Home > Critical Thinking, Musings, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism, Technology > Biological Versus Non-Biological Information

Biological Versus Non-Biological Information

We often forget one of the biggest differences between biological and non-biological information, namely-

Biological information is always associated with the sequences/states of nucleic acids and proteins which encode it, and is therefore hard to transfer or use across systems. In contrast, non-biological information can be easily transferred and used on various systems.

For example, the genetic information for a very simple organism such as a bacterium is linked to the sequence of its DNA (coding and non-coding regions) and associated proteins/RNA. There is no realistic way to transfer and USE information from a bacteria in any system that is not based on DNA, RNA and proteins.

In contrast, a mathematical algorithm or piece of information can simultaneously exist as a written, printed or electronic version which can be read and USED by a biological or non-biological entity. The Quadratic equation can exist on paper (written or printed) or can be implemented in a number of computer systems from old valve based computers to your latest computer, either as machine code or as a script.

Trans-human intelligence residing in a multitude of non-biological systems will therefore be fundamentally different, both in abilities and worldview to what passes as human intelligence.

For one, it won’t be subject to constraints of biology, individuals or society and its much larger knowledge base will give it a perspective that we can barely imagine. It might not have a fixed form, shape or substrate (biology based) and have the ability to exist in multiple connected/ unconnected forms at once. I have a feeling that such intelligence may not have the time or inclination to interact with humans or other similar biological life forms.

Comments?

  1. Joe
    May 4, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Some AI researchers believe machines may surpass human intelligence through brute force computing or reverse engineering the brain enabled by advances in molecular nanotechnology later this century. If this is the case, some people may not take kindly to no longer being the dominant species on Earth. Full scale 3d printers or nanofactories would be tremendously change the political/social/economic landscape alone, nevermind independent self improving AIs. When considering possible scenarios, I can’t help but think how trivial arguments on some of these blogs concerning dating and sex are. At some point game, marriage and sex will be irrelevant, because non augment homo sapiens and their civilization may be irrelevant. Apes and their mating habits, who gives a shit.

    http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/04/12/the-cyborg-scenario-%e2%80%93-solution-or-problem/

    http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/04/15/friendly-ai-a-dangerous-delusion/

    http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/04/21/the-next-step-making-the-species-dominance-issue-political/

    http://hplusmagazine.com/2011/02/14/adding-our-way-to-abundance/

  2. May 5, 2011 at 4:57 am

    “For one, it won’t be subject to constraints of biology, individuals or society and its much larger knowledge base will give it a perspective that we can barely imagine.”

    It will be subject to its own related constraints though. An electron is formed of other elements. Therefore, an electron is subject to those elements.

    “It might not have a fixed form, shape or substrate (biology based) and have the ability to exist in multiple connected/ unconnected forms at once. I have a feeling that such intelligence may not have the time or inclination to interact with humans or other similar biological life forms.”

    Or it just can’t interact with humans because it exists on a different level. Quarks don’t interact with humans as much as electrons do.

  3. May 5, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I’m actually doing research on the limits of what a machine can know. And there are some pretty crippling limitations. I’ll probably write about it on my blog once my dissertation is finished (which could be anywhere from a month to a year from now)

  4. May 6, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Any corporeal consciousness is a conscript in the service of its body to the ends of survival and reproduction.

    The big difference I think would be the expansive nature of a mind that has no single chokepoint which must be defended at all costs.

    Its energies would not have to be consumed by the need for survival.
    On the other hand, if it does not have to survive, it might not have much energy or agency of its own.

    We commonly see complex, rational behaviors emergent from swarms of insects or forests of trees. The individuals have minimal or non-existent central nervous systems, but a process of selection has left the group entity with processes similar to those of a central nervous system.
    This ‘brain’ has no medium that contains it. It simply manifests in the group’s behaviors.

    In humans, I like to call this element a “mind of society.”

  1. May 8, 2011 at 1:04 am
  2. August 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm

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