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11 June 2009

More On the Beginnings of Life

I first reported a few weeks ago that scientists had recreated the basic ingredients of RNA in a laboratory setting similar to that of primordial earth.

Well now some scientists have recreated tPNA, "a transitional stage between the lifeless chemicals and the complex genetic architectures of life."

"'Ghadiri’s important and highly innovative new work potentially relates to the origin of life as we don’t yet know it,' said Sutherland. Life’s emergence took billions of years, a process now being compressed into the passage of a few human generations. 'The possibility that humans could come up with an alternative biology that outdoes that which produced us is a mind-freeing and mind-bending concept,' he said."

What I assume he's talking about here is the rise of computers and AI. One day, 2045 according to Raymond Kurzweil, computers will be autonomous and smarter than human beings. This event is inevitable and it's easy to be somewhat scared by the idea. I once read that Kurzweil said that these machines will look at humans as their ancestors. Much like how we think of chimps Which is good or bad depending on how you look at it.

"Asked how long it would take before fully synthetic life could be coaxed from an inert chemical mixture, Ghadiri said, 'Soon. If not in our lifetime, then the next. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be longer than that.'"

Yeah, that's pretty mind-bending.

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