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Inclusa
2012-Mar-05, 09:36 AM
The human body is made of fragile organic matters; of course we need regeneration medicines to reverse aging (mostly to improve quality of life) and heal failed organs and limbs, but a further approach may be building android bodies that are more durable and functional than the human body.

There may be two way of body enhancement: one is genetic, and the other is mechanical, even though diamond skins may still suffer from damages.

Swift
2012-Mar-05, 02:17 PM
Completely android bodies (I assume with an organic, human brain)... I would guess a long ways away, at least decades, more likely a century or two (my non-expert opinion).

Human bodies augmented by mechanical/artifical systems... we're there now. And I'm not just talking about eyeglasses or synthetic heart valves or hip joints. There are some serious prototypes for mechanical exo-skeletons to assist paraplegics, for example, including ones controlled by thoughts or nerve impulses from the person. There is serious work on synthetic retinas and artificial visions systems for those with vision problems.

I suspect in the next couple of decades we will see a huge growth in this kind of technology.

glappkaeft
2012-Mar-05, 03:12 PM
Realistically we are far enough away that we can make no accurate estimate how far away we are.

Trebuchet
2012-Mar-05, 07:23 PM
Completely android bodies (I assume with an organic, human brain)... I would guess a long ways away, at least decades, more likely a century or two (my non-expert opinion).

Human bodies augmented by mechanical/artifical systems... we're there now. And I'm not just talking about eyeglasses or synthetic heart valves or hip joints. There are some serious prototypes for mechanical exo-skeletons to assist paraplegics, for example, including ones controlled by thoughts or nerve impulses from the person. There is serious work on synthetic retinas and artificial visions systems for those with vision problems.

I suspect in the next couple of decades we will see a huge growth in this kind of technology.

For augmented human bodies, the appropriate term is "cyborg". Think of the Six Million Dollar man.

Swift
2012-Mar-05, 08:26 PM
For augmented human bodies, the appropriate term is "cyborg". Think of the Six Million Dollar man.
No doubt, though I wasn't sure how precisely the OP was using the term, nor how exact the terms really are (particularly since "android" only describes a hypothetical device). I still stand by my guesses.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-06, 09:50 AM
Completely android bodies (I assume with an organic, human brain)... I would guess a long ways away, at least decades, more likely a century or two (my non-expert opinion).

Human bodies augmented by mechanical/artifical systems... we're there now. And I'm not just talking about eyeglasses or synthetic heart valves or hip joints. There are some serious prototypes for mechanical exo-skeletons to assist paraplegics, for example, including ones controlled by thoughts or nerve impulses from the person. There is serious work on synthetic retinas and artificial visions systems for those with vision problems.

I suspect in the next couple of decades we will see a huge growth in this kind of technology.

I mean the hypothetical state to transfer a human brain to an android body.
As far as cyborg is concerned, unless we invent functional artificial organisms and really sophisticated prosthesis (we are getting there, but not close enough yet), we probably can´t call this ¨enhanced¨.

Trebuchet
2012-Mar-06, 03:54 PM
I mean the hypothetical state to transfer a human brain to an android body.
As far as cyborg is concerned, unless we invent functional artificial organisms and really sophisticated prosthesis (we are getting there, but not close enough yet), we probably can´t call this ¨enhanced¨.

Yes, "repaired" is probably a better term at present.

Trakar
2012-Mar-06, 04:28 PM
Yes, "repaired" is probably a better term at present.

I think I'd go with "amended," we aren't fixing a biological unit, we are adding artificial parts to assist or replace biological parts.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-07, 04:15 AM
Full-body cyborgs, like in Ghost in the Shell, I wouldn't be surprised if we have late this century. The hard part's going to be the life support for the organic brain, equaling and surpassing natural systems like the skeletal, muscular, and integumentary with artificial materials and mechanisms will be comparatively easy.

I don't think the full-body cyborg stage will last too long, though. Casting off the weaknesses of a flesh brain is the rational step.

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-07, 04:44 AM
I honestly don't see much point for either. Life has some absolutely fabulous self repair and maintenance mechanisms that nothing that we can call mechanical can even remotely match as of yet.
What do you call a pump that can run constantly almost a century and beyond, potentially without needing to stop for maintenance or repair, but instead preforms almost all such activities while running?
Any engineer would call that a marvel; I call it a human heart.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-07, 07:23 AM
Full-body cyborgs, like in Ghost in the Shell, I wouldn't be surprised if we have late this century. The hard part's going to be the life support for the organic brain, equaling and surpassing natural systems like the skeletal, muscular, and integumentary with artificial materials and mechanisms will be comparatively easy.

I don't think the full-body cyborg stage will last too long, though. Casting off the weaknesses of a flesh brain is the rational step.

Yes, the flesh brain has so many faults, but we rest our life on it for the moment.
Probably we need to go for regenerating body parts and brain repair first; just think of people who lost body parts due to trauma and diseases.

DoggerDan
2012-Mar-10, 08:12 AM
Yes, the flesh brain has so many faults, but we rest our life on it for the moment.
Probably we need to go for regenerating body parts and brain repair first; just think of people who lost body parts due to trauma and diseases.

Exactly! I just read they're now able to regrow working liver tissue by injecting healthy liver cells into the lymphatic system. The liver tissue grows in some strange places, but it does what it's supposed to do (Piore, Adam, (2012, 03), Growing Livers in Lymph Nodes, Discover, pp. 10-11). Once the tissue is place in various nodes throughout the body, it occupies about 70% of the mass of a healthy liver.

I suspect at that point doctors might be able to removed the diseased liver altogether, and continue the treatment, with a new liver growing in place of the old one, at which point the additional liver tissue in the lymphatic system can be removed.

Additional mention was made in the article about replacing other organs and tissues using similar techniques, including using "induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs), in which adult cells are reprogrammed to be like embryonic stem cells so they can transform into any type of cell. Doctors could then collect blood or skin cells from a patient and turn them into healthy liver cells, enabling patients to be their own donors."

I also suspect the same or similar techniques could be used to grow new, young, healthy tissue of pretty much any kind using one's own body as the incubator.

So, why would I want an android body when we're on the verge of being able to grow new, healthy tissues from scratch? I had a wonderfully healthy body when I was half my age! I wish I could get it back!

I'd much prefer that than one made of synthetic materials.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-10, 06:21 PM
I honestly don't see much point for either. Life has some absolutely fabulous self repair and maintenance mechanisms that nothing that we can call mechanical can even remotely match as of yet.
What do you call a pump that can run constantly almost a century and beyond, potentially without needing to stop for maintenance or repair, but instead preforms almost all such activities while running?
Any engineer would call that a marvel; I call it a human heart.

The point is that properly designed mechanisms are better than biology. Do you use a car or a horse?

Often the trick is to not emulate biology (http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-02/no-pulse-how-doctors-reinvented-human-heart?page=all) too closely. Remember, humans can design and manufacture things which could never evolve. And we can do it in materials that put nature's to shame.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-10, 06:51 PM
So, why would I want an android body when we're on the verge of being able to grow new, healthy tissues from scratch? I had a wonderfully healthy body when I was half my age! I wish I could get it back!

I'd much prefer that than one made of synthetic materials.

What if you didn't need to breath? You could go diving for days at a time, to the deepest depths in the oceans. What if you didn't need to sleep? Think of what you could do with that extra seven hours a day. What if you didn't need to eat? You could still have the pleasure of eating, without actually eating--consume virtual food. You could have supra-natural adult pleasures that I won't go into, because this forum has rules against that sort of thing. And no more going to the restroom, shaving, getting your hair cut, bathing to remove the filth your body makes on itself. You could have artificial senses, see in terahertz radiation, infrared, ultraviolet, sonar. No more headaches, allergies, or sickness. No more cutting yourself and bleeding. No more burns--imagine if your skin was silicone rubber, metal, or whatever. You're far stronger. You could be inhumanly thin, or have an inhuman shape. Ten mechanical octopus-like arms? knock yourself out.

Use your imagination.

publiusr
2012-Mar-10, 06:54 PM
It would make human space missions a lot simpler if you didn't need to bring food, oxygen, etc. An android with an RTG could make like the Energizer Bunny and keep going, and going...

Inclusa
2012-Mar-11, 05:12 AM
What if you didn't need to breath? You could go diving for days at a time, to the deepest depths in the oceans. What if you didn't need to sleep? Think of what you could do with that extra seven hours a day. What if you didn't need to eat? You could still have the pleasure of eating, without actually eating--consume virtual food. You could have supra-natural adult pleasures that I won't go into, because this forum has rules against that sort of thing. And no more going to the restroom, shaving, getting your hair cut, bathing to remove the filth your body makes on itself. You could have artificial senses, see in terahertz radiation, infrared, ultraviolet, sonar. No more headaches, allergies, or sickness. No more cutting yourself and bleeding. No more burns--imagine if your skin was silicone rubber, metal, or whatever. You're far stronger. You could be inhumanly thin, or have an inhuman shape. Ten mechanical octopus-like arms? knock yourself out.

Sure; the human body is imperfect in so many manners.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-11, 05:13 AM
What if you didn't need to breath? You could go diving for days at a time, to the deepest depths in the oceans. What if you didn't need to sleep? Think of what you could do with that extra seven hours a day. What if you didn't need to eat? You could still have the pleasure of eating, without actually eating--consume virtual food. You could have supra-natural adult pleasures that I won't go into, because this forum has rules against that sort of thing. And no more going to the restroom, shaving, getting your hair cut, bathing to remove the filth your body makes on itself. You could have artificial senses, see in terahertz radiation, infrared, ultraviolet, sonar. No more headaches, allergies, or sickness. No more cutting yourself and bleeding. No more burns--imagine if your skin was silicone rubber, metal, or whatever. You're far stronger. You could be inhumanly thin, or have an inhuman shape. Ten mechanical octopus-like arms? knock yourself out.

Sure; the human body is imperfect in so many manners; there are so many taboos to talk against them.

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-11, 05:37 AM
The point is that properly designed mechanisms are better than biology. Do you use a car or a horse?

Often the trick is to not emulate biology (http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-02/no-pulse-how-doctors-reinvented-human-heart?page=all) too closely. Remember, humans can design and manufacture things which could never evolve. And we can do it in materials that put nature's to shame.
Considering that a horse is literally only one horsepower, is fuelled by potentially carbon neutral, renewable sources, yet can provide motive power (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hansom_cab) for several people, one could argue that the horse is the mechanically superior option.
It's not as fast, but how much does that matter in the city?
Anyway I ride a bike. It gets me where I need to go, making use of wheels greater efficiency on smooth, level surfaces.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Mar-11, 07:45 AM
Considering that a horse is literally only one horsepower, is fuelled by potentially carbon neutral, renewable sources, yet can provide motive power (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hansom_cab) for several people, one could argue that the horse is the mechanically superior option.
You forgot partially self-repairing and copies itself if given the chance.


The point is that properly designed mechanisms are better than biology.
<snip>
Remember, humans can design and manufacture things which could never evolve. And we can do it in materials that put nature's to shame.
But self-repair and self-copying are beyond us at the moment.

If my hand gets a scratch I'll ignore it because it gets fixed automatically, if a mechanical hand gets a scratch I'll have to use another while it gets repaired.

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-11, 08:09 AM
You forgot partially self-repairing and copies itself if given the chance.

Indeed. And what pollution they do produce is biodegradable and even has uses as fertilizer.

Hector
2012-Mar-11, 03:23 PM
I think we are close to the android body, but not so close to transferring human souls into mechanical bodies.

aquitaine
2012-Mar-11, 04:42 PM
If you want a glimpse at what is coming technology wise, I suggest playing the original Deus Ex and its prequel, DX: Human Revolution (don't bother with Invisible War, it sucked).

korjik
2012-Mar-11, 04:52 PM
About 3 meters.....

Oh, wait. Uh, forget I said anything.

:)

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-11, 06:52 PM
Considering that a horse is literally only one horsepower, is fuelled by potentially carbon neutral, renewable sources, yet can provide motive power (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hansom_cab) for several people, one could argue that the horse is the mechanically superior option.
It's not as fast, but how much does that matter in the city?
Anyway I ride a bike. It gets me where I need to go, making use of wheels greater efficiency on smooth, level surfaces.

Automotives can be run on carbon neutral sources. Some of the first cars ran on alcohol. Society just made the mistake of going with the unsustainable fuel source.

Automotives can be turned off for weeks at a time. They don't care about hot or cold (within reason). They're capable of doing hundreds of times more work per unit volume, hour upon hour, day upon day without getting tired. They don't grow old and die--if you truly want to, you can fix a machine forever.

If horses are superior, then why don't we use them more? Why'd we invent alternatives? Why'd we invent boats? Couldn't we just train dolphins and ride on them? Why'd we invent airplanes? Couldn't we just tie tens of thousands of birds to a big basket?

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-11, 07:02 PM
You forgot partially self-repairing and copies itself if given the chance.

Takes two, of course, and of slightly different architectures. Maturation of new horse machine is slow compared to artificial manufacturing methods.


But self-repair and self-copying are beyond us at the moment.

That's true, yet machines are preferred over biology in current societies. Indeed, as long as civilization has been around machines have been employed over animals whenever and wherever they could be.

And when artificial machines can reproduce themselves, biology will have no claim to glory left.


If my hand gets a scratch I'll ignore it because it gets fixed automatically, if a mechanical hand gets a scratch I'll have to use another while it gets repaired.

Anything that could scratch metal or other similarly durable materials badly enough that they require repair would leave you with a bleeding stump.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-11, 07:11 PM
Indeed. And what pollution they do produce is biodegradable and even has uses as fertilizer.

Burning alcohol makes carbon dioxide and water. I'll take that over piles of feces any day.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-12, 08:23 AM
Let's face it, common human body (or biological bodies) issues:
1)Brain cells and many nerve cells don't regenerate.
2)Limb losses happen occasionally, yet they don't regenerate.
3)Many forms of degeneration with ages.
Of course if we develop to the point that even the body is interchangeable.....

Trakar
2012-Mar-12, 03:04 PM
...Anything that could scratch metal or other similarly durable materials badly enough that they require repair would leave you with a bleeding stump.

Wouldn't be much durable metal in an android body, too problematic. Ceramics for hard structures, and plastics for most of the rest, ...I would think.

Assuming you want a mobile, generally human-form brain support system. Even here might be better, at least initially, to leave the brain itself in one location and link it to mobile perception/manipulation units.

Exposed
2012-Mar-16, 03:41 AM
What if you didn't need to breath? You could go diving for days at a time, to the deepest depths in the oceans. What if you didn't need to sleep? Think of what you could do with that extra seven hours a day. What if you didn't need to eat? You could still have the pleasure of eating, without actually eating--consume virtual food. You could have supra-natural adult pleasures that I won't go into, because this forum has rules against that sort of thing. And no more going to the restroom, shaving, getting your hair cut, bathing to remove the filth your body makes on itself. You could have artificial senses, see in terahertz radiation, infrared, ultraviolet, sonar. No more headaches, allergies, or sickness. No more cutting yourself and bleeding. No more burns--imagine if your skin was silicone rubber, metal, or whatever. You're far stronger. You could be inhumanly thin, or have an inhuman shape. Ten mechanical octopus-like arms? knock yourself out.

Use your imagination.

Sleep deprivation is extremely harmful to the human brain. Specifically a lack of REM sleep (dreaming), which will literally drive you insane. No drugs will ever bypass the brain's necessity for REM sleep, it's just the way the brain regulates itself.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-16, 03:54 AM
OK, SkepticJ is more radically than I am; he proposes to move our consciousness and self-awareness to machines, too.
Even machines need rest, too.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-16, 04:42 AM
Sleep deprivation is extremely harmful to the human brain. Specifically a lack of REM sleep (dreaming), which will literally drive you insane. No drugs will ever bypass the brain's necessity for REM sleep, it's just the way the brain regulates itself.

That's possibly true, why animals sleep is still mostly a mystery. Please note that I was referring to individuals that were entirely non-biological, including their brains. Not cyborgs.

The memory processing hypothesis seems the most plausible to me, but sleep may not be for just one thing. As even flies have been shown to have extremely rudimentary learning ability, if memories can't be laid down in the structure of the brain without sleep, then this explains why even insects need to sleep.

Computers don't need to sleep to permanently record data onto storage media. Assuming intelligent beings can run on artificial substrates*, it seems plausible that they wouldn't require sleep.

*And if they can't, then something weird, potentially spooky, is going on.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-16, 09:22 AM
It sounds to me that the real possibility of moving our consciousness to a machine way superior to the human body would greatly threaten any forms of status quo.

Exposed
2012-Mar-17, 02:46 AM
That's possibly true, why animals sleep is still mostly a mystery. Please note that I was referring to individuals that were entirely non-biological, including their brains. Not cyborgs.

The memory processing hypothesis seems the most plausible to me, but sleep may not be for just one thing. As even flies have been shown to have extremely rudimentary learning ability, if memories can't be laid down in the structure of the brain without sleep, then this explains why even insects need to sleep.

Computers don't need to sleep to permanently record data onto storage media. Assuming intelligent beings can run on artificial substrates*, it seems plausible that they wouldn't require sleep.

*And if they can't, then something weird, potentially spooky, is going on.

For 100% non-biological organisms, I suppose the requirements would indeed be different than compared to organic brains. But any artificial intelligence based on our current foundations of computer engineering will be subjected to inherent limitations in the technology. Computers don't need to sleep to permanently record data onto storage media, but they may require an occasional reboot or "refresh" to write that data reliably.

Biological brains definitely need sleep however. Certain enzymes are released only during specific stages of sleep, the most important being to eliminate free radicals within the brain. Artificial enzymes can theoretically be developed some day to facilitate this, but like you said the brain uses sleep for other functions as well. One example is to "purge" unimportant memories and permanently store important ones. The mechanism behind this is not fully understood (among many other things), but it certainly explains why at 1:04PM yesterday you can't remember which hand you used to stir your coffee with (or if you even remembered stirring your coffee at all, or anything else at the time for that matter), but you remember which hand you grabbed when you asked your wife to marry you 17 years ago. :)

Trakar
2012-Mar-17, 05:19 AM
Sleep deprivation is extremely harmful to the human brain. Specifically a lack of REM sleep (dreaming), which will literally drive you insane. No drugs will ever bypass the brain's necessity for REM sleep, it's just the way the brain regulates itself.

wet-ware defrag

Trakar
2012-Mar-17, 05:37 AM
That's possibly true, why animals sleep is still mostly a mystery. Please note that I was referring to individuals that were entirely non-biological, including their brains. Not cyborgs.

The memory processing hypothesis seems the most plausible to me, but sleep may not be for just one thing. As even flies have been shown to have extremely rudimentary learning ability, if memories can't be laid down in the structure of the brain without sleep, then this explains why even insects need to sleep.

Computers don't need to sleep to permanently record data onto storage media. Assuming intelligent beings can run on artificial substrates*, it seems plausible that they wouldn't require sleep.

*And if they can't, then something weird, potentially spooky, is going on.

I suspect that it has as much to do with calorie budgets, support-systems maintenance and repair, as much as anything to do with the mind, though mental processes evolved to take advantage of and adapt to the requirements of our bodies as much as they are the product of our body's evolution. I see no reason to doubt that periodic "rest" is a good solution for any type of created sentient life-form. This doesn't mean that they would have to have anything like our current periods of sleep, especially if the bodies can be "plugged into" external units that would facilitate or dominate that physical and mental "refresh" process.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-17, 06:34 AM
Let's see: perhaps on the first step is still to reverse aging first, than to build non-biological bodies (including non-biological mind) than exceeds the quality of the human body.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Mar-17, 02:40 PM
I suspect that it has as much to do with calorie budgets, support-systems maintenance and repair, as much as anything to do with the mind, though mental processes evolved to take advantage of and adapt to the requirements of our bodies as much as they are the product of our body's evolution. I see no reason to doubt that periodic "rest" is a good solution for any type of created sentient life-form. This doesn't mean that they would have to have anything like our current periods of sleep, especially if the bodies can be "plugged into" external units that would facilitate or dominate that physical and mental "refresh" process.
That hypothesis doesn't explain why people who are not in any way food deprived will get long-term mental changes, to the point of going clinically insane, from sleep deprivation.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-17, 05:15 PM
It sounds to me that the real possibility of moving our consciousness to a machine way superior to the human body would greatly threaten any forms of status quo.

Wouldn't that be a good thing?

Progress always disrupts the status quo. Those poor horse farmers that were put out of business by cars. Seen any guys delivering big blocks of ice to people's homes lately? Movie rental stores are basically dead. Non junk mail letters are all but gone.

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-17, 06:19 PM
Well, it depends on whether you consider this progress or not.
With the technology we have today, even if we tomorrow had the ability to perfectly connect nerves to servos, I still wouldn't be putting my brain in any tin can any time soon.
Modern technology is nowhere near reliable or self repairing enough to even come close to the human body.
I welcome the efforts toward enabling technologies for their ability to help those who lack, through injury or illness, the full capabilities of a human body, like fully paralysed, but aware people, or replacing a faulty retina with an image sensor or a busted ear with cochlear implants, or, hell, even a simple pair of glasses.
Some of these are in the experimental or development stages, while others are with us now, some even for centuries.
But I see as yet little justification in augmenting healthy bodies.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-17, 09:09 PM
With the technology we have today, even if we tomorrow had the ability to perfectly connect nerves to servos, I still wouldn't be putting my brain in any tin can any time soon.
Modern technology is nowhere near reliable or self repairing enough to even come close to the human body.
I welcome the efforts toward enabling technologies for their ability to help those who lack, through injury or illness, the full capabilities of a human body, like fully paralysed, but aware people, or replacing a faulty retina with an image sensor or a busted ear with cochlear implants, or, hell, even a simple pair of glasses.
Some of these are in the experimental or development stages, while others are with us now, some even for centuries.
But I see as yet little justification in augmenting healthy bodies.

It is still preferable to restore the functions of biological parts, since the mechanical pieces are still way inferior to the biological ones for the moment.
I bet we probably should develop biological regenerations WAY BEFORE we develop the full non-biological body.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-18, 12:14 AM
Well, it depends on whether you consider this progress or not.
With the technology we have today, even if we tomorrow had the ability to perfectly connect nerves to servos, I still wouldn't be putting my brain in any tin can any time soon. Modern technology is nowhere near reliable or self repairing enough to even come close to the human body.
I welcome the efforts toward enabling technologies for their ability to help those who lack, through injury or illness, the full capabilities of a human body, like fully paralysed, but aware people, or replacing a faulty retina with an image sensor or a busted ear with cochlear implants, or, hell, even a simple pair of glasses.
Some of these are in the experimental or development stages, while others are with us now, some even for centuries.
But I see as yet little justification in augmenting healthy bodies.

I don't think you'd find anyone that would disagree with you here. No one has said now.

There are artificial legs that allow sufficiently-fit amputees to run faster than all-natural people. When we can make legs that are just as good, in all areas, as anything a natural one can do, but can also do something beyond, you will see people having theirs removed to upgrade. At first those people will probably be outliers, like computer users were a few decades ago. But as the hardware gets better, and the cost comes down, most people without a philosophical or religious objection will adopt. Because why not?

Can you do this? (http://www.engadget.com/2009/08/22/video-robot-hand-shows-off-amazing-dexterity-speed/) I can't.

We augment healthy bodies all the time. Gloves to protect our hands, clothes to protect us from weather and give us pockets to carry our crap in, SCUBA gear, masks, and fins to give us freedom underwater, goggles to protect our eyes from damage, writing to store thoughts, knives to cut things, hammers to whack things with . . .

Conceptually, you can think of automobiles or aircraft as exoskeletons. We wear them to do what we cannot.

Becoming all machine would reduce the number of add-ons we need, among the other useful improvements mentioned in this thread.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-18, 12:35 AM
It is still preferable to restore the functions of biological parts, since the mechanical pieces are still way inferior to the biological ones for the moment.
I bet we probably should develop biological regenerations WAY BEFORE we develop the full non-biological body.

It'll be interesting to see how this goes. Will it be more time and cost effective to grow arms from scratch using stem cells, or engineer mechanisms?

I think it'll be easier to go mechanical. Current mechanical art is surprisingly good, much progress since the '80s--tens of millions of years worth of evolution, if nature was doing it. Current complex stem cell grown parts are . . . non existent. But I'm all for both paths.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-18, 04:00 AM
It seems to me that mechanical stuffs will eventually triumph over biology; then again, you will want more "upgrades" if more advanced stuffs are around.

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-18, 04:44 AM
@SkepticJ
A car or other vehicle may be commiserate with an exoskeleton, but I can get out of a car. There is places, most indoor work spaces, where a cars bulk, mass, and power are useless, dangerous and even worthless.
As for runners cutting off their legs for better ones, that makes it kind of pointless, no?
If you can just get better legs, how it is it your achievement?
Another thing I dislike is, even if we improve on humanity, is creating a fundamental divide, the upgraded and the not.
I don't think humanity is mature enough to handle that yet.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-18, 07:08 AM
A car or other vehicle may be commiserate with an exoskeleton, but I can get out of a car. There is places, most indoor work spaces, where a cars bulk, mass, and power are useless, dangerous and even worthless.
As for runners cutting off their legs for better ones, that makes it kind of pointless, no?
If you can just get better legs, how it is it your achievement?
Another thing I dislike is, even if we improve on humanity, is creating a fundamental divide, the upgraded and the not.
I don't think humanity is mature enough to handle that yet.

The naiveness of humanity, after all these years, is fairly appalling of course.
Even without these upgrades, we are still divided by natural abilities, physical appearances, personal fortunes, etc.
If learning comes too automatic, many techniques that people talk great pride of, may lose their prestiges.

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-18, 08:02 AM
The naiveness of humanity, after all these years, is fairly appalling of course.
Even without these upgrades, we are still divided by natural abilities, physical appearances, personal fortunes, etc.
If learning comes too automatic, many techniques that people talk great pride of, may lose their prestiges.
Compared to the changes and differences of capability possible with fully developed cybernetic technology, these are pittances. They also magnify differences that may or may not be earned, for example a rich kid with an enhanced throwing arm does better at baseball than someone who practised all day, every day, who deserves to be on the team?
The office worker with an enhanced memory and recall verses someone with more experience, who gets the job?

spike123131
2012-Mar-18, 08:50 AM
There's this video called Human by Johnny Walker. Just a little one minute video that says something for the people who are afraid. You could probably find it on youtube.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Mar-18, 11:38 AM
They also magnify differences that may or may not be earned, for example a rich kid with an enhanced throwing arm does better at baseball than someone who practised all day, every day, who deserves to be on the team?
Team sports become even more meaningless than they are now.

Trakar
2012-Mar-18, 04:48 PM
That hypothesis doesn't explain why people who are not in any way food deprived will get long-term mental changes, to the point of going clinically insane, from sleep deprivation.

Well, I would suspect that the body's need for rest periods evolved long before higher mental functions. In the process of higher mental facillities evolving the sleep period was already available for use in the purge and clear function of the neurochemicals that accumulate in an active complex brain. Of course this presupposes that higher mental functions work best within a range of neurochemical concentrations. Too little and we are dull and sluggish in response, too much and we become paranoid, distracted and erratic.

In the feedback evolution of complex systems "chicken and egg" situations are rarely clear-cut or easily resolved. I'm not proposing any ultimate solutions here, just some general observations and considerations that seem like they might be interesting avenues of approach worthy of more detailed research and investigation.

Trakar
2012-Mar-18, 05:00 PM
Wouldn't that be a good thing?

Progress always disrupts the status quo. Those poor horse farmers that were put out of business by cars. Seen any guys delivering big blocks of ice to people's homes lately? Movie rental stores are basically dead. Non junk mail letters are all but gone.

Really, sure this isn't mostly a function of where and how you chose to live and interact with the world? Horse farming isn't the mainstay it once was, but neither is utilitarian sandal making. We don't have ice deliveries, but we do have a milkman, and it is a rare day when I don't receive several letters and cards from friends, family, business associates and often strangers. Not solicitations, bills or junk, actual letters, mostly handwritten. I don't think you have to shed the functional and useful as a prerequisite to progress, but it doesn't make sense to complain against or reject progress for the sake of hanging on to nostalgia either. Rather like complaining about the price of whale oil because you don't like the character of light put out by new-fangled incandescent lamps.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-18, 06:04 PM
@SkepticJ
A car or other vehicle may be commiserate with an exoskeleton, but I can get out of a car. There is places, most indoor work spaces, where a cars bulk, mass, and power are useless, dangerous and even worthless.

Yes, and?


As for runners cutting off their legs for better ones, that makes it kind of pointless, no?
If you can just get better legs, how it is it your achievement?

Modern runner's times are a product of technology, too. Think their advanced shoes don't help? Their lighter weight, more breathable clothes? Their scientifically formulated energy drinks?

Forget Mt. Everest climbers, they couldn't make it without bottled oxygen. Forget rock climbers, they couldn't do it without the gripping shoes and chalk dust.

This is a rather insulting sentiment to those who have prostheses. It only counts if you're all natural?


Another thing I dislike is, even if we improve on humanity, is creating a fundamental divide, the upgraded and the not.
I don't think humanity is mature enough to handle that yet.

Does everyone have access to the internet? Modern medicine? Electricity? Literacy?

It sucks, but life's not fair. Unless we go all Borg collective, disparity is an unavoidable result. Even in communistic communities, some people have more power than others.

I don't see altruism going away with mechanization. There will be those who have helping those which have not to have. If you can manufacture hardware yourself using molecular manufacturing, local resources, and energy--say from sunlight--then even dirt-poor people could mechanize themselves. Though, of course, their bodies wouldn't be as good as those of the rich, but have the poor ever been on equal footing with the rich?

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-18, 06:11 PM
For the record, I think all competitive sports and events should have the all athletes in the same field use the exact same equipment.
It shouldn't be about who has the best gadget, but who has the best skill.
SkepticJ, Ironically, your sunlight driven, local resources, molecular manufacturing supermachines already exist.
It's called you and me.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-18, 06:19 PM
Compared to the changes and differences of capability possible with fully developed cybernetic technology, these are pittances. They also magnify differences that may or may not be earned, for example a rich kid with an enhanced throwing arm does better at baseball than someone who practised all day, every day, who deserves to be on the team?

What of genetic ability? Is it earned? Is it fair? No matter how much I devoted myself, I couldn't do what Michael Phelps does. I couldn't be as intelligent as Einstein, or Leonardo. I couldn't handle low oxygen like a Sherpa.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-18, 06:34 PM
For the record, I think all competitive sports and events should have the all athletes in the same field use the exact same equipment. It shouldn't be about who has the best gadget, but who has the best skill.

What if it's not a competitive sport, but a private individual who simply wants to do something better?


SkepticJ, Ironically, your sunlight driven, local resources, molecular manufacturing supermachines already exist.
It's called you and me.

Are our bones made of braided carbon nanotubes? Is our skin a nacre-like composite of aluminum oxide, diamond, and silicone rubber? Can we bound along at several hundred kph? Can we fly using ducted turbines small enough to fit in the palm of a hand? Are we immortal?

Not ironic at all.

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-18, 06:48 PM
What if it's not a competitive sport, but a private individual who simply wants to do something better?

Which leads to the second example. If we could pull off a "I know Kung-Fu" style job training, who deserves a job?


Are our bones made of braided carbon nanotubes? Is our skin a nacre-like composite of silicon oxide, diamond, and silicone rubber? Can we bound along at several hundred kph? Can we fly using ducted turbines small enough to fit in the palm of a hand? Are we immortal?

Not ironic at all.

Would machine bodies allow that? Machines break down, backups fail, redundancies go wrong.
You're not talking about technology any more, you're talking about Magic™
The more complex a machine, the more possibility it has to go wrong.
The fact our bodies don't die the day they are born just shows how close to a miracle life is.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-18, 07:48 PM
Which leads to the second example. If we could pull off a "I know Kung-Fu" style job training, who deserves a job?

If there's truly no difference, flip a coin. Draw straws. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

By the time any of this is possible, most jobs that one could theoretically be paid for will probably be handled by robots and AI anyway.

Creativity is probably the marketable ability of the future.


Would machine bodies allow that? Machines break down, backups fail, redundancies go wrong.
You're not talking about technology any more, you're talking about Magic™
The more complex a machine, the more possibility it has to go wrong.
The fact our bodies don't die the day they are born just shows how close to a miracle life is.

And when those happen, can the machines be fixed afterwards? "Uh oh, the car's battery doesn't work anymore. Time to take it to the scrap yard."
No, you fix the part that's broken. Barring a catastrophic accident that destroys the brain (and multiple, distributed offsite storage can reduce this risk to next to nil*, if one opts for it), then failures aren't fatal, they're inconvenient.

Suppose total systems power is lost, do machines rot when they're not running? If they're made of the right stuff, they don't. There's not a proper comparison that can be made with biology, but the individual would sort of be in a dreamless coma. Made of the right ageless materials, and stored in an equally unchanging place (deep cave on the Moon, or wherever), one could potentially spend eons in this quiescent state and still be capable of being fixed by another. Should this be called death? I don't think so. It's only death if they're never restored.

*Is it absolutely impossible to die? No, but it can be made ludicrously improbable without appeal to Magic.

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-18, 07:58 PM
But cars, ARE scrapped eventually.
And mental backups still mean YOU die, it's just a copy that lives on.
Self repair fails eventually. Even in what I consider the most amazing ,though not without its flaws, machines most common failure modes involves faulty self repair, cancer.
And so far none of this technology is even close to existing.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Mar-18, 08:18 PM
Which leads to the second example. If we could pull off a "I know Kung-Fu" style job training, who deserves a job?
Why do you expect a society where any job is needed to be done?
And why is a job something one is "deserving" of?

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-18, 08:34 PM
Why do you expect a society where any job is needed to be done?
And why is a job something one is "deserving" of?
Well, with almost any job, more than one pwrson is going to want it
I'm not sure about the what you mean by the first part.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-18, 08:39 PM
But cars, ARE scrapped eventually.

You're taking an analogy too far. Cars aren't sentient.


And mental backups still mean YOU die, it's just a copy that lives on.

Now we're getting into philosophical territory.

I'll use digital photography as an analogy. You take a picture of someone who's special to you, you copy that picture from your camera to your computer in a lossless format, then you wipe the camera card. Has the picture been lost? Do you wish you still had the original file inside your camera?

You're not materially the same person you were a few decades ago. Your body has remade itself in new material. Your physical pattern has persisted over time, but the original is lost; you were slowly copied cell by cell, and the original faded away. Are you only you right now, or are you the pattern?


Self repair fails eventually. Even in what I consider the most amazing ,though not without its flaws, machines most common failure modes involves faulty self repair, cancer.

Look up Deinococcus radiodurans. Now imagine error correction equal to or greater than that in artificial nanotech systems. If cancer cells self destructed, tumors wouldn't happen. What if immune systems actually had intelligence?


And so far none of this technology is even close to existing.

How many times are you going to come back to this? Fusion powered spacecraft aren't anywhere near either, why keep noting that in a discussion about them?

HenrikOlsen
2012-Mar-18, 09:25 PM
Well, with almost any job, more than one pwrson is going to want it
I'm not sure about the what you mean by the first part.
You can't conceive of a society without jobs?

ravens_cry
2012-Mar-18, 09:43 PM
You're taking an analogy too far. Cars aren't sentient.
But if they were, they would still break down.




Now we're getting into philosophical territory.

I'll use digital photography as an analogy. You take a picture of someone who's special to you, you copy that picture from your camera to your computer in a lossless format, then you wipe the camera card. Has the picture been lost? Do you wish you still had the original file inside your camera?

I supppose we are. With questions this theoretical it often is.
I would say, yes, the original is lost. There is no continuity between them.


You're not materially the same person you were a few decades ago. Your body has remade itself in new material. Your physical pattern has persisted over time, but the original is lost; you were slowly copied cell by cell, and the original faded away. Are you only you right now, or are you the pattern?
This is different froma back up because you have continuity with yourself. But if you copied yourself, once the copy exists separately, the continuity is broken. It's better than the alternative, but the original is still gone.





Look up Deinococcus radiodurans. Now imagine error correction equal to or greater than that in artificial nanotech systems. If cancer cells self destructed, tumors wouldn't happen. What if immune systems actually had intelligence?
Sounds like the plot of Osmosis Jones.:p



How many times are you going to come back to this? Fusion powered spacecraft aren't anywhere near either, why keep noting that in a discussion about them?
We have demonstrated that fusion can happen. We even have done it in a controlled sense, we "just" haven't figured out how to make it so we get more energy out of it than we put in. But self repairing systems of even close the level of proficiency and reliability in which I am willing to trust my conciousness to them are still the abode of life and life alone.
Edit:

You can't conceive of a society without jobs?
Just saw your post.
No, I can not except on a very small scale.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-19, 01:06 AM
But if they were, they would still break down.

And if they broke down, they could be fixed. You do understand why sentience is the important quality here, don't you? It's okay to just scrap a car, they're just dumb machines. It's not ethical to scrap machines with "souls", that's called murder. Unless, of course, they asked to be scrapped, then it's euthanasia--though why a repairable machine would desire to die is beyond me.





I supppose we are. With questions this theoretical it often is.
I would say, yes, the original is lost. There is no continuity between them.


This is different froma back up because you have continuity with yourself. But if you copied yourself, once the copy exists separately, the continuity is broken. It's better than the alternative, but the original is still gone.

Do you have a continuity of consciousness? Of course not, sleep takes care of that, chopping your life up into discreet spans.

You're assuming the copies would differ. Potentially, they could be updated in real time via radio. Even if a few days are missing from the memory, big deal. People who drink heavily lose hours of memory all the time, and they don't get an existential crisis over it.




Sounds like the plot of Osmosis Jones.:p

Never seen that.

Intelligent immunity would be quite effective, I think. The problem with cancer is the body doesn't recognize that the cells are harmful. Viruses and harmful bacteria are obviously out of place chemically, but cancer cells are virtually identical to healthy cells.


But self repairing systems of even close the level of proficiency and reliability in which I am willing to trust my conciousness to them are still the abode of life and life alone.

We differ on this point.

Ideally, I'd want self-repairing capability, but if there's enough pro to the mechanization, it would outweigh the con for me. If the parts would take decades to wear out (and parts made of diamond, ceramics, Stellite, etc. would take a long time to do so) I don't see why it should be vital that the body can do it itself. If I have my own matter compiler at home that I can print out replacement parts with, the situation is pretty good.

Inclusa
2012-Mar-19, 02:20 AM
We should face the very reality that the human body is a fragile and imperfect product; in spite of certain self-repair abilities, there are parts that do no self-repair, and cancer has been mentioned as the largest bug of this system.
I believe SkepticCJ believes in transferring our consciousness to the machine and the mechanical brain as well.
Disparity continues no matter what; we can just mitigate its worst effects.
P.S. One disadvantage with prosthesis is that they cannot be attached the way our natural limbs do.

Trakar
2012-Mar-20, 03:06 PM
We should face the very reality that the human body is a fragile and imperfect product; in spite of certain self-repair abilities, there are parts that do no self-repair, and cancer has been mentioned as the largest bug of this system.
I believe SkepticCJ believes in transferring our consciousness to the machine and the mechanical brain as well.
Disparity continues no matter what; we can just mitigate its worst effects.
P.S. One disadvantage with prosthesis is that they cannot be attached the way our natural limbs do.

Such would not be a "transfer" so much as a "simulated recreation," of questionable fidelity.

Trakar
2012-Mar-20, 03:16 PM
You're taking an analogy too far. Cars aren't sentient.

Now we're getting into philosophical territory.

I'll use digital photography as an analogy. You take a picture of someone who's special to you, you copy that picture from your camera to your computer in a lossless format, then you wipe the camera card. Has the picture been lost? Do you wish you still had the original file inside your camera?

Poor analogy, the image itself is a poor quality superficial replication of the natural envirnoment to begin with. You are trying to replace the scene you photographed with the photograph and then argue that copies of the photograph are no different than each other. We aren't trying to replace the photograph, we are talking about replacing the environment that was photographed. I would not mistake a photograph of a friend or loved one for my friend or loved one.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-20, 05:37 PM
Such would not be a "transfer" so much as a "simulated recreation," of questionable fidelity.

Are you a simulated recreation? Remember, your cells have duplicated themselves and died numerous times across your life. Though most of your brain is the original neurons you were born with. That's just a limitation of human biology, some organisms can repair their nervous systems.

It's the Ship of Theseus paradox.

I argue the material and/or mental pattern is the self. Unless there's a mental point of divergence between the copies, they're all you.

Suppose there are two machine bodies, each with its own brain, but the two brains share everything with one another automatically, as fast as radio can carry it from one to another. The two brains think as one. And then one of the bodies/brain is destroyed in an accident. Did an individual die?

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-20, 06:01 PM
Poor analogy, the image itself is a poor quality superficial replication of the natural envirnoment to begin with. You are trying to replace the scene you photographed with the photograph and then argue that copies of the photograph are no different than each other.

Perfect analogy, because no I'm not. I'm copying everything that truly matters about a person, and incarnating it in a new substrate.


We aren't trying to replace the photograph, we are talking about replacing the environment that was photographed. I would not mistake a photograph of a friend or loved one for my friend or loved one.

Suppose everything you loved about them existed in a machine. Isn't it someone's character that matters, not the composition of their body?

HenrikOlsen
2012-Mar-20, 07:59 PM
Perfect analogy, because no I'm not. I'm copying everything that truly matters about a person, and incarnating it in a new substrate.
You're copying the bit you have arbitrarily decided is all you care about about a person.

There seems to be different opinions about whether that's a universal choice.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-20, 09:27 PM
You're copying the bit you have arbitrarily decided is all you care about about a person.

There seems to be different opinions about whether that's a universal choice.

What else could someone want? External appearance? Comparatively easy to realize in artificial materials. All one has to do is use a silicone rubber that has subsurface light scattering like human skin, and put actuators in the appropriate places to emulate a natural face. Example. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUtfns8kgaA) Blushing could be accomplished with artificial chromatophores. What'll engineers be able to do in a century? Two? Three? Ten?

They could look just like a natural person, like they did just before mechanization, or like they did decades in the past; or be the ideal of whatever cultural standard of beauty is in vogue then.

Voice? Put a loudspeaker somewhere.

Breath? An air mover, source of heat and humidity.

Other bodily features, of which it's against the rules to talk plainly about, could be similarly duplicated or enhanced beyond their natural form. Want it to be prehensile? Variable in size or shape? Spin?

HenrikOlsen
2012-Mar-20, 11:44 PM
I want to experience the sensation of touching another person's skin.

Sorry, tech guy though I am, a growing amount of my enjoyment of life involves sensations, mostly those experienced though interaction with another consenting human being.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-21, 02:38 AM
Try to imagine how they'd feel if you had these (http://www.frc.ri.cmu.edu/users/hpm/project.archive/robot.papers/1999/NASA.report.99/9901.NASA.html) for hands. Trillions of fingers. Oh my.

Further consider that you could tailor how your sensory inputs feel to you. Swimming in cold water could taste sweet. Walking around in the sunshine could feel as nice as the activities you're talking about. And those same sorts of activities, as conducted with superior hardware, would be so transcendent that we simply can't grok how they could feel--our flesh brains are far too puny.

New qualia will have to be devised. What should infrared radiation look like? Terahertz waves? Ultraviolet? Particle radiation? What should electromagnetic fields feel like?

Trakar
2012-Mar-21, 02:52 PM
Perfect analogy, because no I'm not. I'm copying everything that truly matters about a person, and incarnating it in a new substrate.

That seems a very superficial and incomplete consideration of what "truly matters," about a person, and presumes a level of understanding and technological capability far beyond anything even remotely on the horizon of potentiality.



Suppose everything you loved about them existed in a machine. Isn't it someone's character that matters, not the composition of their body?

the wetware is most often a major factor in the nature and character of the individual's persona, remove the wetware and you indelibly alter that nature and character. I'm not saying that we will never be able to create that which you advocate, merely that the result is a markedly different entity, not a continuation of the previous biologic entity.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Mar-21, 06:22 PM
Try to imagine how they'd feel if you had these (http://www.frc.ri.cmu.edu/users/hpm/project.archive/robot.papers/1999/NASA.report.99/9901.NASA.html) for hands. Trillions of fingers. Oh my.

Further consider that you could tailor how your sensory inputs feel to you. Swimming in cold water could taste sweet. Walking around in the sunshine could feel as nice as the activities you're talking about. And those same sorts of activities, as conducted with superior hardware, would be so transcendent that we simply can't grok how they could feel--our flesh brains are far too puny.

New qualia will have to be devised. What should infrared radiation look like? Terahertz waves? Ultraviolet? Particle radiation? What should electromagnetic fields feel like?
Since we're now fully in Cloud Cuckoo Land I'll bow out, as I consider this discussion a waste of time.

SkepticJ
2012-Mar-22, 02:54 AM
What's cloud cuckoo about it?

How sensory information feels is a product of the brain. This is not controversial. Sugar tastes sweet because our brains make it so. Sugar is just a chemical, it doesn't have a "transcendental sweetness". Suppose an alien ate sugar, would it be sweet to them? Wouldn't have to be; it could elicit quite a different feeling in them. Red is just how our brains represent a little bit of the EM spectrum. What we call red could look like what we call blue, if that's how our evolution had gone. What would red look like to an alien? Perhaps seeing colors feel like textures to them, or how they experience colors don't feel like anything we can relate to.

You should read about synesthesia.

I'm not a mushy-headed crackpot.

Inclusa
2012-Oct-13, 07:52 AM
This is still a great topic. Beside moving a person's consciousness to a mechanical body, we can have robotic companions or nurses who take care of people with special needs 7/24.
(This is the very least; if we can move the consciousness to the mechanical body, we can probably eliminate these special needs altogether.)