[extropy-chat] A Grim Vision ...?

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Sun Apr 15 14:52:13 UTC 2007

On 4/15/07, Keith Henson <hkhenson at rogers.com> wrote:
> You *can't* grow food in a "relatively sealed greenhouse."  Think about
> it.

Ok, yes, one has the problem of adding the CO2, releasing the O2 and
retaining the H2O, *but* they have different condensation temperatures and
it isn't as if we don't know how to do this type of separation.  Its also
true that the Saudi's aren't lacking for CO2 to enrich the greenhouses with
CO2 given how much methane I expect they are flaring from oil fields (or
outputs from oil or methane fueled power plants).

> Shortly after you have this much ability to design living things, I expect
> you could just run humans (or simulations) directly on electricity.

That design  capability is much closer than you think Keith.  We've got  ~33
years of experience engineering microorganisms (since the first  genetic
engineering labs were built in the mid-70s).  The blueprints have been in
the databases for  nearly a decade (since the late '90s).  You've got at
least two companies now (Codon Devices & Synthetic Genomics) working on
providing robust technologies in these areas to "end users" at an affordable
cost.  The photosynthetic systems and starch production systems are well
understood biochemical systems.  We do *not* yet have the blueprints or
electric eels (or even sharks which are capable of sensing minute electric
currents).  Running humans as sims on electricity requires the development
of mind uploading or the synthesis of a full AI and I'd put those at least
20, more likely 30 years, post the first concrete example of a completely
synthetic bacteria (we are several years into the era of completely
synthetic viruses).

Now whether the Saudis would get their future planning together to engineer
something like this isn't clear.  I'd place greater probability on something
like this being developed in the UAE, esp. Dubai since they seem to be the
most forward thinking.

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