Scientists a decade away from artificial life

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by protonaut, Aug 26, 2007.

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  1. protonaut

    protonaut Well-Known Member

    WASHINGTON - Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they’re getting closer.

    Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of “wet artificial life.”

    “It’s going to be a big deal and everybody’s going to know about it,” said Mark Bedau, chief operating officer of ProtoLife of Venice, Italy, one of those in the race. “We’re talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways — in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict.”

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    That first cell of synthetic life — made from the basic chemicals in DNA — may not seem like much to non-scientists. For one thing, you’ll have to look in a microscope to see it.

    “Creating protocells has the potential to shed new life on our place in the universe,” Bedau said. “This will remove one of the few fundamental mysteries about creation in the universe and our role.”

    And several scientists believe man-made life forms will one day offer the potential for solving a variety of problems, from fighting diseases to locking up greenhouse gases to eating toxic waste.

    Bedau figures there are three major hurdles to creating synthetic life:

    * A container, or membrane, for the cell to keep bad molecules out, allow good ones, and the ability to multiply.
    * A genetic system that controls the functions of the cell, enabling it to reproduce and mutate in response to environmental changes.
    * A metabolism that extracts raw materials from the environment as food and then changes it into energy.

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    Read the rest of the article here.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Hae-Gi

    Hae-Gi Banned Member

    Hmm... well... hopefully, this will, somehow, with the creation of rebuilding organisms, be able to reverse and stop aging, soon, so I won't have to die before around 35, anyway.

    I've just read about synthetic human growth hormone... it seems the side-effects can be pretty severe, it's expensive and there doesn't seem to be proof of it really working, anyway (I don't want to die, right now).


    What is worrying, however, is that whatever life is created, most likely will be patented. Even in the short-term, the effects of that is worrying, but in the long-term, we will see patented animals and, eventually, even humanoids; a very unpleasant future, to say the least.
     
  3. Erebos

    Erebos Well-Known Member

    Interesting...
     
  4. Azul

    Azul Well-Known Member

    I welcome this (r)evolution. Life as we know it has many unneccessary faults and we could greatly reduce excessive suffering, it is time for life to impose its own terms instead of suffering what nature gives now that this becomes possible.
    You could say where is the personal freedom, but in the end it doesn't matter how an organism comes about (no one ever chose to get born), it doesn't change anything about the intrinsic value of its life.
     
  5. Erebos

    Erebos Well-Known Member

    I like the related article. "What exactly is life?"
    Oddly enough, we experience it every day, yearn to end it, yet we can barely define it objectively.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20249616/
     
  6. Hae-Gi

    Hae-Gi Banned Member

    I am absolutely certain life can exist, even in data. If a program exactly, in every little detail, mimics the life of an amoeba, how can it be it is not life, in that case?

    Machines can doubtlessly be able to think and have self-conscience... however, most likely, most humans, if it, eventually, happens on this planet, will doubt that that really is the case.
     
  7. xan

    xan Chat Buddy

    I read this atrificial lfe thing a few weeks ago and was quite interested although it seems like at the moment it's still very early stages. If you think about the size of dna to have all the information it does to build humans with only 4 bases that can exist in only certain pairs it's scary. By adding more they'll only make it so much more difficuilt to control already they're saying they're going with the hit and miss approach of making something and letting evolution do whatever it wants. I think it'll be a while before we see any dramatic changes.
     
  8. Anime-Zodiac

    Anime-Zodiac Well-Known Member

    Like with all things which human beings first embark on, there will be flaws and accidents. As long as they move in the right direction then overall this should be very useful.

    Off course there will be those who are against this sort of thing.
     
  9. Axiom

    Axiom Account Closed

    it's like a teenager getting pregnant :biggrin:
     
  10. _nu

    _nu Well-Known Member

    anyone here ever read up on 2012 theory? references terrence mckenna, mayan calendar, and some supposed prophets. basically if a computer can evolve by itself, then it will be super fast, throwing novelty into into infinity (calculus: an increasing limit) by around 2012, according to some 2012 theorists. others claim it'll have something to do with the galaxy and/or the apocalypse. i dont know about the apocalypse, but i sure hope something happens in 2012. Terrence Mckenna thinks we might discover time travel. with computers doing all the researching and analysis for us, i wouldnt doubt all the amazing discoveries soon to come
     
  11. Abacus21

    Abacus21 Staff Alumni

    Sounds good for the Olympics, doesn't it? ;)
     
  12. hammockmonkey

    hammockmonkey Well-Known Member

    I just think of Neuromancer and Wintermute (where my sci-fi nerds at?).

    Patented life is a scarry concept, and one we deal with today, GMOs (genetically modified organisms). They are out there and they are owned.

    as for time travel, I do that everyweekend. Friday roles around, go to the bar and BAM, it's monday. Side effects include, headaches and loss of money.
     
  13. Whitewolf

    Whitewolf Well-Known Member

    I wonder how much longer we can violate the laws of nature and still expect to survive?
    Science has doomed us already, global warming is becoming a problem. I guess now they feel like they should violate the sanctity of nature again? :blink:
    Who is our own worst enemy? Ourselves.
     
  14. Azul

    Azul Well-Known Member

    The sanctity of nature? To me nature is something extremely cruel (and human nature is the cruelest form of nature) I would never sanctify nature.
     
  15. Azul

    Azul Well-Known Member

    If there is anything good in this world, it is the ability to correct natural cruelty (which is natural in itself, when you think about it)
     
  16. Anime-Zodiac

    Anime-Zodiac Well-Known Member

    I agree with you Azul. Mother nature to be honest isn't really that motherly.
     
  17. Whitewolf

    Whitewolf Well-Known Member

    If not for nature, you would not be here. I guess you may find that cruel, but i do not. Nature is only defined as cruel, based on today's perspective. If you are not fit, then survival of the fittest does not benefit you. :unsure: Personally i see survival of the fittest as the greatest hope for the future of humanity.
    Unfortunately, today's governmental policies often try to interfere with natural law.
    An irrelevent point, since i never called put the noun mother before the word nature. However,i believe that many persons put the word mother proceeding the word nature due to the fact that, it is by natural means we are born.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2007
  18. Azul

    Azul Well-Known Member

    "natural law". Ever heard of the naturalistic phallacy?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalistic_fallacy

    the phrase "naturalistic fallacy" is used to refer to the claim that what is natural is inherently good or right, and that what is unnatural is bad or wrong
     
  19. Whitewolf

    Whitewolf Well-Known Member

    Why should I hold George Moore's opinion above my own? Is he more of an authoritative figure on the subject, than myself? I'm a member of wikipedia should i change it, so that it reads "George Moore is a loon?" :tongue:

    Let's look at the objective reality of who is fittest, and who is not.

    Statistical sites for crime:

    Bureau of Justice
    This site has many links, charts and pdf's that can show trends in criminality.
    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/welcome.html

    Another good crime reporting site is:
    F.B.I Uniform Crime Report
    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm

    and an ancillary part of the UCR for age, race, and what not:
    UCR additional publications
    http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/addpubs.htm

    A note of caution, many of the additional publications are in XLS format.(Microsoft Excel spreadsheets)

    A good point for racial demographics is, of course, the Census Bureau.
    http://www.census.gov/

    and the racial demographic page here
    http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/race.html


    Need some statistics about health and race?
    Center for Disease Control
    http://www.cdc.gov/omh/Populations/populations.htm

    Need some labor statistics?
    Bureau of Labor Statistics
    http://stats.bls.gov/home.htm


    I believe there is an evolutionary function to prejudice. It is entirely possible that its roots are not purely cultural. The proclivity for prejudice appears to be deeply rooted in the human psyche, and has been shown to be of distinct utility in furthering the process of speciation.

    The sociobiological nature of 'prejudice' can only be clearly understood if we realize that the emotional tensions generated when diverse ethnic groups are forced into close geographical contact do not derive solely from contrasting cultural systems: they reflect deeply ingrained sociobiological mechanisms which serve an essential evolutionary function. Indeed, they are by no means of modern or even recent origin, in the history of our species.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2007
  20. Hae-Gi

    Hae-Gi Banned Member

    I could never see how someone could find sanctity in some person raping someone else, causing their life to be completely ruined. There is no sanctity in nature. Nature is despicable, and needs to be corrected.
     
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