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Sep 6, 2012

GENCODE Apocalypse

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, business, chemistry, complex systems, counterterrorism, defense, ethics, events, evolution, existential risks, futurism, geopolitics, habitats, homo sapiens, human trajectories, life extension, lifeboat, media & arts, military, open source, policy, space, supercomputing, sustainability, transparency

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905134912.htm

It is a race against time– will this knowledge save us or destroy us? Genetic modification may eventually reverse aging and bring about a new age but it is more likely the end of the world is coming.

The Fermi Paradox informs us that intelligent life may not be intelligent enough to keep from destroying itself. Nothing will destroy us faster or more certainly than an engineered pathogen (except possibly an asteroid or comet impact). The only answer to this threat is an off world survival colony. Ceres would be perfect.

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  • JohnHunt on September 6, 2012 5:49 pm

    > The Fermi Paradox informs us that intelligent life may not be intelligent enough to keep from destroying itself.

    That is such a succinct, even poetic way of putting it. Hope you don’t mind my using that phrase myself!

    Even if GENCODE information extends lifetimes even indefinitely, that in-and-of-itself will not prevent that same knowledge from being used in existential ways. For example, say we could use that info to stop aging, that info could also be used to target otherwise immortal humans with a thoroughly lethal virus.

    It has been said that prediction is easy except for when dealing with the future. Even intelligent people have a hard time anticipating all novel threats. New knowledge, especially in biotechnology, can yield multiple difficult-to-predict threats. With time, the number of threats cumulate and are generally not retired as quickly as knowledge creates new ones. For example, if you lived in the 1700s and wanted to kill millions of people using technology of the time, how many options did you have? But by the end of this century, there will be multiple categories of self-replicating technology with numerous variants with each category wih enabling technology cheap enough to be afforded by possibly millions of people.

  • JohnHunt on September 6, 2012 5:52 pm

    I look forward to the close-up views of Ceres. I fear that it will look much like Vesta — apparently dry and without cold traps. Gary, again, how would you get 1 gee on Ceres?

  • JohnHunt on September 6, 2012 5:53 pm

    Apart from a circular roller coaster track, can you think of an earlier, cheaper solution?

  • GaryChurch on September 6, 2012 6:26 pm

    Not dry according to this team from Cornell

    http://www.space.com/1526-largest-asteroid-fresh-water-earth.html

    The problem with getting 1G is that small centrifuge devices end up causing more problems than they are worth. My only good solution is the sleeper train under the crust of these low gravity icy bodies. The ice makes it easy to excavate the torus and the low gravity makes it easy to run the train. Sleeping in a tiny centrifuge is probably the worst way to go. If you have a better idea let me know John.

    by the way John, if you are commenting on other sites how about linking others here so we can try and resurrect this blog. It used to be fairly active and I recieved comments from some fairly famous engineers and authors. I came back and it is dead. The gravity quack Solomon and Mad Otto seem to have driven a stake in it’s heart.
    Regards,
    Gary