(Fine Tuned DNA)
I came to the conclusion that thinking really BIG is not about changing the world, but ruling the universe.
I believe that FiT-DNA is (a) the most intriguing (and, most likely, the most important) research idea in the history of DNA-based intelligence and thus (b) the only serious challenge to the highly popularized and heavily financed Singularity concept that Google decided to pursue.
Briefly about the 2 concepts:
(it starts with what I wrote one year ago)
After watching the glorious idea of the song for π (which could go by the name 'the pi in piano') it hit me: how about the DNA of (i.e. generated by the sequence of numbers in) π, e and, eventually, other famous transcendental numbers*?
* See some HERE. Some consider e^π to be the most intriguing one.
I know, the DNA plays with 4 letters and 10 is not a multiple of 4. Of course we can be creative and find plenty of ways around that. Quite handy, for instance, would be to use the Base 4. To each digit (out of 0 – 1 – 2 and 3) we assign a letter. There will be 4! = 24 possible combinations.
Now I’m not saying that we’ll be able to create some impossible entities such as, say, an honest politician, but could any (even only partially) meaningful DNA sequencing pop up? Of course that a combination of the meaningful DNA sequences of different transcendental numbers is also to be considered (remember, the intriguing e^π is a combination of two transcendental numbers).
This reverse engineering research, if intelligently done, can’t but spectacularly advance our knowledge. There’s an infinite set of numbers, DNA-wise, that make sense, and this is not some hypothesis or theory, but a FACT: just take into account the trillion of trillion of … trillion of life forms/living entities in the history of this planet, AND the ones that come to life every second. And counting …
Common sense also tells us that, at least within our universe, there’s an even larger infinite of numbers that would lead nowhere, life/intelligence-wise.
So where do we start? (A) Choose the lottery numbers for the last 30 years and see what, if anything, comes up? (B) Starting from a dubious (to say the least) premise** like in this story (and, hey, their research got funded!)? Or
(C) Looking for some particularly intriguing AND FUNDAMENTAL numbers? Remember, we’re trying to create life, the more intelligent, the better. The Fibonacci series, so much associated with life, should also be taken into account.
And speaking about life it’s finally a good time now to wise up and remember the fine-tuning of the universe issue: Plenty of glorious fundamental constants to play with.
It’s obvious that if we could create an intelligent machine/entity able to create a smarter machine/entity we’ll be on our (asymptotically) way towards absolute knowledge. From that point on we just have to relax and enjoy the (snowballing) show, we won’t need to ever invent or create anything else. So how about we start with π, just to warm up …
… Although if I had the funding, the team and a state of the art lab I would check “n” fundamental numbers in parallel and constantly compare the results. I’d also check – within the resources and common sense -- if any mixing would lead somewhere. Remember: There are infinite combinations of numbers that DO lead somewhere, but we have to intelligently design a research method to improve the probability of hitting this infinite, rather than the larger infinite leading nowhere.
**I’m sure that my proposal is based on a by far more solid premise than the Moore’s Law: The fundamental constants/numbers are here, to rule our universe, for more than one reason (or, should I say, for ALL the reasons that, so far, we’ve been too blind, or inept, to figure out?)
From now on this is what I’ve added on March 30, 2014:
What FiT-DNA is doing is to bring at the same table the 2 reasons life (AND intelligent life), as we know them, developed on our planet/in our known universe: the fine tuning of the universe and the DNA. They can be seen as being apples and oranges OR as making perfect sense together (life-wise); I bet on the latter horse.
The idea of the FiT-DNA is that in our fine tuned universe (that just happened, probably among other infinite number of universes) life started in a very primitive way, with a scrambled DNA. Think of it: if the DNA was so “perfect” (from the very beginning), as the fundamental numbers/constants, then it would have been no need for life to evolve ( is π .. evolving by changing its digits?), through, mainly, DNA “accidents.” There were bad, neutral and good “accidents”; I call the good ones the unscrambling process, which, so far, only happened by chance. The educated unscrambling process I’m proposing means editing the DNA to the point where it rhymes with the fundamental numbers that rule our universe AND made life possible. We can wait 2,000,000 years for some lucky DNA accident to happen, or we can design “the accident” ourselves.
How do we accelerate the unscrambling of the DNA? We look for sequences (of at least a certain length, to be meaningful) that are the scrambled digits of a fundamental number and then edit that sequence, i.e. we just rewrite that sequence to be like the one in the fundamental number. Then see if anything positive happens and learn from our experiments. Just a note: the ‘junk DNA’ gives us plenty of room to play, BUT I’m NOT talking ‘junk DNA’ ONLY!
The FiT-DNA research should look for finding the MML – the Minimum Meaningful Length (of a DNA sequence) that, when unscrambled, will lead to a significant improvement in the subject tested-- and can probably be done in 4 steps:
(1) The Mighty Potato phase (any appropriate plant would qualify):
When the potato can sing like Pavarotti while moonwalking like Michael we’ve got the plants’ MML;
(2) The bitchy Parrot:
Parrots can talk, so it’ll be really easy for the researchers to figure out when the bird will actually make sense (i.e., reason). For instance if when asked, “Who was the 43rd Prez of the US?" the parrot will answer, “Mr. Nukular?” we’re ready for step 3:
(How about we just skip the mammals? Hey, life is short ..)
(3) Primates (there are probably laws that won’t allow us to start with the US Congress directly …);
It’s plain common sense, it’s how life works. Look below at the same plant in different climate conditions and you can clearly picture the transition human-transhuman-SuEn, by replacing “different climate conditions” with ‘different levels of edited DNA.’
Of course that I’m not talking here about we, humans, becoming bigger (like the plant above), but way smarter. We should be (at least) 100X smaller (how about 314,159X smaller? -- of course that we'll figure out the optimum size) and consuming (at least) 200X less of the traditional resources, if any at all, and planet Earth should be our unpolluted natural reservation.
(II) The Singularity
It’s too much online – you can start by reading THIS -- about it to waste your time with my version about the AI outsmarting humans in 15 years. I’m absolutely fascinated by the AI’s potential but I just believe that FiT-DNA will get results faster.
Just a few more things, in no particular order:
Trying to mechanically replicate life resulted in too much fun: humans can’t fly like birds (remember THIS?), and birds (in their birdbrain wisdom) don’t fly like an F-16, rocket or copter. Same story underwater: subs don’t ‘swim’ like the marine life. On land Joe doesn’t run like cheetahs and Bill doesn’t jump like grasshoppers. So why are humans – as of today being at the ridiculous level of walking bags of bacteria and excrement -- still looking down and trying to make electro-mechanical copies of inferior entities? Look at this Big Dog here (and there are countless other examples): these toys are a good hobby for high schoolers, not for the top scientists paid with top money to design, in expensive state of the art labs, some ‘pets’ with 1,000X less abilities (like in running, jumping, changing direction, vision, hearing, etc) than a 2 weeks old puppy. Misdirected resources!
Why FiT-DNA is way better suited to hit the Jackpot* way before the AI
*“The Jackpot” I’m talking about means creating a Supreme Entity (SuEn), an entity/super-human asymptotically approaching the Absolute Knowledge.
Creativity-wise, thus far there has never been any creative AI, while for tens of thousands of years the DNA-based-Intelligence (let’s call it DNAI) has been, from the first tools and paintings back in the stone age to the Opportunity roaming the Red Planet and the latest fancy app for a smart phone.
The most logical way to design a SuEn is to first create a human with a probably 10-15% (this has to be determined) higher IQ than the top genius IQ that we are aware of; let’s call this dude a transhuman, so I won’t have to keep inventing new names. Now this transhuman, being sufficiently smarter than us, should be – it HAS to be, that’s why we designed him! – able to design an entity able to create a smarter entity (sounds like an intellectual perpetuum mobile? Hell of a challenge, I’m all for it!). And that’s it, we don’t have to create/invent anything else from that moment on. We’ll just be gods the very next minute, laying back between two supermodels and watching the Singularity dudes scratching their heads.
Why challenge Google? Remember the famous rivalries, Dostoevsky vs. Tolstoy, Tesla vs. Edison, Galileo vs. the church, Einstein vs. Bohr and so on? They were just glorious and, unless all you care about is boobs and the Monday night game, you HAVE to appreciate a hell of a challenge.
And when it comes to ‘assembling gods, one letter at a time’ what could possibly be more entertaining than this intellectual challenge: FiT-DNA vs. Singularity?