[ExI] Meat v. Machine (was simulation)

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 29 04:50:35 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----
> From: Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org>
> To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> Sent: Sun, December 26, 2010 3:46:18 AM
> Subject: Re: [ExI] simulation as an improvement over reality
> On Sun, Dec 26, 2010 at 12:48:34AM -0800, The Avantguardian wrote:

> And if you don't like it, you don't have to do it.

Imagine you are on a desert island with Dr. Jeckyll and dozens of innocent 
bystanders. Dr. Jeckyll offers to share an elixer with you that he strongly 
believes will transform anyone who quaffs it into a hirsute, immensely strong, 
and violently homicidal brute. He tells you that he will almost certainly drink 
it but, "if you don't like it, you don't have to do it." What would you do?
> The information pattern between your ears is also pretty volatile.

But the information between my ears is not directly coupled to the information 
in my physical makeup. I can't think myself shorter, taller, or into a 
worm. Uploads would enjoy no such disconnect between implicit and explicit 
information. Some seem to think it may be an advantage, but I think it 
could pose serious risks for the uploaded individual. What happens if an upload 
thinks himself into a philosophical zombie, computer virus, or other entity not 
able to think? Or worse poses a danger to the rest of the world? The danger of a 

stray thought being capable of ending ones existence might give pause to 
some. And yes you could point out that suicide is possible in meat body too, 
however, more than the mere passing thought of suicide is required to kill 
oneself in real time. 
> > > Only, postbiology is a lot fitter than you.
> > 
> > What is your evidence for this assumption? Or is it an article of faith? Do 
> Functionality concentration per amount of volume.

Sigh. Uploaders seem to constantly underestimate how incredible meat is from a 
design standpoint. Some of the simplest meat out there, E. coli bacteria, puts 
engineered technology to shame. The following is something akin to the 
engineering specs for E. coli:

Functionality per unit volume is difficult to measure because functionality is 
not well defined, but here is a back of the envelope calculation based on the 
assumption that distinct genes represent distinct functions: 4377 genes 
per bacterium divided 

by a cell volume of 10^-15 liters, gives functionality per unit volume of a 
bacterium as 4.377 *trillion* functions per cubic millimeter. What technology 
does that? Computers may push numbers around with similar functional density, 
but a bacterium is pushing atoms around, cutting them apart and welding them 
together. Sure people can imagine technology achieving this kind of functional 
density someday, but I certainly wouldn't take it for granted.   
>  Repertoire of accessible
> structures.
Frankly, I don't know how to assess this other than to say that the diversity of 

biological structures is vast.
> Operation temperature range.
Admittedly I'd score this one for the machines.
> Facultative volatile use.
How about Alcanivorax borkumensis? As its name suggests, it eats alkanes like 
oil and gasoline. 
> Fully
> static design.
Coral reefs? I am not sure why static design would be an advantage. "You're a 
steam shovel and that's all you'll ever amount too!"
> Energy efficiency.
Meat has an energy efficiency of 68 percent as long as it has oxygen to breath. 
That's really close to the *theoretical* efficiency of the ideal Carnot engine 
and as efficient as a really good rocket engine in practice. 
> Separation of fabrication and operation.
Again, I am not sure why this is an advantage? Would maintenance and replacement 

of worn parts constitute fabrication or operation? How about sex?
> Ability to metabolize the entire PSE.

Solving your all problems by eating them? Ok so grey goo has this advantage over 

meat although I hesitate to call it an advantage. But who wants to be grey 

> I could go on for pages, but you're probably seeing where I'm getting.
> Yes, they're way meaner and leaner than us.

Actually I hoping for more substantive evidence and less speculative hand waving 

for your assertion that postbiology is superior to biology. You ever seen what 
happens to an automobile after a few years in a rainforest? It gets reclaimed by 

nature. I saw one a few years ago. I wish I had taken pictures of it. 

> > mean more fit than me in the vacuum of space or in the jungle? In a virtual 
> Everywhere. And jungle is crunchy, and good with ketchup.

Not if the fire ants have any say in the matter and they very well could.
> > reality or within ten feet of an active Tesla coil? Fitness is relative 
> You're in a virtual reality, rendered by a meat computer. 
> > to your environment, to the guy next to you, to any predators, and to the 
> > "microbes" beneath your contempt. And if postbiology is manufactured using 
> Microbes are pretty cool.

Glad you think so. Meat is amazing in all its forms.
> The nice thing is that you can halt state, copy over, and resume.
> No such options for us.

halt state := freeze, copy over := clone, resume := thaw
Albeit it only works for cells and tissues right now, give it time.
> I use the term exactly because machine-phase is like biology, only more
> so, and is successor to current biology (both can't co-exist, due to
> fitness delta and incompatbility (they can eat you, you can't eat them)).

There are bacteria that eat iron so why would you assume they couldn't compete 
with machine-phase biology? You think the 
conclusion is foregone, I think it would be quite the contest perhaps the 
main event of 

a geologic epoch-- liquid-crystal life versus solid-state life. If machine-phase 
life is so inevitable and so 

superior, where are the Von Neumann probes?

> Pretty much everything poses a serious problem. It's interesting that so
> many suffer a failure of imagination. The world is already stranger than
> we can imagine, and it's shortly going to get A Lot Worse. (Or, better,
> actually).
It's when you say things like this, I think you might have some hope as a 
mystic yourself. ;-)
> > > So we are the endangered species, for a change.
> > > It would be an act of cosmic irony, if the perpetrators of the Holocene
> > > extinction event themselves succumbed to habitat destruction and industrial 
> > > pollution at the hands of their offspring. Mere indifference would be 
> > 
> > There is no irony in this and H. sapiens would not be the first species to 
> Oh, but many will find it ironic indeed. "How could this happen to us? Kings
> of the world, etc."
> > done this. The cyanobacteria did exactly this when they evolved chlorophyll 
> Archaea are pretty low on irony department, I hear. Pretty square customers.
> > threated all life by unleashing oxygen on the world.  
> But they were not aware of what they're doing. We are, yet we're still doing 
The universe is notoriously indifferent to ones mental state. It only 
evaluates actions and not the rationalizations behind them. To the gazelle being 

stalked by the lion, the consequences of indifference and unawareness are the 
> It's less about perks like living forever, it's more about transcending the
> limitations of being a bipedal primate. It tends to cramp your style a bit.

Solid-state organisms would have limitations too so you would simply be 
trading one set of limitations for another.
> > gets indefinite run time. That's not any closer to immortality than having 
> > or writing a book. Even if one didn't upload onself, a simple brute-force 
> Ah, you're a mystic. Didn't realize that before.

Yes I am a mystic (emergent properties, math, and the like) but you are 
not completely a reductionist either.

> "After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time 
> together of Bishop Berkeley's ingenious sophistry to prove the 
> non-existence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is 
> merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine 
> is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget 
> the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with 
> mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it, 
> 'I refute it thus.'"

Reality is. Nuff said.

Stuart LaForge 

"There is nothing wrong with America that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, 
and energy of her citizens cannot cure."- Dwight D. Eisenhower


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