[extropy-chat] Self replication again (was MARS: Because it is hard)

Jeff Davis jrd1415 at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 16 22:40:38 UTC 2004

--- "Robert J. Bradbury" <bradbury at aeiveos.com> wrote:
> On Thu, 15 Apr 2004, Alan Eliasen wrote:
> > ...A longer accelerator may be more expensive 
> >to build, (anything kilometers long probably gets 
> >expensive) but the power requirements are reduced. 
> But *not* if you have either a nanofactory or
> self-replicating nanobots to produce the accelerator

> parts.

Again with the nano.  

Okay, look, bio nano is here now, fully functioning
self-rep with 100% closure, but humans are just barely
embarked on elucidating the details of how this works,
towards the end of developing "mature" bioengineering
capabilities.  Inserting a gene for HGH into E. coli
is to bioengineering what a caveman with a rock is to
modern industrial engineering.  Nevertheless, it's a

Nano--as in MNT-- is even more primitive.  Mostly
theory--good theory, I'll grant, fun theory-- but
nevertheless theory of the most primitive sort.  As to
engineering capabilities,... so close to zero at this
point that well, speaking honestly, it's non-existent.
 Don't get me wrong.  I'm not puttin' it down.  GO

For mega-project enabling, the real key is improved
productivity.  When you say that something is overly
expensive, you're really saying that productivity is
overly low. 

For a long time I was hooked on the idea of self-rep
as the holy grail of ultra-productivity.  But recently
the Foresight people have stepped back from
self-rep--I think as a way of stuffing the grey goo
evil genie back in the bottle.  They've declared that
MNT can still deliver sans self-rep.  I thought it
over, and I agree.  Which also helped me to step back
from my own somewhat-rigid devotion to self-rep, and
to see self-rep as a "best case", an "upper bound", a
"theoretical ideal" in the overall range of values for
industrial productivity: caveman with rock at one end,
robot n builds robot n+1 at the other.  Everything in
between--all "real world" industrial
production--involves some mix of human and machine
input.  Even the purest of self-rep requires that the
"seed" be designed and built by an evolved (as
distinguished from "designed") bio-intelligence--ie
humans (on this planet anyway).

The lesson learned then, is that one can pursue
quantum leaps in productivity by applying the
principle of self-rep ***REALISTICALLY***: seek, but
obsess not re closure.  I am reminded of Robert's
words:  a factory which builds factories.  That's the

Which brings me to my point.  Nano schmano.  Factories
we can build right now.  Nanofactories we cannot. 
NanoSanta lies beyond the Veil of Maya.  MacroSanta
can be assembled today, off the shelf.

What's more, about a year ago I stumbled upon THE
crucial missing piece, the key to implementation, and 
now my meglamoniacal plan is aborning.  Grand Poobah
of the Galactic Imperium has a pleasant ring to it,
but then I've long been fond of Emperor of the
Universe.  It has poetry.  Oligarch is  really cool,
too.  Anyway, I guess I can leave those decisions for

Supplicants, acolytes, and apostles take a number.    

Bwaah, hah hah.

Best, Jeff Davis

           "I thought I was taller."*
                           Milton Berle

* Uncle Milty raises his stogey as if to take a puff,
then jabs his forehead with the chewed-on end.  And

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