Re: Genetic transition to posthumanism

Date: Sat May 19 2001 - 15:07:00 MDT wrote:
> We don't have anything complex that grows in a fermenter.

You can grow nematodes in a fermenter up to kg scale. They're
pretty complex in my book. The point is not complexity, the
point is availability of nutrients being the bottleneck for
growth when you want houses to grow from acorns in the field.
There's not all that much energy and nutrient density available
in the field. Plus, there are parasites. What do you do if your
house seedling gets a bad case of mycoplasma? Do you want your
construction people to daily look out for nitrogen and
microelements in the soil, and see that the bark doesn't get
infested with wood bugs?

Then rather give me the photosynthetic mat on your houseroof
which secretes methanol down a tendril leading into a subterraneous

> The fact that they're simple is essential to fast growth in
> a fermenter - you can just mix them around.

> There's no threshold in structural complexity. You can and do

No, but there's a threshold in our knowledge and manipulability
of complexity. As of 2001, we're still stumbling in the mist
without a clue. I need to know the structure production and
addressing code in the dog if I want to make a sixlegged
canine (provided I would want to make myself guilty of dire
pointless stupidity and needless cruelty to a higher animal).

> have structure at any size and any degree of precision. We can
> structurally modify plants, a bit, but nothing like the precision
> required. For house-growing, deviations of a fraction of an

Of course, we have hardly started yet. In many cases we haven't
even gotten sequence, and sequence is the first step towards
structure, which is the first step towards interaction, which is
the first step towards emergence. And the macroscale stuff and
change in stuff is pure emergence.

> inch would have to be recognized and communicated across the
> organism and we don't have anything like that in plants.

Biology can make structural patterns on whale scale. That seems
to be sufficient for a house.

Of course, the real approach is: if you think you need a house,
you're doing something wrong. If you want to live in a hard vacuum
as your native habitat, biology is clearly not the answer. Canned
monkeys can only be the first, bungling step. Planetary surfaces
are negligable. Whatever we're doing down here is not going to be
of any relevance whatsoever.

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