are a lot of technologies that can help us (our species and even our ecosystem(s)) develop and survive without enslaving us to Skynet.

TL;DR some of this stuff just needs to be in healthcare already.

[edited for grammar]
When I researched COVID-19, I touched upon a lot of molec bio stuff that I had no idea about before.

I can tell you why people age, and why we die. To put it bluntly, our environment is caustic to us. Living, itself, is what kills us. We're exposed to entropy all the time. Oxygen radicals damage DNA, and so do cosmic rays. Telomeres and the Hayflick Limit are there for a reason. Past a certain number of cell divisions, there's no way to know what the quality of the DNA is, because every step of the copying process is lossy. Some people speak of lengthening telomeres as if it's a cure for death, but it isn't. A cell with lengthened telomeres might divide more, sure. But it may also become the nexus of a tumor. The cure for death is the repair of all the DNA in all of your somatic cells, back to a healthy baseline, along with the clearance of all "junk"; senescent cells, amyloid plaques, et cetera.


All of the cells in a human or animal body are essentially tiny nanomachines. DNA forms the bases of one's genes, and genes are essentially blueprints for proteins. A cancer cell is just a mutated cell that replicates out of control and refuses to die when ordered to.

I can see ways to rejuvenate cells. Perhaps the delivery of refreshed genetic material by means of viral vectors. However, the trick is getting it to integrate into the genome correctly, without introducing new errors. Easier said than done. There are many different cell lines in the body, each with their own unique needs. Personally, I don't think achieving biological immortality in humans is an insurmountable problem. It is, however, an extremely difficult problem. If you could truly solve aging, you could also convert tumor cells back into normal cells, and so on.
 

Darsheel

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isn't this the premise of a lot of comics, sci-fi, and spy flicks?
Also deus ex which is lite
Only if we can get Space Marines and embrace the glory of the Machine, with red robe, radiation gun and mecha tentacles.
Greatly increased lifespan and combat ability to show the ayy-lmaos whose boss.

Not interested in Cyberpuuuunk mega cawk 9000 20 inches stainless steel.
Haha snarky cyborg man go spinning you with my spinable arm
 

Grub Nub

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Thoughts?
1. We already clone pets. Cloning is real.
2. Cloning humans for organ harvesting will not be wide spread, if formally used at all. Too inefficient. 3D printing will take over skin/bone grafts and organ transplant. No need for clones. Now that I think of it, I wonder if 3D printing will become a huge body modification trend.
3. "Not healthy enough to have your own child..." I can totally imagine eugenics picking up as health span increases from gene/nanomachine therapy. Designer babies. This goes into the ethics side.
4. Cloning "good looking" babies or (maybe even) cloning useful people. I doubt it. Why clone when you can augment or engineer.

TL;DR cloning humans doesn't seem very efficient
 

Shiversblood

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They would probably have to make it illegal to have children if they eventually were able to make people immortal. I’m worried they already discovered immortality and it’s just a secret that the most rich of rich billionaires know about and are keeping to themselves. People might try to steal your immortality if they knew about it.
 

Drain Todger

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They would probably have to make it illegal to have children if they eventually were able to make people immortal. I’m worried they already discovered immortality and it’s just a secret that the most rich of rich billionaires know about and are keeping to themselves. People might try to steal your immortality if they knew about it.
People would go utterly apeshit if they knew immortality was being withheld from them. Nothing would collapse society faster than that knowledge.
 

Grub Nub

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They would probably have to make it illegal to have children if they eventually were able to make people immortal. I’m worried they already discovered immortality and it’s just a secret that the most rich of rich billionaires know about and are keeping to themselves. People might try to steal your immortality if they knew about it.
If anyone is withholding treatment, I'd guess it'd be because of logistics (how to start rolling it out to whom). New anti-aging treatments would be very beneficial to preserving the economies of countries with an aging population. But imagine people getting this treatment then being asked "can you go back to work now?" lol
 

Male Idiot

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If anyone is withholding treatment, I'd guess it'd be because of logistics (how to start rolling it out to whom). New anti-aging treatments would be very beneficial to preserving the economies of countries with an aging population. But imagine people getting this treatment then being asked "can you go back to work now?" lol

A lot of older white men would be quite pleased with that, as long as their past experience counted.
 

Drain Todger

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If anyone is withholding treatment, I'd guess it'd be because of logistics (how to start rolling it out to whom). New anti-aging treatments would be very beneficial to preserving the economies of countries with an aging population. But imagine people getting this treatment then being asked "can you go back to work now?" lol
They would only do it if they could depopulate the planet by 60 to 90% first, getting rid of all menial laborers and replacing them with robots. Some NationStates players lampooned this brilliantly:


It's a satire of how the rich see us, except it's disturbingly close to reality.
 

ToroidalBoat

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"Trans-humanism" via DNA engineering can be used to turn people into "perfect serfs" that serve tyrants.

And becoming machines - assuming that is even possible - is just wrong, and can be used to make "serfs".
 
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Maurice Caine

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Maurice Caine

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From reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/qejgz9/ai_that_can_learn_causeandeffect_these_neural/

1635085528015.png


As if.
 

ToroidalBoat

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Even then, there's still challenges and issues with mind uploading though.

(Can You Upload Your Mind & Live Forever? - YouTube)
tl;dw: feasibility is unknown

also related article: A Perfect Murder – The Soul of the East
Man is the being through and by which the discarding of biology is coming to pass, because he is capable of creating technology and, by dissolving his biological foundation, integrating himself into the world-system. He is able to assume a form perfectly appropriate for dead infinity - that of the machine.

Notably, posthumanists view all existence as an information system.
 
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Lichen Bark

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tl;dw: feasibility is unknown

also related article: A Perfect Murder – The Soul of the East
Once you copy all your neuronal patterns over to the silicon, what do they do with you? Is there two of you now? I mean we don't really even understand consciousness and this individual experience, but somehow we can preserve it in a machine? I want to see them move a persons mind, from his body to a machine, and then back into his old body again.

Reminds me of the transporter problem.
https://jimhull.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/the-transporter-problem/

How does your innate sense of awareness, that feeling you get when you wake up in the morning, move into this machine?
 

scathefire

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Once you copy all your neuronal patterns over to the silicon, what do they do with you? Is there two of you now? I mean we don't really even understand consciousness and this individual experience, but somehow we can preserve it in a machine? I want to see them move a persons mind, from his body to a machine, and then back into his old body again.

Reminds me of the transporter problem.
https://jimhull.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/the-transporter-problem/

How does your innate sense of awareness, that feeling you get when you wake up in the morning, move into this machine?
Yeah, "uploading your brain" is completely pointless unless it's your actual consciousness being moved. I guess the point is that a version of you can continue to exist for the people around you, but it's by no means a way of actually living forever.
 

Drain Todger

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Once you copy all your neuronal patterns over to the silicon, what do they do with you? Is there two of you now? I mean we don't really even understand consciousness and this individual experience, but somehow we can preserve it in a machine? I want to see them move a persons mind, from his body to a machine, and then back into his old body again.

Reminds me of the transporter problem.
https://jimhull.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/the-transporter-problem/

How does your innate sense of awareness, that feeling you get when you wake up in the morning, move into this machine?
I posted it in the vids spoiler of the OP, but this is my favorite animation about the transporter problem and the identity issues entailed in it:


In Star Trek, Riker was cloned by a transporter, and in Altered Carbon, it's quite possible for one's DHF to be put into more than one body, although it's highly illegal.

98% of all the atoms in our body are replaced every year. You're not made of the same stuff you were ten years ago. Not even close. And yet, thanks to your memories, you still have the impression of being "you". Identity is a difficult thing to unravel because it's tied into the hard problem of consciousness. We don't know how consciousness arises from matter, yet. Our observations of brain activity are still quite crude. We don't have anything like a complete model of a human brain's functions down to the atomic scale, either.

A lot of people who are in favor of mind uploading don't think that continuity of consciousness is even a thing. They assume that they will just wake up as the same being.
 

Nom Carver

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If you legitimately believe you can somehow make a computer conscious then you have no idea what you're talking about. Even animals and everything they have ever done can easily be compared to the surprising dynamic capabilities and (perceived) intellect of neural network AIs we've made. This stuff can be way more capable then we give it credit for. There's a really good example here:

From an outside perspective, one might assume that the AI playing this game is conscious and intelligent. Yet, one could sit down with a calculator (and an absurd amount of time) and manually do every calculation happening within that system to arrive at the exact same conclusion. How is that consciousness?

It's why people assume that animals somehow have a 'lower level of consciousness' compared to us despite the dramatic and clear disconnect between us and them. Animals have never made anything. So called 'stone ages' animals have entered amount to nothing more than using their environment to their advantage, like cracking open nuts with rocks. Yet, an animal has never done anything so simple as even putting a sharp rock on the end of a stick. An AI similarly would be totally incapable of inventing something novel like that unless artificially bumped in the right direction of being commanded to make a spear, or commit actions that would lead to the creation of a spear. They are machines programmed to act according to instinct and to dynamically learn and behaviorally adapt to a given situation.

Your body and brain are also machines, but what stops us from just being another animal is your consciousness. This subjectivity in and of itself, our ability to invent new things and to imagine literally anything (envisioning and conceptualizing are two different things. You can conceptualize anything (like a new color) easily, but you cannot envision it because envisioning lies within your previous experience of sight) would be totally impossible to recreate using just numbers and math that works off of unchanging, deterministic rules.

TL;DR: Animals and AI are remarkably similar. Animals are just biological machines. Numbers and math cannot make consciousness. Descartes was right.

That being said though if there is ever some magical way to transfer consciousness, then I could see that working. If the human brain is just a biological computer and your consciousness is basically controlling it like a vehicle, then I don't see why your consciousness couldn't be hooked up to a computer or even a different animal. Though if one ever makes a physics simulation of a human brain, I'd bet that what you'd get would be a human animal rather than a human being, as in, a human but without the consciousness, just acting like a primate. When it comes to consciousness, there's really no bar high enough for its existence, for all we know consciousness could transcend this existence and all of its laws entirely. Perhaps your imagination permits total creation in the absence of the rules that govern this reality? Almost as if this reality is kind of like a game to participate in? Though now it's starting to go off the rails and frankly into the realm of uselessness.


I'm more than happy to see any evidence someone can put forwards of an animal or AI creating something new. There isn't any that exists, but I'd love to see people bring it up.

Also on the topic of immortality: No please. If you wanna piss around for longer than normal or potentially even until heat death of the universe forces you to die so you can actually leave this place then go right ahead. But I am more than happy to die when I die. Living forever sounds like hell. And honestly I can't fathom being scared of death in any existential measure. After all, you exist now. What's gonna happen to you when you die? Non existence? Based on what? A theory that consciousness is just your brain functions despite zero supporting evidence? It feels like science has turned from proving what's true to a religion trying to dictate what's true.
 
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annoyingfuck

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I found something to add, then read the first post again and saw I got an actual invite (that I somehow missed), and got autistically excited, and completely forgot and misplaced what it was I was going to add.

So you can have this little number from last year.

For the purposes of this publication, human augmentation does not include leadership and excludes technologies that bestow capabilities not directly linked to existing human function (for example, flying).

Goddamnit, don't they know that (my bolding) is the only reason I wanted to read it. If I have to be a slave, thanks to these words here on pg.12 Conceptualising the human as a platform, I want to fly goddamnit!

 

Hypothermia

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Past's sci-fi is today, and today's sci-fi is tomorrow. Every single tech news makes me go "Ted was right". I used to be fascinated by new cyber technologies when I was a kid.