On the Destiny of the Species: What Would Darwin Think 150 Years After 'The Origin of the Species'

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Presentation about the morphing from genes to bemes as the next step in the quest for survivable self-replication codes, delivered at World Transhumanist Association meeting in Chicago

Presentation about the morphing from genes to bemes as the next step in the quest for survivable self-replication codes, delivered at World Transhumanist Association meeting in Chicago

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  • 1. On the Destiny of the Species What Would Darwin Think 150 Years After ‘The Origin of the Species’ Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D. TransVision07 Chicago, IL 2007-07-25 2300 GMT
  • 2. Variation (Diversity) Is Key to Survival
    • “ Natural selection acts exclusively by the preservation and accumulation of variations, which are beneficial under the organic and inorganic conditions to which each creature is exposed at all periods of life. The ultimate result is that each creature tends to become more and more improved in relation to its conditions. This improvement inevitably leads to the gradual advancement of the organization of the greater number of living beings throughout the world.” -Charles Darwin
  • 3. Darwin Was a Transpeciest
    • He saw nothing essential to any specific species
    • He believed all species emanated from, and evolved into, other species
    • He believed, expanding your species brought prosperity
    • He would most likely recognize the possibility of artificial life forms as a predictable part of natural selection.
  • 4. If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people. --- Old Chinese Proverb
  • 5. Growing People
    • To grow people, you must first learn what they are made of
      • Evolutionary biologists view human consciousness as an enormously complex firmware sub-routine
      • That firmware is spelled out in 30,000 genes of DNA software
    • Although we are making strides, scientists have little knowledge of the genes that spell out the complex neurology of our brains
  • 6. What We Do Know
    • A simple code or formula can produce complex patterns, for example
      • Weaving patterns
      • Chaos patterns
    • There is no other logical explanation for how brains are pre-wired for such an extensive array of behaviors
  • 7. Terminology & Analogies Behavioral expressions like moving DNA-defined neural paths Learned ways to use neural paths Human Example Input/Output aspects such as display Logic circuits burned into chips Operating system; Applications Computer Example Hardware Firmware Software
  • 8. Why Do We Have So Many DNA Codes if the Code is Just Suppose to Replicate Itself
  • 9. Answers to the Key Question for Evolutionary Biologists
    • Nature frustrates its own programming, in order to evolve and promote survival
    • DNA molecules enable DNA to copy itself and create a host body, that produces more copies
      • Replication occasionally scrambles the code
      • Scrambled DNA is usually destroyed by molecules that digest useless DNA
      • Some scrambled DNA gives rise to new DNA codes and new host forms
    • In short, DNA does more than simply replicate itself, it replicates DNA coding, not only DNA codes
  • 10. Scrambled DNA is the Catalyst for Evolution
    • If the scrambled DNA changes the host’s structure, new species may be born
    http://www.artdiamondblog.com/images/FishMissingLinkFossilSmaller-thumb.jpg http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/elephants/about/evolution.php
  • 11. To An Evolutionary Biologist, History Looks Like This
    • First there were nothing but gases
    • The gases collided for eons and eventually formed molecules from which later came DNA
    • DNA began reproduction and scrambling process
    • A purpose for life was created, its self-perpetuation, for that is what it does
    Art by Andrew C. Stewart http://www.solarvoyager.com/images/art/New%20Earth%20by%20Andrew%20C%20Stewart.jpg
  • 12. All About Self-Replicating Code and the Environment
    • First came RNA
    • Then DNA
    • DNA that permitted no “goof-ups,” became extinct as the environment that nurtured the original DNA turned hostile
    • The purpose of life is to replicate the replication process, of which RNA & DNA are just examples
  • 13. Status Quo is Not an Option
    • “ But Natural Selection, we shall hereafter see, is a power incessantly ready for action…” - Charles Darwin
  • 14. Where to Go From Here
    • At the end of eons of “goof-ups” sits Homo Sapiens Sapiens, but history has taught us that it shouldn’t stop there
    • Dangers await those who don’t evolve, such as:
      • Floods
      • Diseases
      • Global catastrophes
    • Another form of reproduction may be our best solution; BNA instead DNA
  • 15.
    • Beme Neural Architecture (BNA)
    • Bemes are the smallest units of beingness that comprise our sense of self
      • Elements of our Mannerisms, Personality, Recollections, Feelings, Beliefs, Attitudes, Values
    What is BNA?
    • BNA is a to-be-determined set of mindware that enables our sense of self to be digitally realized from our bemes
      • Synthetic Consciousness; Synthetic Life
  • 16. Mind Is Deeper Than Matter
    • The beme is mightier than the gene
    • We’re not our bodies; we are our minds
    • Genes are not essential for our minds
      • Our minds can be represented as bemes
      • BNA can operationalize our bemes
      • BNA can handle reproduction
  • 17. DNA vs. BNA
    • Slow to reproduce
    • Limited survival in new environments
    • Susceptible to disease and limited lifespan
    • Rapid and unlimited reproduction
    • Various bodies to chose from, for survival in many environments
    • Unlimited lifespan
    Beme Neural Architecture
  • 18. Is BNA Reproduction Consistent With Nature’s Purpose
    • Nature’s “purpose” is to create self-replicating codes
    • Software reproduction is faster than wet biology, BNA is a more efficient way to replicate
    • Shifting from genes to bemes is consistent with what life has always done
  • 19. My Avatar, My Self
    • Re-creation of the human mind in a digital world has already begun
    • Re-creation of the human “body” has already begun
    • The melding of your mind to your digital body is the next logical step
      • www.MyCyberTwin.com where a virtual version of you can conduct autonomous conversations
      • www.SecondLife.com where entire virtual communities are built
  • 20. The Turing Test Was Just the Beginning
    • Ray Kurzweil points out that artificial intelligence is already all around us, in…
      • Our cars
      • Airplane gate systems
      • Computer guiding software
      • Video game opponents
  • 21. Where Can We Place The Uploaded Consciousness
    • Video from Hanson Robotics in Richardson, TX
    • http://www.hansonrobotics.com
  • 22. Can Or Should We Alter Our Code
    • There are those who believe we should not
    • They fear the results of translating life to a digital form
    • Darwin would not have been one to fear the endless possibilities
  • 23. Humans Are Active Agents of Evolution
    • A new variety raised by man will be a far more important and interesting subject for study than one more species added to the infinitude of already recorded species. -Charles Darwin
  • 24. Darwin Would Say ‘Yes’ To Improving Our Program
    • In his own words, it would be far more ‘important and interesting’ to see on which evolutionary path our high level of intelligence can take us.
  • 25. Best Darwinian Reasons For and Against BNA Reproduction
    • FOR
      • It can greatly extend our reproductive lifetimes, thereby serving evolution’s prime directive
      • It can reduce the risk of consciousness extinction caused by a global catastrophe
      • We may inadvertently create “monster minds”
      • It may diminish our motivation for reproduction, thereby undermining diversity and proclivity
  • 26. Why the Positives Outweigh the Negatives
    • Our society already has institutions designed to deal with DNA-based “monster minds”; the same could be translated to a “monster mind” BNA-based individual
    • Per evolutionary biology, the desire to reproduce ourselves is innate and we are unlikely to cease
    • Most astrobiologists and geologists agree that global catastrophes are inevitable
      • Therefore it is imperative to find ways to continue life
      • Digital life is easier to transport between stars
      • Digital life is easier to back-up redundantly
  • 27. Cyber Sapiens ...We will no longer be Homo sapiens, but Cyber sapiens--a creature part digital and part biological that will have placed more distance between its DNA and the destinies they force upon us than any other animal ... a creature capable of steering our own evolution.... Chip Walter. Thumbs, Toes, and Tears, Walker & Co. 2006. Excerpted on KurzweilAI.net on October 25, 2006.
  • 28. Becoming Transbeman
    • Uploading consciousness allows one to avoid unwanted death
    • Digital conscious beings can live longer and impart wisdom to unlimited generations
    • Multiple forms for conscious life
      • Virtual reality
      • Mechanical bodies
      • Regenerated flesh
    • According to evolutionary biology, this transbeman development should be highly favored by natural selection.
    People who trans cend b iological & e lectronic hu man boundaries
  • 29. Defy Death
    • The most compelling argument for BNA reproduction is defying death
      • Some accept death as inevitable and reason for its necessity
        • Claiming boredom with life
        • Drain on social resources
      • These are not relevant to a transbeman
        • Millennia-long life spans allow you to explore millions of books, musical instruments, the universe, whatever meets your fancy
        • Resources are more plentiful, because the new transbeman body would require less maintenance than a DNA-based life
  • 30. Darwin on Varieties
    • We have also seen that it is the most flourishing or dominant species of the larger genera within each class which on an average yield the greatest number of varieties, and varieties, as we shall hereafter see, tend to become converted into new and distinct species. Thus the larger genera tend to become larger; and throughout nature the forms of life which are now dominant tend to become still more dominant by leaving many modified and dominant descendants. -- Charles Darwin
  • 31.
    • Darwin’s theory was developed without any known code, so he was unlikely to be hung up on DNA as the only code for life.
    • He would have likely agreed that because Beme Neural Architecture (BNA) codes could replicate and diversify, they would stand a good chance of thriving in a supportive environment.
    • Were he to accept Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, he would have concluded that BNA-based life would dominate the destiny of the human species.
  • 32. Expanding the Varieties of Homo Sapiens Sapiens
    • BNA-based life will encourage mind-expansion beyond the abilities of DNA-based life
    • Reproduction of the mind may allow the knowledge of each generation to be imparted immediately and then built upon
    • Life would no longer be limited to earth, therefore experiences would be endless
  • 33. Beme-Based Life Forms Can Also Clone Their Consciousness
    • In addition to combining bemes with another for reproduction, you would be able to self-replicate
      • This would help avoid any catastrophe to one’s substrate
      • Each new version of you would still be a unique individual due to his/her experiences
      • Multiple versions would make it easier to release one of your conscious copies onto an interstellar spaceship
    EveR-2 Muse, Humanoid Robot by KITEC (Korea Institute of Industrial Technology) in Seoul, Korea http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/Science-Fiction-News.asp?NewsNum=882
  • 34. Could Multiple Copies Destroy Autonomy? Artwork by: Kristina Abraham <http://www.kristinabraham.com/Straight%20Off%20the%20Assembly%20Line.jpg>
  • 35. Autonomy
    • The quality or state of being independent, free, and self-directing 

    • Independence from the organism as a whole in the capacity of a part for growth, reactivity, or responsiveness
    • autonomy. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary . Retrieved July 5, 2007, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/autonomy
  • 36. Autonomy Is Built Into the Process
    • Since bemes are personalized bytes of information based on the emotions, mindset and experiences of an individual, they create a highly unique consciousness
    • By definition, each conscious being would be autonomous
      • Individual beings
      • Individual experiences
      • Individual lives
    • Though related, just as DNA-based children are different than their parents, so would beme-based children, and clones
  • 37. So What Would Darwin Think
    • It is promulgation of a self-replicating code that sits atop the apex of life’s purpose
    • DNA is a tool that enabled life to create a superior self-replicating code -- BNA
    • The BNA code will be capable of both nanotechnologically creating all that came before it and diversely transcending a universe of challenges of which DNA might not survive
    • So what would Darwin think…
    • That BNA is just another step in the evolution of life, with good odds for success
  • 38. Adaptation is the Natural Progression
    • “… in short, we see beautiful adaptations everywhere and in every part of the organic world.”
    • - Charles Darwin
    Cyberspace Nanotechnology + = Computronium = Ultimate Universal Adaptation