The Great Complexity Explosion

You can get glow in the dark toadstools from Amazon


Only if you try to import anything biological into NZ, you go to prison, so you can’t get them here, which is sad and bogus, because I’d like some glow in the dark mushrooms.

Which might be a fairly moot point before long… as genetically-engineering things to glow in the dark seems to be a fairly standard “hello world” in DIY bio spheres... a bit like getting an LED to blink if you’ve got an arduino. GFP they call it. You can get different colours


Anyway, we saw that “Day The Earth Stood Still” the other night – it’s got Keanu in it, who we like on account of being “our Keanu”.


Anyway, the massive orb thing turns out to be a bit like Noah’s Ark – in that it collects a version of every species on earth… which I’ve long thought was a good idea – store a bit of the DNA of every species so if they go extinct, we can get them going again… which probably betrays a misunderstanding of “what it’s all about”, ie: it’s about conserving ecosystems rather than individual species…

… but it has kindof crossed my mind, that if we get really good at combining/coding DNA… and basically learn how to make pretty much any combination of traits you can imagine… then even if there’s not a massive Cambrian explosion of species, there IS a massive Cambrian explosion of possibilities… and while keeping examples of naturally-evolved versions is worth doing from an archival POV… the whole thing takes on a bit of a different spin… if there are zero-limitations on what it’s possible to make. Sticking to old species is a bit like only using web-safe colours when you have access to the entire spectrum. In analogue.

Is an animal just a physical instantiation of a code?

Would it be possible (then) to auto-generate every possible combination – like a rainbow-table or The 9 Billion Names Of God? Is that what the Earth/Universe already is? A combination generator?

It’s crossed my mind that maybe complexity is a dimension… like time or possibility. It certainly seems to be something that’s acting in the opposite direction to entropy, and from where I’m sitting, it’s not looking linear. It could be that the Kurzweilian singularity isn’t to do with machine intelligence – although that’s part of it… it could be that it’s more to do with complexity… somewhere between being able to create any organism/thing imaginable, and having direct access to our own brain-chemistry.

It’s a jungle out there.