[ExI] Purified humanity

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 7 13:05:47 UTC 2013

BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 6:49 AM, Eugen Leitl wrote:
>> Of course that mutational load is a side effect of evolutionary
>> optimization. Such a brittle system must be henceforth perpetually
>> maintained by manual intervention, or be outcompeted by wild
>> type should that chain ever break.
> As the original article points out, optimization is the wrong word to
> use as description.
> Arbitrary hacks based on previous hacks is more like it.
> Think of computer spaghetti code after a hundred programmers have done
> urgent fixes and patches. Much of the code is bypassed by later fixes.
> A lot of it no longer works as intended. A lot is no longer needed.
> But the program still manages to work somehow. (Though nobody is quite
> sure how!).  It's a mess.

It certainly looks like a hell of a mess, and it's easy to see how inevitable it is that we get ridiculous results like our inside-out eyes, and crappy spines, and all sorts of other just-good-enough-to-sort-of-work structures and mechanisms that any self-respecting engineer would commit hara-kiri over if they'd had any hand in them.

It's very tempting to conclude that we need to re-design the whole mess in order to gain any sort of control over it (so that we can improve our lives, extend our capabilities, lifespans, etc.).  To optimise it.

I think that, in a sense, you're both right, and a highly-optimised biology, while working much better, would also be very brittle, and lack the flexibility of naturally-evolved systems.  Maybe what we need to do is build efficient systems, then make them less-efficient again by building in lots of redundancy, back-up mechanisms and ways of doing things differently (see what I did there?), but in a way that gives us much better control over the whole thing.  This probably involves understanding biology really, really well.  Probably so well that by the time we do, we won't need it anymore.

Anyway, I do think that spaghetti evolution sucks, and there must be a better way, that can get us the benefits of comprehenisble, controllable systems /and/ resiliency.

Actually, that gives me an idea.  Need to think about it for a bit..

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