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Re: lynx-dev Concerning the use of abort in the source of lynx

From: pAb-032871
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Concerning the use of abort in the source of lynx
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 08:35:21 -0700

In "Re: lynx-dev Concerning the use of abort in the source of lynx"
[05/Jun/2000 Mon 03:37:30]
Michael Sokolov wrote:

> Vlad Harchev <address@hidden> wrote:
> > Yes, nice approach - seems cybernetics/math won't hurt any science. Even if
> > development of zygote can be described as FSM, seems that FSM should have a
> > huge number of inputs, a lot of which are random data as temperature or 
> > other
> > parameters of environment (I'm not biologist at all, but seems this should
> > influence the process somehow). I hope that these factors don't influence a
> > lot.
> Such random factors cannot have any effect on the processes that I'm 
> interested
> in. If they did, you would develop into a human or a crocodile depending of
> whether your mother lived in a cold or warm climate, which is not the case.

I have to disagree here: environmental variables play a HUGE part
in development.  Ask any crack-baby, or another child born with
Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.  As do many trace minerals, recently-discovered
proteins, and "rediscovered" proteins that are well-known, but
whose properties weren't fully understood before.  All of them
affect both physical and mental development.

[well-written, but snipped]

> Being a programmer I will never buy an idea
> that an 800 MB program could come out of vacuum, and I thus strongly believe 
> in
> the existence of extraterrestrial life and intelligence.

The 800 MB program you're referring to is the human genome?  This
is a bit conservative; what about the many GB of genetic information
in your front yard?  How many species in a half acre of grass?
Yes it's remarkable, but a few billion years of random trial-and-error
will do that.  I'm sure you've heard of the learning curves in
some of the crude artificial intelligenes that exist today --
and their little chip-brains are no more developed than your average
garden insect.

Call it hereditary learning: this experiment produces results
and the other does not.  One mutant subspecies thrives, another
disappears.  I never much liked IQ tests, but imagine one that
carries on over geological time.

Again, I think you're underestimating chaos here.  In computer
science, I guess chaos is generally considered a problem and an
impediment to finding your answer, not an actual factor in the
equation [an image of sealed, dust-proof, refrigerated and static-free
computer labs from the 1970s comes to mind].  I'm talking about
the science of studying and developing computer systems, not their
use with regard to random occurences, such as studying weather
patterns [yes, "random pattern" is an oxymoron, but one that does
exist in real life].

> This is why I'm developing this as free software. As for Communism and having 
> a
> private goal, remember all those stories about Komsomol and Young Communists:
> love was often a factor. :-)

Up the Workers. . .  Really; I can imagine some *terrible* outcomes
involving commercial ownership of genetic diagnosis and manipulation
techniques.  Not the usual science fiction nightmares, but ordinary
problems in the current medical establishment, ie; Death by Empty
Wallet when the cure is fairly cheap to manufacture, but the fee
is impossible.

And Happy Valentine's Day, next time it comes around.  :-)

> > you would got a lot of sponsors etc and you wouldn't have so spartan
> > life [...]
> Well, I am hoping to get some sponsors, assuming that there must be a lot of
> people who would need this kind of technology very much. But there may very
> well be obstacles. Just think of the ethical, social, and political
> implications of technology for cloning of arbitrary human parts, etc.

Point taken, see above.

> > I sincerely wish you all the lucks to achive your goal somehow.

And I do as well.  Some cash would be nice, but I can only wish
you luck finding sponsors.

> > Thanks for sharing this story.

        "Don't you get lonely up here all by yourself?"
        "Hmm, not really.  I make friends.  They're
        toys.  My friends are toys, I made them.  It's
        a hobby, I'm a genetic designer.  Do you know
        what that is?"
                                -- from Blade Runner


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