Metallic Organisms

Metal Microbes


Some ratbags at the University of Glascow are experimenting with making replicating… “things”… with a metallic base. “oooh go all the FUDers”, they’ll take over the world. Ermm… really? I wouldn’t have thought it likely… unless metal has some inherent advantage over carbon… and maybe it does, and maybe it doesn’t – but just because a tank can beat an elephant, doesn’t mean that things that evolve from a metal base, will somehow inherit human-made machine characteristics. I’m talking about cellularity.

Still… nice idea.

I have this feeling that one advantage that synthetic organisms might have over naturally bred ones, is… “clean code”. I saw this analysis of DNA from a programming perspective a while back, and it’s a fucking shambles – exactly what you’d expect etc… it looked like 4 billion year old drupal. Forked and forked and recombined with loose-coupling here, tight-coupling there… so you change one thing and something utterly unrelated breaks somewhere else.

Maybe that’s an inevitable byproduct of the process – the whole genetic-algorithm that rebuilds its own OS with every generation… and there is obviously huge power in that… but the fact that it’s taken about 4 billion years to get this far isn’t a terribly good sign. I mean 4 billion years is a long fucking time. If Moore’s law can carry on for that long… (Moore’s law being a type of directed-evolution) then… what is that? Current processing power, doubled 2.666 billion times?

I don’t even want to think about how many zeros that is. It’s a transcendentally large number.

Assuming evolution has a trajectory, which of course it does not. It just looks like it does. Moore’s law has a trajectory though, and the two are coming together.