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The GRIN Revolution

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Saru Inc, Nov 3, 2010.

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  1. Saru Inc

    Saru Inc Schrödinger's Pussy
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    The GRIN (Genetic, Robotic, Info, Nano) revolution, will be occuring on our planet soon. I had to write an essay about this, and it got me thinking, I'd think it made a great topic. Since i am tired, and my bedtime was 2 hours ago, I'll make this a short post.

    The GRIN revolution will essentially allow us to halt aging, cure the vast majority of diseases, eradicate mental disorders, and chemical imbalances such as prolonged depression, forever. It will allow us to create the most complex robots every fathomed, perhaps one day in a 100 years or so, those of Isaac Asimov's standards. And it will allow us to master the nano technology and the like, to create the most complex -- well -- anything, ever imagined. But, should we? Just because we can do something, should we? What are your thoughts?


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    Just because I can, and to let myself go to bed sooner, I will simply copy and paste the essay I wrote.

    Forgive the grammatical errors, I am the KING of comma splices ( :) ), so yea. My philosophy teacher doesn't care about that, so neither do I.

    Be able to discuss the fact that humankind – using the powers bestowed by the GRIN revolution – is now at the threshold of being able to begin a process of directly altering human nature. Give examples. What ethical questions might be raised by this possibility? Is there something we should do? Given global politics and capitalism, can it be avoided?


    As the human race advances, it tends to do so, in terms of punctuated equilibrium. We go through phases of essentially lying dormant, than series after series of amazingly advanced technological breakthroughs. It is important to note, that after almost every single period of greatness and stride, the human race tends to bite off more than it can chew, and stumble back a few paces. This is mostly because we have always attempted to contort our environments to suit our needs. Now however, as we have sufficed it to say, “controlled our environment,” we are now attempting to control the human condition. Some will say this is not supposed to be, perhaps because it is a different type of technological advance. One should be worried however, if we tamper with who humans are, and then, in accordance with our history, fall back a few steps so to speak, could we cause irreparable damage to who we are, as well as our position on the global pecking order?


    In various locations across the nation and the globe, scientists, geneticists, and the like are cultivating a change in the way the human race will operate. The GRIN revolution, referring of course to the four aspects, genetic, robotic, info, and nano, will change the way not only of how humans will see the world, but how the world will see humans. They, (said scientists, and or geneticists) are on the verge of discovering what causes humans to age. Once this is discovered, we can simply slow it to a halt, extending the life span tremendously. We are already beginning to change the brain, and how it functions; soon perhaps, people will ponder on what it’s like to be upset. We can create robots, which will soon replicate the fabled ones in Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot; we can create and thus master such microscopically small nano robots, which will allow us to build the most complex machines to date.


    Not be forgotten though, is the question, because something can be done, should it be done? Many people, Author included, believe some things should not be tampered with. While I, and many others are complacent with the eradication of diseases obviously, yet when we get down to dissect the human body into its congruent parts, are we human anymore? What would this do to the human race? If the wealthy can afford to make their children into warriors of quasi Herculean strength, and Einsteinian intelligence, the human society will quickly become lopsided. The poor who cannot afford this, will become overrun, even more so than now, their thoughts, opinions, and aspirations, will all be discounted, I propose; simply because they do not have the deadly sharp intelligence and balanced state of mind the post-humans will have. As well as, during the natural maturing of the body, if a child who for the sake of argument, is a “natural,” (one who has gone through no changing during conception) goes to school, and gets upset at the fact they are struggling with Algebra, while only in the 5th grade, (suggesting they are already an extremely bright individual) because their classmates have already mastered Trigonometry. Add on to that, the fact that their now “outdated” brain still has its chemical imbalances, the child will feel horrible shame, when in other circumstances, the child would have appropriately been praised for being remarkable. The human will no longer be human, and that is my objection. The human will objectified into an on object to be improved on, not humanly, but mechanistically (I built my child better than yours), we should love, encourage, punish, lift up, and bring down; humans for who they are, not who they should be.


    While I do not think unfortunately there is anything we can do about this at this time, because unlike advances before that can be externally viewed, and the consequences extrapolated, with the GRIN revolution we can only speculate on the consequences. Since the human race is still not quite sure what it is dealing with, neither does the opposing factor. They can’t know how to fight back, until essentially it is too late, if the changing of the genes affects the embryo by perhaps killing it off, and to be extreme, makes the mother barren, the opposition can clearly use this. But how much damage would have already been done? How many mothers will have their firstborns killed in the laboratory, and all future chances to give birth to life taken away from them, before it can be halted? Of course there will be years and years of precautions, and testing done before this would ever be implemented, I honestly expect something like this to happen. And that is why I stand by the opinion we should not delve into this at all, for if we discover part of it, our natural curiosity will leave us down a path, where I’m not sure if we could ever find out way. While this may halt some advances, and for anyone knows, it may be for no reason, I am willing to sacrifice technological advances, because I am not willing to take that chance. Conversely, again, there’s no telling if we can stop this before it is too late. With the way the world is currently operating, as each country contributes to the scientific upbringing in the same way, we do not all contribute to the universal moral code in the same way. We may reach scientific ecstasy and oblivion, without preparing ourselves for what the result is. If all we do is advance, advance, advance, as such as our political leaders and ways of thinking tell us to, we will come to the spot where we can go no further, except off the edge of the world, with which our past accomplishments as well as failures, push us ever harder and faster off of the ground we know, and into the air of disaster.


    The human race is a remarkable species; we can innovate, create, correlate, inspire, bring to life, and better ourselves, like no other species on this planet. Even so, at what point should the human race stop? At what point should we say we know enough? We can pause aging, exterminate anxiety, and create robots, that one day, can create as well. But perhaps, because we are such a remarkable species, we should not tamper with ourselves, the way the more primitive species can. If we tinker with our cores, and we change one cell too much, the whole wobbling tower of the human body, condition, and species, may just come apart. This may be unavoidable, since it is an entirely new aspect that while even children have speculated about, no one has ever come this close to actually doing it. I think though, if we tread softly, know where is too much, and perhaps set boundaries, this could be the most beneficial event to ever grace the human population. But given who we are, I doubt this is possible.
     
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  2. Praefect

    Praefect Sparkles

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    A quote I like:

    Stephen Baxter: "You, are becoming Gods. There's a new master of creation, and it's you! Unraveled DNA, and at the same time you're cultivating bacteria strong enough to kill every living thing! Do you think you are ready for that much power? You lot? You lot? Cheeky bastards. You're running around science like pipsqueak gods , creating a new world, while the world you've got is stinking, but, hands up, hands up anyone who thinks you've got it right. Yeah, there's always one. I can see you. If you want the position of God then take the responsibility."

    I'm that one. I say, if we can, then lets. The problem is, in a crowd, there usually is only one.

    I don't think the GRIN revolution is going to happen. Not only are there technical obstacles to each aspect of it that may turn out to be insurmountable, there are social and ethical obstacles. Political obstacles. And then, even if we make progress and are able to alter our own genetic code and end or slow down aging, alter other aspects of ourselves, who really believes that this progress will not be monopolized by the powerful and the few?

    In 40 years, will there be discussion on the senate floor about trickle down immortality?

    Or will there be pitchforks and torches and hangings? The majority of people try to hold on as fast as they can to the world they know rather than let their children grow up in something alien to the human experience, where those that want to remain human are at a disadvantage they will revolt.

    Just look at the reactions of the first few steps in this revolution. Once it was seen that the concept was possible, that genetic screening could become an option 10 or 20 years down the road enabling eugenics, a EU wide law was written to ban such technologies from ever being used. Technologies that, for a short time, you saw being used in the USA. A company was offering genetic screening services for more than disease, they could screen your fetus for a few traits such as eye color. They ended that service after just a few months due to intense public pressure.

    Society is going to fight this tooth and nail and if push comes to shove, I'm betting on the mobs.

    Look at the intense pressure western civilization put on the Large Hadron Collider. It's a benign machine and anyone who understands the science behind it knows this. But you had your doomsday sayers, and fear mongers, and they did what they could to shut it down. The word black hole put them into a frenzy, though they didn't understand what a black hole was or the complete lack of actual risk within the project. What if there is an actual risk, how much more intense will the pressure be then? Nano technology? It's going to take seconds for someone to bring up the gray goo scenario. You will have nano machines outlawed before you ever see any practical applications of them being used.
     

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