The Simulacrisation of Technology into Life
March 15, 2006 8:09 PM   Subscribe

As the Pentagon ousts plans to turn insects into cyber war machines you'd be forgiven for asking the question: Where does the real digital end and the faked life begin? Are we simulating life synthetically? or just speeding up an entirely natural process? Technologically engineered life is here to stay. Its not far fetched to speculate that simulacra may become all there is.
posted by 0bvious (13 comments total)
Two observations:

1. It's wonderful that the graphic in the first link shows a butterfly being piloted using a normal Radio Shack remote control.

2. It's not wonderul at all that we used to drop cats from planes. That's just sickening. Fuck Hiroshima. That's the worst thing we did in WWII.
posted by brundlefly at 8:20 PM on March 15, 2006

OMG Iran has the flea bomb!
posted by trondant at 8:29 PM on March 15, 2006

My simulacrum ate your sock puppet.
posted by furtive at 8:30 PM on March 15, 2006

They have the Goliath Serum?
posted by Laen at 8:32 PM on March 15, 2006

But when will they develop the Food of the Gods?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:01 PM on March 15, 2006

Despite the absurdity of it, I still hope that one day I'll be able to upload my brain to a super-computer. It's hard not to hope for immortality.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:02 PM on March 15, 2006

p.s. that's a lotta fucking tags.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:55 PM on March 15, 2006

Funny, I know someone that insect project was pitched to. He's a neurobiologist of sorts who responded: um, no.
No no no. Impossible. And also no. He's happy to take their money, though.
posted by metaculpa at 11:34 PM on March 15, 2006

There's a guy out at UW who does work w/gypsy moths... chips are implanted directly onto the moth (instead of that larva business cited in that article) and they can actually alter flight trajectory by sending potentials from the interface (remote control, if you want to call it that).

The sensing part seems ludicrous, but the flight path thing alone is pretty impressive.
posted by Tikirific at 12:12 AM on March 16, 2006

From that first article:

"A similar scheme aimed at manipulating wasps failed when they flew off to feed and mate."

Wasps are evidently smarter than I would have thought.
posted by darkstar at 1:28 AM on March 16, 2006

posted by TeamBilly at 7:05 AM on March 16, 2006

Spimes have some nifty ontological implications.
Also I’ve been fascinated by the reiteration of intelligence in the natural environment.
Consider: many creatures create and add to their environment in order to harmonize with it depending on their own adaptations. Squirrels bury nuts which they sometimes forget about, which grow nut bearing trees - etc. etc. Examples abound. But the system is reciprocal in many ways. Rainforests have myriad systems in which animals, plants, insects, etc. all depend on each other and adapt to fill niches. There seems to be certain central orders to it (wet conditions, heat, etc)

Intelligence - is an entirely different kind of adaptation. At least to the level of complexity and dominance we have it.

Elephants (e.g.) can force their will on part of the environment. That’s dominance. And their habitat areas reflect it.

I don’t think there has been another creature on earth which has had both dominance and the complexity we have. I think we’re creating niches and filling them ourselves.
I’m curious not only how we will further adapt our environment to us (which seems to be well underway) but how ultimately our environment will adapt to us and perhaps force adaptations upon us.

I think the system is in a sort of pre-start right now. A precursor to a system as complex as a rainforest but based on intelligence as the central adaptation.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:43 AM on March 16, 2006

Its the time scles involved in such change which make it impossible for us toperceive the wide reaching implications.

It's definitely the case that the human brain is stretching the abilities of life. Never before in the history of the universe has simple mental capacity been used to effect such startling change on the universe. Evolution has created a system which can out pace evolution!

Pretty spectacular stuff...

I wrote more on this here if anyone is interested
posted by 0bvious at 6:42 PM on March 17, 2006

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