Re: Fortune Article: Blessings from the Book of Life

Date: Sun Mar 05 2000 - 15:00:50 MST

In a message dated 3/1/00 7:48:56 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

> >
> >
> > "Blessings from the Book of Life
> > Decoding the human genome will yield a bounty of biotech
> > miracles that will transform our lives in the next 40 years."
> Pessimists, bloody #$#*$# pessimists. Forty years is the amount
> of time it took to understand that DNA was the information
> carrier (1953), to the time people seriously started adding big
> chunks of it to the databases (1993).
> If we can't move faster than that in our information enhanced
> environment, then there are some people who should be taken out
> of the lab and shot to make room for the youngsters who don't
> have as many preconceptions about what "can't" be done!!!
> Ten years, ten years, I tell you, no more than ten years!
> If we don't have significant progress by then, we will clearly
> have in its place, evidence of our conservatism murduring people.

Robert, I agree; but I'm also afraid that the Fortune article may be right,
because it is implicitly taking into account the dreadfully slow governmental
bureaucratic therapeutic approval process, which is woven into every step of
the innovation process, from experimental design through final product
marketing. The warp and woof of this fabric is the assumptions about what is
POSSIBLE that investors at each stage will bring to bear on their capital
allocation decisions. And the slowest common denominator in those
assumptions is the regulatory approval process.

As you know, I think the only way to significantly accelerate this process is
by doing an end-run around many of the current institutional structures and
restrictions on doing anti-aging and augmentation work. This will require
creating a sufficiently robust and well-articulated R&D infrastructure beyond
the reach of current regulatory institutions that it can attract adventurous
investment. If the "dot com" wave of wealth creation continues and the
incubator frenzy continues to develop, I believe there WILL be a sufficient
pool of investment capital to fund such an end-run. However, it will take a
well-funded concerted effort by a fairly sophisticated enterprise to create
the target R&D infrastructure to attract that capital. A bootstrap problem .
. .

      Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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