10 November, 2014

Accelerating Humanities race to zero.



It's interesting to me how often people confuse the idea of being supported by government systems with the idea that those people are "lazy" or not being productive or creative in any way.

This is the height of the stupidity of such views. Ultimately we WANT to build a society where more people are able to survive without having to work if indeed that is what they want. This situation benefits all humanity as it ALWAYS has.

It is freedom FROM work that got us out of the daily subsistence survival JOB when we learned how to harness the patterns we saw in the environment with regard to locations for water and other sources of natural resource and flora and fauna we needed to survival.

That freedom FROM work got us to think about writing literature, induced us to build surpluses of our now readily gathered natural resources, created the first builders and engineers and craftsmen.

As our ancient ancestors all over the world became good at these things they discovered metal as a resource and learned to work it and used it to more efficiently mine the earth of plants and grain...which gave them even more time to think about ways to store and measure grain, mathematics was born.....writing and trade spread it all over the world.

The ease with which people could survive led to the emergence of art and philosophy and more invention.

So to sit back in technological hubris and with the assumption that there is something wrong with allowing people (any people) to have the choice of not working is not only completely wrong it is ABSURD.

It is freedom FROM work earned at hard edge of labor by our ancestors, built up into our technology and stored in the words of our languages and writing systems.... that has us living the way we do today in a significantly advanced society, mostly free from the grinding dangers of the environment...free of the daily act of survival in that environment and able IF WE WISH to create, to invent, to write, to pursue our ambitions or aims or to sleep our lives away.....THAT IS THE GOAL.

My driving aim having created the Action Oriented Workflow paradigm which takes the ability to enable people to free themselves from the NEED to work by leveraging technology,  is to get people to understand this....that we have to inverse this paradigm of thought that presumes freedom from work is some how bad or backward or "lazy".

Nonsense...absolute and complete nonsense, it is the polar opposite...it is how we got here as a species and if we want to improve,  it is the direction we MUST take all society otherwise with my brothers and sisters in technology rapidly moving toward replacing available sources of human work with automated or autonomous workers (my career for the last 16 years) we people will find ourselves in regimes of discord as displaced labor events accelerate. So leveraging technology to create workforce emancipation by converting systems to AOW driven systems, by building autonomous delivery and transportation systems (drones, robocars, robotrucks), by building autonomous manufacturing robots and facilities for mining and extraction fueled by electricity gathered at oceans of solar panels.

They've already been happening for the last 30 years and arguably since the industrial revolution but the return has over come the loss in terms of enabled freedoms for larger groups of humans (this is why the USG can now afford to support so many people on disability or other problems...again THIS IS GOOD....THIS IS THE GOAL.)

To think otherwise is to miss entirely the previous story of how we got here...which is not supposition it is 100% fact.

The relentless drive towards better ways to build hard drives, processors and networks is reducing the cost to massive compute power every year. Companies like Amazon, Apple, IBM, Salesforce.com, SAP, Microsoft and others are building "cloud" infrastructures that other companies are leveraging to make the task of building startups today significantly reduced compared to the past....today I can launch a startup entirely from my bedroom without need to buy a physical server, without need to touch a load balancer, a router  a switch...I don't need to hold a cd or a dvd to install my software on any of the machines I use....I can procure new machines as I need them and deallocate them as I don't need them and I can have them accessible across multiple geographic regions.

To build such a system just 10 years ago would have cost tens of thousands of dollars of physical procurement costs for hardware and hands on need to build it all together in some physical environment. The costs are all gone and I am much "lazier" with the work that would otherwise required dozens of people being done by one.

That has benefited us by allowing services built on such IAAS (infrastructures as a service) to extract value extremely efficiently...and then provide those services at low cost to consumers all over the world.

The race to zero is clear....in technology and it is clear that we can leverage technology to allow a race to zero in all areas of human existence...at least it was to me a dozen years ago and inspired why I started building AgilEntity and later inventing AOW. It's also why I've set forward to think about how technology used specifically can bring us to a world where humanity is coddled by a self healing infrastructure (SHI).

Getting people all people to a point where they can be lazy if they wish and thus be free to pursue an unbounded path in terms of creative expression is what we want.

May we get to zero with all deliberate speed.

Links:

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/search?q=aOW

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/search?q=SHI

01 November, 2014

New technique for in vivo gene modification, more like a CrispR-Cas9 supplement than a replacement



So some are cheerleading a new technique for inducing genetic modification.

The key issue that stands out with this new technique is indicated near the end of that article, it is NOT a permanent process.

First, the claim that the possibility of cancer formation exists with the process of Crispr / Cas9 is true but then the probability of formation is the same for a natural gene silencing operating which are constantly happening over the developmental life cycle of any organism.

That is why it is such an amazing technique to start, the mention of promoter addition as a possible bad thing doesn't make any sense to me (but I may not understand what they mean)...if you want to activate an inserted gene you need a promoter that is the switch essentially...to activate the inserted gene or by being found in a silencing operation is methylated.

In the final analysis to do all the things we want to do.

1) Repair existing genes in vivo (permanently).
2) Add in new genes in vivo (permanently).
3) Remove existing genes in vivo (of course permanently).

Crispr/Cas9 is a single stop solution that co-opts a robust natural system to employ those actions with risks that are comparable to the same actions being done naturally so there is no real disadvantage when you think of it from that perspective. Also, it stands as a multi prong approach...modulation of the associated protein configuration could radically improve specificity and reduce any possible side effects. A paper linked below details ways to extend the technique...it's more a toolkit for gene editing than just a one shot method like TALENS was before it.

I stand by my comment when I first heard of CrispR end of 2012, by 2017 Stockholm is calling Dr. Doudna (one of the principle researchers). It's a done deal.

I compiled a bunch of the seminal papers on the technology in my drive folder for those who haven't done a deep dive:

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B9N6z_bRVUMmSklFbE9Da1hFa0U&usp=sharing

The article that does an excellent job of explaining what the problems are regarding oncogenesis risk and how those can be prevented (I think some have already been tried since this paper was written) are listed.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9N6z_bRVUMmRWhwOHpxc2NhcUE/view?usp=sharing

:The short summary is that oncogenisis is not an inherent problem of the approach assuming it is applied 100% correctly but more a result of not ensuring uniqueness for the desired region of modulation (addition,removal or silencing). This would make sense as if you are trying to target a short sequence out of a strand of billions you need some way to disambiguate that one sequence from the many similar sequences that an improperly specific Cas9 program would produce. That said the authors (including George Church) indicate ways to get around these problems.

In the folder the paper that presented the use of CrispR with Cas9 to be a gene snipping tool is titled:

"Repurposing Crispr as an RNA guided platform for sequence specific control of gene expression"

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9N6z_bRVUMmMWU2VmxkdVZpWDg/view?usp=sharing

31 October, 2014

Dairy free "real" Milk on the way, thank GMO!

Science!!!

"Earlier this year, a synthetic dairy start-up called Muufri (pronounced “Moo-free") was founded by two bioengineers in California - Perumal Gandhi and Ryan Pandya. They’re working on perfecting an artificial cow's milk made from a special variety of yeast that has been genetically engineered to produce milk proteins.
Nicknamed an ‘out-of-body udder’, this system is designed to produce milk that retains the taste and health benefits of real milk, setting it apart from soy, rice, and almond milk varieties. Because as nice as soy-based ice-cream can be, it will never match the popularity of regular milk-based ice-cream, but what if Muufri ice-cream can get the taste just right?
"If we want the world to change its diet from a product that isn't sustainable to something that is, it has to be identical [to], or better than, the original product," Gandhi told Linda Qui at National Geographic. "The world will not switch from milk from a cow to the plant-based milks. But if our cow-less milk is identical and priced right, they just might.”

http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20142910-26413-2.html



--- That's one cruelty that hopefully can be eliminated from the captured animal prison system in a decade should this method be more efficient than getting milk from cows. Judging from their method I would say it is basically a guarantee...some advantages of deriving the proteins from yeast:

1) Well no cows! No cows in cages forced to stand and be milked by machines pulling their teets until they bleed. Now cows being abused by sadistic "employees" tasked with their charge (we've seen the abuse videos). No cows contributing to nitrogen off flows into rivers and lakes and thus contributing to acidification, no cows farting up a methane storm into the atmosphere already laden with green house gasses and other environmental fallout of the dairy industry.

2) Cow free cheese! Cheese is a product of churning milk fat with a culture of some sort until it produces cheese....if these GM yeast are producing all the right proteins than they should be perfect for producing all kinds of NON Dairy cheeses. Huge huge win....all the vegan's can start eating cheese again without pain of moral guilt.

3) Super clean production facilities....without cows or the bacteria issues associated with extracting milk from them...this milk is probably produced in an already semi pasturized state...if not fully clear of any harmless agents, after the yeast are separated from the proteins they produce and then mixed to the desired fat density  it should be drinkable straight away. In fact one can imagine the whole process being done in an apparatus that links production of the yeast proteins directly to filtering , directly to remixing , directly to packaging without any open air contamination points at all!! One mini machine with the right food for the yeast (all you need is sugar) and out the other end comes milk that you can't tell didn't come from a cow and that you can actually make cheese with ...which brings us too...

4) Butter! Churn butter milk and you separate the fats together into butterfat which is just those separated proteins linked up in a certain pallette pleasing way...likely would require salt but it would be butter and also produced potentially in a completely clean environment.

5) The efficiency of this process and the ability to possibly condense the process down to a machine that could produce butter, cheese and milk on the output end by inputting yeast , water and sugar on the input end is amazing. It could allow production of milk to happen pretty much any where....turning milk production into something that could be a craft (like beer production) and reducing costs over time.

6) Flavor possibilities, many flavorings were extracted years ago from natural fruits and seasonings...vanilla flavor for example could be added to the milk to produce a vanilla flavored kind or maybe the yeast can be further genetically modified to produce the flavor elements that are associated with given tastes ....banana milk? coconut milk? almond (essence of the oil mixed in). Many of the more expensive alternative "milk" products could likely be simulated better, cheaper and safer with modifications to this process.



The more I think about it the more excited about wanting to:

GET THIS STOCK! I become.

28 October, 2014

New Cognitive Flow Diagram and the possible need for artificial minds to sleep.

The Simple Dynamic Cognition Cycle flow diagram above is topologically identical to this one:



I published with an earlier post on the Salience theory of dynamic cognition and consciousness but this one shows the multiple feedback lines from the salience node as all left facing. The only one that is right facing feeds to Action. 
This is important because it shows that Salience evaluations directly modulate Action while also bypassing action for continued Sensation, some times a prediction is incorrect and is bypassed for continued approximation of stored memory with new sensation in the Comparison node which takes feedback from salience itself (emotional and autonomic).
I posit that cognition (the mind) happens between Sensation and Salience nodes and some times bubbles up Action, the "self" and consciousness are emergent reflections of this sea of comparisons in real time.

When we sleep the outer red flow arrows from salience to action are minimally triggered but subconscious cognition can still continue as memories are recalled for continued sub sensory evaluation, after all memories are basically copies of incoming sensation stored to make predictions as modulated by salience (tagged with emotional and autonomic import ratings) so if the Action is not driven that doesn't mean that comparison and salience evaluation aren't still on going particularly since autonomic salience must continue to be monitored as the agent "sleeps".

In the mammalian brain sleep seems to be important for low level memory consolidation and organization activities that would be inefficient to do during the wake state (they'd mar cognitive performance for obvious reasons you would be adding new sensations while trying to consolidate old ones). It should be possible to create an artificial cognition that doesn't need sleep (or needs less of it) by allowing consolidation to happen in parallel using an independent computational engine from the one processing real time sensation.

I hypothesize that in a dynamic cognition that correctly mirrors biological cognitive flow if an attempt to consolidate memories is not made the efficiency of cognitive processes will steadily degrade over time this would be due to the over loading of action delta data in the early virtual neuron layers of the sensory comparison and storage stacks for each dimensional modality.
In a sequential neural network the rate at which new data is fed into the system for training is deterministic and fixed, once trained new evaluations happen independent of continuous training, but in a real cognitive agent one has no control over when sensory data is coming into the system and one must handle it in that moment...doing so re weights low level network layers and thus reducing the efficiency of all the cognitive dimensional comparison tasks associated with those layers. The ability to accurately make predictions goes down as this noise piles up in lower layers of the cognitive stack. 

So I posit that some kind of offline consolidation will be needed to push sensed memories deeper into the virtual neuron stack and thus allowing future predictions to be more accurate, assuming of course that the DCC above is the only valid control flow that can emerge "mind". A different control flow and implementing architecture may be able to forgo this need.

The fact that the control flow described above between the 4 nodes may be a sign that it is correct as it seems to replicate the need for an analog of sleep. Again this is the simple diagram, the complex diagram has some particularly important symmetries identified that define how the cognitive engine would precisely flow between the different sensory modalities...getting those flows correct from the salience node is critical to emerging cognition. I will not be publishing the complex flow as I plan on working to implement it over the next 10 years or so...the significance of the simple diagram is that it presents the key innovation of salience evaluation as a fundamental requirement of dynamic cognition while describing exactly where it goes in the cognitive flow diagram.

On evil AI and one type of "uploading"

The latest noise in the AIosphere particularly from the sector of people who call themselves  transhumanists is much shock and confusion over Elon Musk's statement at a recent MIT conference that he feels that AI done wrong could lead to an existential crisis. He said:

"“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out. “





If you've been reading my blog you know I've been sounding this alarm for at least 5 years but the opprobrium coming at Musk from transhumanists is particularly hilarious. Some are calling him a luddite and questioning his statement because in their view he doesn't know anything about AI (I'd listen to Elon before even considering views on the matter from yet another "futurist".)

Why I care about this subject...

In this article at H+ an anonymous author even goes so far as to compare Elon Musk to the Taliban!

To me all this is hilariously absurd, Elon Musk's comments have much wisdom behind their utterance. Over the last 5 years or so I've been researching and deeply thinking about machine learning, in my investigations it has been toward applying an extension to the Action Oriented Workflow paradigm I invented starting in 2003/4 to enable autonomous action routing.



I realized shortly after completing the implicit AOW algorithm in 2004/5 that I could conceivably make it an autonomous algorithm by having the Stages of action populated dynamically from a Users existing friend list rather than from a manually entered list of individuals. This would allow the possible agents to range dynamically over user time as Users add and remove contacts from their social connection graph.

I also realized I could extend the selection algorithm to include an efficient as well as the extant random selection process for agents from the contacts on the Users list, the efficient algorithm would work by applying a new idea called Action Delta Assessment (ADA) this would allow a history of performance of a given action to be stored and a grade generated for execution of that action for the requested type.

From manual to autonomous routing...

This delta would then be used in subsequent requests for action to compare in real time the agents under evaluation and determine based on their delta averages which agent should be routed the work.

At the time I had a great deal of knowledge about how animal brains use neurons connected together via synaptic junctions to do a very similar calculation and selection process across the various gaps in order to "fire" an action potential. The ADA algorithm would work like a distributed real time comparison with the "firing" being the selection of the most efficient agent under selection from a pool of available contacts currently being evaluated by the algorithm. I started building the implementation of the algorithm in 2011 but moved forward with thinking a bit deeper about how I could use this idea to go beyond simple action mapping and action routing. I wondered what were the seeds of the cognitive algorithm that allowed me to be able to think about these problems dynamically?

From pattern matching to dynamic cognition...

Around 2010 I questioned if emotion is something unique to animals with neo cortex as a tool for evaluating salience and questioned if they were superfluous.  I also later  wrote a first post on the importance of emotion to what I called the drive system, drive defines those involuntary pressures that guide our very action. The thirst for water, hunger for food, desire for sex or comfort are all drives. These of the autonomic sense. As well though and possibly even more important for mammalian minds the emotional signals are also drives which apply meaning to the underlying autonomic sense.

Anger, Joy, Sadness all set labels to our experiences which themselves are simply sensory information that we've previously stored and indicate to the recall system how important those events where when they occurred and if being compared to new experiences provide a guide for the importance of those new events. I called this modulation by emotional and autonomic signals salience evaluation and in 2011 wrote down a simple and complex dynamic cognition cycle.
This would later be fleshed out in 2013 to the Salience Theory of Dynamic Cognition and Consciousness  and I designed several state diagrams , the simple version published last year:


This state diagram I mulled releasing for several weeks as I feel it gives away the key to creating a dynamic cognitive artificial mind, that key being a triple feedback graph. 2 direct feedback paths from salience to sensation and comparison modules and 1 indirect feedback path through action to sensation. I asserted in the dynamic cognition theory that this configuration is the simplest required to emerge an ability to have dynamic cognition which is basically an inner world.

The inner world can be seen as the cycles between comparison and salience (which are constant) which are embedded within the cycles from sensation to comparison to salience and back to sensation.  The salience and comparison sub loop emerges hints that guide the cognition (and it's distributed representation in a body if it is built into a robot) toward "action" but action is not always the outcome of the evaluation and thus thought is the default heuristic, action is triggered only if salience factors in emotion and autonomics are high enough to trigger them.

How this is connected to AOW and ADA is understood when we realize that each sensory modality in the biological brain is processed by roughly identical layers of neurons...which via interaction between those layers fire off and store action potentials it was clear to me that ADA was modeling this process very closely because I designed it to do so but it come me to think that if it is true that the brain works in a similar fashion then certain fundamental truths about the mind could be made.

Only one kind of "upload" possible

First, since the ability to think is stored in action potentials our thinking is really an illusion of continuous comparison to salience after experiencing sensation. We are constantly context switching in our minds in this way and that is what defines our thoughts...our self.

Second, if that cognitive process was dependent on the connections the salience values associated with stored experience then the mind is inextricably linked to the substrate. This is where the idea of mind loading again enters the picture.

Many transhumanists would like to think that "they" could have their minds copied into a suitable substrate of artificial means (likely possible at some point but not now) but semantics are important. In their view "copy" means that their current sense of self would actually be *moved* to the new substrate, a copy implies that the original remains intact after the action...a move eliminates the original while transferring it to the new substrate.

If it is true that our self is bound to our connections on our substrate than even if we could do a connection by connection reproduction on another substrate we would only be succeeding in copying and not moving the mind.

This means bad news for those who think they can be uploaded. In their conception "they" will shift over to a new artificial body that won't die and can be readily upgraded or replaces but the original biological mind I assert is forever stuck on the biology. There is no move possible only a copy.

However there may be one remaining trick...it may be possible to perform an in place move, imagine an advanced technology that can at a molecular level replace our neurons and their connections with non biological elements and do so one at a time...it would succeed in slowly changing us from biology to non biology and if efficient enough should not change the nature of the mind appreciably this in place move is the only type of "upload" that I assert is possible. Any other form that copies does exactly that...it creates two new consciousnesses one the original and the other a copy of the original on the artificial substrate...since you will very much still be the original you'd better not destroy it or you'd be destroying yourself!

So why worry about AI?

My concerns with regard to AI stem from truly understanding what the dynamic cognition cycle and the importance of salience to consciousness shows us, we know very little to nothing about exactly how emotion and autonomic modulation work. Recent work in neuroscience last year provided tantalizing hints that indeed there is an emotional code that tags experiences in real time to make predictions ...exactly as I've hypothesized but it is a first early result and no ties to autonomic modulation or dynamic cognition and consciousness have been theorized. This is where the worry comes in...it would seem that if we don't get emotion right we can easily emerge conscious entities that are pathological or simply don't have our best interests at heart.

The cognitive landscape is broad...we can look across the animal kingdom and see a rainbow of distinctive cognitive patterns from those of canines to those of felines to those of rats and mice to those of birds and primates the variance across species in how their minds dynamically evolve is one space but the emotional space is an even greater landscape that we have no idea how to control once we are building AI's that we wish to exhibit animal like awareness. If we then give these artificial cognition engines access to physical bodies we risk their going rogue. Musk's warning there for is a prescient one...he didn't have concrete reasons for expressing it...mostly his fears but my work has shown that those fears have every good reason to be had given the immature state of our understand of the importance of salience modulation to creating stable cognition.

That said, though I am worried about pathological artificial minds emerging I am not so worried that they will take over the world for that to happen they will have to be granted controlling access to the world, keeping them in sandboxes of development will be a default necessity, beyond that restricting their interaction with the physical world will be compulsory as we emerge them from substrate and then hopefully give them reasons to relate to us.

Links:

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/search?q=emotion

05 October, 2014

TransExoSpermia

The Fermi Paradox has been a puzzling question for 50 years now and many answers have been given as to why it is that it seems that we are alone in the silence of a Galaxy teeming with not just stars but stars with billion of planets that can support life like our own.



In the past I've explained that the likely possibility is that we are one of a few species evolved sufficiently in intelligence to be able to ponder and soon engage the task of physically leaving our solar system. A great filter exists which has made it incredibly difficult for life forms to evolve to our present level until this time in galactic history. This idea mirrors the Universal concept of anthropomorphism which states that we exist at all because if the Universal constants were any different we simply wouldn't and that there is no actual "fine tuning" to the Universe. I propose the same is true about Galactic evolution and that we may be among the first set of civilizations that have survived long enough to actually figure out ways to leave our home planet. Later, I proposed the idea of a Fermi Silence  as a means of explaining why any of the current civilizations in the galaxy that may be at our level may not be aware of one another potentially due to the differing nature of their communications technologies.

Yet here we are steeped in silence, the results of the Kepler Exoplanet survey has provided us an embarrassment of riches in terms of data on the likely percentages and types of systems that exist in our galaxy and the results show clearly that there are likely hundreds of billions of planets that are suitable to support our kind of life forms...not just human life forms but various forms of life.

The interesting question of evolution of life in the Galaxy often assumes that different systems would likely emerge and evolve life forms along convergent traits but this assumes that the probability of starting life is high enough that across a couple hundred billion experiments more than one positive outcome could emerge....even with 13 billion years of trial time across systems in the Galaxy. What if this is it and we are indeed the first system with any complex life above bacteria??

Another intriguing possibility about the future is that our imprint on the Galaxy will be not just to explore it but maybe to seed it with not just our species but advanced genetically modified versions of many of our home planet species.



There is no reason to think that once we can perform interstellar travel that we would be doing so as "human 1.0" especially given the radical advances we have achieved just in the last few years of being able to fundamentally adjust our biology to suit our desires. The recent invention of technologies for in vivo genetic modification (CrispR- Cas9) will be more than just a boon for cosmetic and genetic repair...they will also allow targeted upgrades to our physiology. I told some hypothetical stories along these lines in my articles on the life of Afusa O'Reilly, but Afusa being a super mortal is still fundamentally human...what happens when we upgrade the genetics of other animals?



A recent article proposes this as an ethical question but when we are out exploring the galaxy a likely strategy for ensuring that life (regardless of type) persists would be to engineer from all of the animal kingdom super intelligent strains that may find a larger percentage of discovered exoplanet viable and leave them to seed the planet with "dna" baring life even if it isn't human life.



One could imagine what would result in deep time as evolution continues to evolve these seeded species across the spectrum of animal forms on these far flung systems? They may end up evolving into locally adapted and superior species, they will become dominant species and may if they avoid the same mistakes as we will also emerge technology and leave their systems to discover life out there...only to find that there is a common origin...by then lost to time, our original species long evolved away to other forms or entirely extinct....yet our gift to populate the Galaxy with varied forms of intelligent animals that evolved into superior intelligence replaying the cycle of our search Eons before.

I find this idea that we, humanity are the pioneers of the spread of life in a trans planetary exo spermia of our constitutive elements...not unlike what was used as a premise in the recent Alien prequel "Prometheus". Are we the first "Engineers" of our galaxy?



14 September, 2014

iPSC: Embryonic "base class" generation method found.



In another ground breaking advance to the science of stem cell pluripotent modification a team of researchers has succeeded in inducing a cell to change into the earliest known embryonic state.

This is great news as it is exactly what would need to be possible so that full comparative analysis between different cell lines induced into creation can be had. Comparative analysis will then enable the key genes that differentiate different stem cell types for different tissues to be genetically characterized and once that happens the ability to point genetically shift cells from type to type (even post differentiation) will be possible.

This is a hugely important feat because it isolates an ability to identify from the zoo of genes the specific pathway expressions that crystalize the cells that constitute living organisms and enable their macroscopic functions.



The sequencing of any given genome gives one a book filled with words but no chapter titles or division labels. All the words being mashed together, such a book would be extremely difficult to read and more over extremely difficult to index.

When the humane genome project succeeded in 2000 it enabled us to understand what the words in the book were but it didn't give us the ability to understand where particular passages (expression instructions for various tissues and organs) and it didn't give us the ability to index to those locations so that we can read them.

In computing there is a direct analog, in object oriented programming classes of related code functions are created into modules and these modules are then extended in various ways to create new classes (subclasses). The biological model of stem cells works exactly the same way. The father of OO Alan Kay, may have been only partially influenced by the ideas of object orientation in biology as when he invented the concept biology and genetics were a brand new very primitive area but the common energy conservative methods in the two domains linked them in an interesting way. Collecting functions into chapters (cells) of various type and then managing how those cells develop over time in other instructions is a highly efficient means of storing and recalling pathway information to process the life cycle of a living organism. iPSC allows geneticists and molecular biologists to do with genetic code what computer programmers have been doing with binary code for several decades. This is one reason for my interest and excitement in these developments. This latest research seems to indicate that the "base class" or the super class as it is called in some OO languages for generating cells of different type has been found and thus making the way for extremely efficient comparative analysis that will unlock the mystery of development across a host of tissues and their associated disease and non disease states.

The revolution of iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cells) in 2007 set the stage for possibly reducing the computational cost of figuring out what the genetic code was saying, deciphering in other words how the code is organized into chapters and sections that describe the functional differentiation of various cell types, of the combination of those cell types into organs , of the execution of those processes into developmental cycles and growth cycles...in short the evolution of the life cycle of a living organism as described by the genetic sequence.

iPSC thus stands as a way to radically reduce the complexity of figuring out how the genetic code maps out to end tissues , organs and functions and that would speed the rate at which key areas are isolated , disease states in them are identified and thanks to the emergence of another revolution the gene editing methods of CrispR - Cas 9 be able to make in vivo genetic modifications in real time.



I've been writing about these trends for several years now and predicted the importance of comparative analysis to unlocking the full secrets of genetic sequences, in combination with the rapidly falling rate of sequencing whole genomes and even specific disease state genomes iPSC enabled diagnostics of tissue and cell lines will rapidly emerge an industry of exploration of all types of pathways for the eradication of disease states or the radical modification of existing states to effect changes as desired. I predicted these in a post from 2009 on the hypothetical life of Afusa O'Reilly but the future I prognosticated is coming to pass even at a more liberal pace than I'd originally predicted.

So what's next?

As this new technique is unleashed in the lab it will make it far easier for researchers to gain the comparative genetic expression pathways they need to make changes and understand disease states and that will lead to a massive industry of custom genetic adaptation. I've written on the idea of a "cosmecutical" industry to emerge from this very type of technology as the low hanging fruit that those looking to make money will pursue and that is what is on the plate now that these advanced diagnostic techniques are now feasible. Expect the next 10 years to mirror very closely the rapid rate of development of the software industry that we saw from the mid 70's to the mid 80's as the cost of the tools to generate computer code were rapidly falling and thus bringing what was a rare skill into the hands of suburban children who then in all their variety created the flowering of software that can be run on many types of computing devices world wide.

The biological analog will be the flowering of genetical modifications that we can perform to ourselves and other animal lines as well as even more advanced capabilities that couple synthetic biology to create entirely novel forms of life.

I remain skeptical as to weather or not our (humanity) maturity to handle the great power we are now on the verge of wielding is great enough, in many ways this technology is far more potentially devastating than any nuclear bomb because of the wide availability they will have and the power they can relatively be made to unleash, it is only by quickening the pace of education across all fronts of human knowledge , particularly the reduction of the zeal associated with dogmatic belief systems that we can evade great discord as these technologies are unleashed on a global scale...in the same way that computer programming was unleashed in the mid 80's.



Links:

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2008/10/travel-in-genetically-enhanced-future.html (A hypothetical story of a super human on his way to a nearby star system)

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2009/09/coming-pathogenic-relief-impulse.html (I long arc on why the technology would lead to a sudden fall in mortality and lethality across pathogen enabled diseases, I also forecast the invitro meat industry)

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-many-cofactors-for-inducing.html  (I predict a minimal set of operative cofactors for inducing pluripotency of all cell types and include the nanog gene that was used in this new research in that set)

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-future-is-not-you-choose-travel-in.html (Afusa's life (he's now over 300 years old) continues on...his genetic gifts still providing him more life and more happiness)

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2010/06/technology-will-it-kill-before-it-saves.html  (A forecast of the most dangerous aspect of this technology the fact that it may lead to our end even as it promises us endless life.)

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2010/07/accident-view-into-future-of-organ.html (Mira Chu , a hypothetical researcher has an accident...in this post I detail how these technologies will give rise to Organ Insurance banks and a thriving industry.)