[ExI] This is one amazing robot!

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Oct 24 16:38:52 UTC 2013

On Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 10:21:07AM -0600, Kelly Anderson wrote:

> Eugen, your pessimism is showing again. Would you like an optimism
> transfusion? I think I have enough for both of us.
> It was only in the 1990s that we sequenced the entire human genome. And now

That was two decades ago. What impact on human longevity has that
knowledge given us, so far? 

> look what it costs:
> http://bit.ly/18PrQUD
> That is a truly shocking curve.

I agree it's a good thing. I wish we knew how to engineer
genomes to build proteins to specs.
> We are only just now bringing anything based on that huge breakthrough to
> the marketplace. Understanding the human genome will take time, but we are
> parsing it with increasingly powerful computers. Get the protein folding

Computers are good for many things, but ability to engineer organisms
is not yet one of them. Arresting nevermind reversing aging in a living 
adult animal is a massive molecular-scale control problem. This spells 
medical nano, and we can't do even the basic MNT stuff. GMO is pretty
weak sauce, and would only work in the yet unborn. 

> algorithm down, and we'll see some real breakthroughs real fast. Yes it is
> a hard problem. Can it be solved? Maybe with special hardware or something.
> Maybe with online games.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foldit
> Start parsing the genome of various plants and animals, and we'll figure
> out even more stuff.
> Medicine is making a radical jump towards being more predictably scientific

One of my hats involves reading primary medical literature, and unfortunately
I'm not seeing anything too radical there, yet.

> and less trial and error prone. This really does make a difference. If you
> can predict what a compound might do without animal trials, the things you
> can do with the same amount of research money start to go up a Moore's Law
> kind of curve. That's a game changer, don't you think?

You sound like me, early 1990s. Virtual screening is pretty much dead now.
> Said another way, when medicine becomes engineering, won't that change the
> rules of the game?
> And can't you see that medicine is evolving towards engineering?

I can see that. I just don't see much relevant progress since I was
17. I then thought we'll need to freeze, and now it's three decades
later. It seems that I was correct.
> There is no limit on the resource of human ingenuity over time in such

There's one thing: we haven't got too much time to buy us more time.

> matters. This isn't a limited resource like sweet crude. Just walk into the
> light Eugen!

Optimism is considered dangerous to your health.

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