Re: a new thread

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Fri May 12 2000 - 12:26:16 MDT

"Ian Field" <> writes:

> Any thoughts on human genetic manipulation? Say, with the purpose of =
> creating a workable interface between an electronic microprocessor and a =
> human mind? Throw in some nanotechnology for physical interaction... =

How would genetic modifications of the genome create a good
brain-computer interface?

I think we transhumanists have to be careful about our enthusiasm and
think carefully about the relative timeframes and levels of comelexity
needed to achieve certain things. Setting upp chemical gradients in
the brain so that engineered neurons growing on animplant can reach
the right areas seems doable in the relatively near future; creating a
nice socket on the skull through genetic engineering is much, much
harder (requires us to master localized morphogenesis). And of course,
nanotechnology is something completely different.

> Education equates to software development... Implications?

As The Great Cathulhu pointed out, the similarities are small. I would
actually say practically zero. Software development has a definite
goal, which is sought using various methodologies building a
system. Education has a very loose goal of creating a great adult
human being, but is an interaction between a learning agent and an
environment where other agents try to achieve this goal.

This goes both for todays humans and for augmented humans tomorrow -
if I had a chip in my head providing instant access to information
when I was a small kid, it would still just have been a high-potence
information source I had to integrate into my growing cognitive
network. If an augmented human can be designed like a software
project, then either the entities doing the project are of such a high
order of capability that they are definitely posthuman, or the
"augmented" human will be extremely simple and predictable. True
learning and education is a synthesis of various forms of information
into new and useful cognitive patterns. This is unpredictable and
highly individual - even simple neural networks develop different
internal representations when you train them in different runs.

I think gardening is the best metaphor I can come up with for
education right now.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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