Digital and biological technologies converge
Many recent news call our attention on the rapid progress of convergence, interfacing and merging of of computer and bio artifacts. To list juste some of them:
- Digital information written on DNA, an article by Susan Posel, on Myscienceacademi website, circa 2013.
- A biological transistor enables computing within living cells, study says (Stanford University (03/28/13) Andrew Myers.
- Researchers find surprising similarities between genetic and computer codes (Brookhaven National Laboratory (03/28/13) Chelsea Whyte; Peter Genzer).
- The brains or two rats are connected. See a press release by Duke University, Pr. Nicolelis, 2/2013.
My view of these moves :
- 4 billion years ago, using digital codes, life emerged from the primal soup.
- 60 years ago, using digital codes, the computer emerged from the industrial technology.
- Today, the two digital threads are, on an accelerating pace, converging.
At the lowest level, biological circuits and traditional (silicium mainly) digital circuits are converging towards new families of components.
At the highest level, the "cloud" is hyperconnecting machines as well as human beings.
At an intermediary level, robots are more and more "humanoids", and humans are more and more "cyborgs" (I woul'not be writing today without several stents around my heart).
What will emerge of this "digital magma" (*). Shall we find, in the line of Teilhard de Chardin, an omega point ? Shall we destroy ourselves in letal wars between techno-fans and techno-opponent, sas says de Garis ? Or be definitively dominated, after a rather dramatic "singularity" by some kind of transhumans (Kurzweil, but very much in the line of Asimov)?
To these questions, what answers can bring the digital artists ? I'll say, like Dante : "Lasciate ogni speranza". Even machines can play, more and more independently of their authors, the part of artists. Cease to lull ourselves with dogmas about the transcendant nature of man. Prepare ourselves to radical changes, hoping that ecology and selfish economy/politics let us time enough.
But, of course, these ideas are more convictions than scientifically proved truths.
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(*)I borrow the title of Jean-Yves Leloup book about music, first published in 2006, republised in 2013 by Le mot et le reste (Paris)).