March 30, 2006

Europe - at the Cutting Edge (!)


"European researchers have created an interface between mammalian neurons and silicon chips. The development is a crucial first step in the development of advanced technologies that combine silicon circuits with a mammalís nervous system.

The ultimate applications are potentially limitless. In the long term it will possibly enable the creation of very sophisticated neural prostheses to combat neurological disorders. What's more, it could allow the creation of organic computers that use living neurons as their CPU...

Also here and here.

Posted by sd at March 30, 2006 08:14 AM | TrackBack




Not much to discuss here, granted, but perhaps it's merely worth noting that with these neural chips and implants the path to acceptance is kind of strategic: the memetic coating is the promise of repair - the chip will alleviate/repair disorders; then once 'Well, fair enough, I guess it's okay then' is wrung from the humanoid, the sucker punch delivers its considerably more ominous agenda - the creation of organic computers and 'a genetically-powered hard disk'.

This 'good news > [controversial news]' is a familiar textual strategy employed in writings about neural chips and implants. Maybe it's sometimes adopted consciously, maybe it's something that comes blindly with the memetic territory.

Apart from this, it's also interesting to note that techno-evolution relies on disorder, breakdowns and malfunctions for experimental development, rather than on biological fitness. While biological life is a battle against entropy, inorganic machinery thrives on it. (Which goes somewhat against Kurweil's supplement-popping thanatophobia.)

Posted by: sd at March 30, 2006 10:19 PM



sd - sure there's plenty more to discuss, but that point is certainly a key one. All the 'transhumanist' technologies/applications are being smuggled in automatically as 'therapies' - partly due to a an inherent species conservatism and partly (esp. with genomic-related cases) because of residual fear that anything describable as 'eugenics' is an essentially Nazi undertaking

Neurotronic interfaces are such a core Singularity technology it's essential they move forwards fast

Posted by: Nick at March 30, 2006 10:56 PM



actually, can think of two relevant topics. Cyberkinetics brain implant & athletic steroid use. previously thought athletes were cheating if they took steroids; however, after discussing human enhancement here think steroid use ok (if safer). the Bonds book made me aware of a bias against, i guess, being athletically superhuman. certainly brain implants will become powerful performance enhancers. however, think brain implants, for most folks, would be more morally acceptable for paraplegics but not for athletes. [links in tangents]

Posted by: northanger at March 30, 2006 11:07 PM



Maybe another point - on the political and economic front Europe is reverting to its default protectionism and nationalism (very reminiscent of 1914 and the 30s), yet on the scientific front, largely due to its value-collapse secularism, Europe is still capable of outpacing the US when it comes to nerve and 'moral' courage.

Posted by: sd at March 30, 2006 11:08 PM



well, two out three's not so bad.

Posted by: northanger at March 31, 2006 12:52 AM



sd - well, I'm certainly still open to applauding any Frankensteinean monstrosity that slouches out of Europe. Be good to see their degenerate nihilism channelled into something interesting ...

Posted by: Nick at March 31, 2006 11:06 AM



northanger - the athletics issue clearly highly relevant to the cyborg trend (think I might be able to dig up some refs from smart people on this). It runs into at least two major cultural obstacles - the drug cataclysm and the ethics of sport (or formal competition). Leaving aside the drug issue for the moment, the 'being sporting' (sorry if that sounds grotesquely English) aspect is quite intriguing, informal competition (in the economic jungle or battlefield) IMHO offers a far more unconstrained environment for transhumanization, although the extremely precise criteria for success in sports might mean the incentives for 'cheating' are more exactly (and helpfully?) defined.

Posted by: Nick at March 31, 2006 11:18 AM



nick. sd's scientific value-collapse kinda interesting. why do american's bog down with "failure to comply with the rules of the game" at the scientific border? maybe coz, at least numerically, it leads to stock market crashes, manias, booms and busts. (geez, look what happened to Nietsche). how do you make that leap? how do you engineer border collapse at the scientific edge (ethically, morally)? a grenze zusammenbruch kinda thingy. maybe that falls under border economics (toodling with nyarlathotepic schizotrategy) & libidinal materialism ((re)weave genetic code link at scihydraentific aleatory point).

Posted by: northanger at March 31, 2006 01:51 PM



Nietzsche. Nietzsche. (who thinks of these names anyway?)

Posted by: northanger at March 31, 2006 01:53 PM



think the US 'breakdown at the scientific boundary' line you two are spinning is getting a bit beyond itself. This is basically an anecdote - not aware of any statistics that support the idea scientific or technological researchis in difficulties in the US, and th migration of scientisist is heavily Europe-to-US, not vice versa. Be nice if our american buddies would abandon their irrational shoggothophobia though ...

Posted by: Nick at April 1, 2006 12:03 AM



nick. don't get beyond yourself. americans aren't shoggothophobic.

Posted by: northanger at April 1, 2006 02:31 AM



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