Re: Nanotech control systems (was Re: Transhuman Beach Party)

Robert J. Bradbury (
Fri, 10 Sep 1999 00:01:40 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 10 Sep 1999 wrote:

> Well, yes, but developmental genes are off in adults. The developmental
> tweaks we're getting good at are ineffective in adults and unsafe for
> children.

But are there any barriers to *enabling* them? I believe that there was a recent announcement that scientists had discovered a collection of 3-4 genes that in *adult* mice allowed wound healing to take on the characteristics of "normal development" rather than "scar tissue". If it doesn't involve dozens of genes, we already have the tools (though they are somewhat unrefined) to turn them on or off.

I would never promote doing anything in children, except perhaps the correction of a legitimate "defect". But in adults, if I say I want a third arm, what right does the medical community or the government, have to deny me that, *EVEN* if the success rate is only 10%.

> For spare parts we need in vitro organs plus reactivation of neural
> development.

Would you perhaps qualify *what* organs need neural development and why? Heart, I might accept, liver or kidney I would be more skeptical about.

> We still can't do that in any system, never mind routinely.
> We can grow things like ears but a hand is well over a decade off.

I suspect we will be able to "grow" them, however the really difficult part will be connecting communication lines (nerves) in functional ways. That is likely to remain difficult. However, the insertion of a neural-net mapping chip that is both "programmable" and has a much higher training rate than normal neurons seems a reasonable solution to this problem. So if we can grow them (in less than a decade), I think technologies from foreign disciplines will solve the functional augmentation difficulties.