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I argue that the technology for effective ballistic missile protection already exists.  If you don't fuck around with trying to actually hit the incoming missile with a missile and just fry the everliving crap out of it with an enhanced radiation warhead, a reasonably effective ABM system could be made with 1970s technology (and briefly was).  If memory serves the kill radius of the neutrons from an ER warhead against other nukes is quite generous; it fast-fissions the incoming nuke and causes it to fizzle (comparatively) harmlessly.  I'm not sure how effective shielding the warheads would be; my intuition is that it would not work particularly well.  And even if it did work, you can just use bigger nukes provided you can intercept the incoming nukes at arm's distance.

 

The main issue is how to deploy such a system without causing WWIII.

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I can't actually watch it right now (work internet), but sadly no.

 

Does it contain lots of sketchily-drawn bioroids or something?

 

Edit: Ah, okay.It's the one that's been making the rounds. Here are some others you might like:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52Gg9CqhbP8

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZbkF-15ObM

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RHFFeQ2tu4

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Pfff.  As usual for a conservative, he thinks too small.

 

 

 

We never learn. The world that came into being when the 14th century nominalists decided that matter has no intrinsic meaning, and we humans can do with it whatever we will “for the relief of man’s estate” (as Francis Bacon said in the 16th century) is reaching its ripeness. And people who think things like this are not only normal, but a moral advance, dare to speak of Trump’s “depravity.” Yeah, I agree that he is depraved. But we lived in twisted, depraved times. The time of the pig-man, and the man who thinks he’s a woman who wants to have a uterus implanted so he can bear a child. No limits. None.

 

 

Oh noes, your precious normality will be shattered by people who can graft uteruses onto themselves.

What the hell are you going to do when people get actual biotechnology and use it to do actually interesting things?  Like designing an organism that sequesters all of the magnesium in the oceans, thus killing all phytoplankton?

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Pfff.  As usual for a conservative, he thinks too small.

 

 

 

Oh noes, your precious normality will be shattered by people who can graft uteruses onto themselves.

What the hell are you going to do when people get actual biotechnology and use it to do actually interesting things?  Like designing an organism that sequesters all of the magnesium in the oceans, thus killing all phytoplankton?

I think he's just cheesed off because a cyberbaboon becomes Pope in 2164.

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On 2/23/2016 at 3:32 AM, Toxn said:

tumblr_o2u1bqGnMy1rvemfeo1_1280.jpg

tumblr_o2u1bqGnMy1rvemfeo2_1280.jpg

tumblr_o2u1bqGnMy1rvemfeo3_1280.jpg

 

The bullshit populist version, sure, but also one of our possible futures.

 

This thread is for musing on how things will go, with an an emphasis on accuracy.

 

As all I can really speak to is biotech stuff, I will be posting a bit in that line here and there. For the rest, I invite our learned electronics engineers/internet pedants to provide their views on how things will go from here on out.

 

Major Necro, but I have some questions: 

 

1. Not 100% sure on this, but wouldn’t such radical genetic changes require the immune system to be heavily suppressed, if not completely deactivated? And wouldn’t such a procedure be expensive and time consuming, making it viable only for the rich (and those people who spend more money on their car or jewelry than their home)? 

 

2. On the cultural/societal aspect of this: wouldn’t this cause a type of classism, where the rich and wannabe rich can alter themselves (seemingly) at whim while the plebeians below can only look on in envy? Would it also spawn types of xeno/ species/ racialism due to animosity, jealousy, and/or inferiority complexes? 

 

3. In relation to society and culture, would individuals who chose certain modifications, let’s say high muscle and bone density, for high strength applications, be held in the same regards as someone who modified their brain to maximize surface area and neuron transmission speed? Would someone’s genes, and physical structure, limit their societal roles to the select areas attuned to them, as other areas are already saturated with ‘attuned’ people?

 

These would seem to provide major challenges to the populist and communist dreams of many who yearn for this, as people often (and are programmed to) separate differences they observe into different categories. 

 

 

Also, the first point that “everyone will be hot” is not only subjective (personally tastes like exoticism and fetishes) and objective (Fibonacci’s number and general cultural / societal beliefs of attraction), but also would be subject to availability curves, insofar as if the percentage of “hot people” in a population increases, the average or perceived level of ‘hotness’ within that population would stay constant, or decrease. (This would also cause animosity and exoticism / fetishization between the societies and cultures who have access such technology, and those who do not; think the exoticization of certain extra-cultural/ societal/ racial groups and/or sexes, like orientalism, and American idealism in the late 1800s and early 1900s.) 

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17 hours ago, Lord_James said:

 

Major Necro, but I have some questions: 

 

1. Not 100% sure on this, but wouldn’t such radical genetic changes require the immune system to be heavily suppressed, if not completely deactivated? And wouldn’t such a procedure be expensive and time consuming, making it viable only for the rich (and those people who spend more money on their car or jewelry than their home)? 

 

Right now we have very limited capacity to re-engineer someone as an adult, so a lot of proposed genetic engineering is germ-line by default. But perhaps not forever: CAR-T therapies show that it's possible (if very risky) to completely rewire parts of your immune system. So here's my (Victorian-era guy speculating on aircraft) guess as to how it might go:

 

- You'd get a bunch of tissue samples (possibly including gut and skin microflora) taken and then be put in sterile isolation.

- You'd then be more or less disinfected, put on high-dose antibiotics, antiviral drugs etc.

- Your immune system would be knocked down or even out (possibly all the way to bone marrow ablation).

- You'd be given a complete course of genetic engineering (possibly using advanced versions of CRISPR, as the T effector cell issue may be overcome with immunomodulation or versions of the cas 9 enzyme that don't set off a reaction) aimed at editing as many cells as possible.

- If you're going for tissue/organ engineering, then this might be the point where they operate on you to give you chameleon skin or whatever.

- At the same time, your immune system would be modified using something like CAR-T therapy to prevent rejection of edited cells.

- Once the editing was done, your microflora etc would be reestablished and you'd be released for convalescence and follow-up treatment.

 

Another option might be to avoid trying to edit anything out of germline all together, and just rely on non-immunogenic approaches and surgery. This may be something like novel organ printing using your own cultured cells, or xenografting. This approach is necessarily less radical and more limited in some ways (no chromatic scales for you, citizen), but still allows some really freaky possibilities (second sets of arms, crazy bio-machine hybrid organs, radical restructuring of the human form) while significantly lowering the chances of your immune system going nuts and killing you.

 

17 hours ago, Lord_James said:

2. On the cultural/societal aspect of this: wouldn’t this cause a type of classism, where the rich and wannabe rich can alter themselves (seemingly) at whim while the plebeians below can only look on in envy? Would it also spawn types of xeno/ species/ racialism due to animosity, jealousy, and/or inferiority complexes? 

I think it depends how common germ-line editing becomes, and how good a handle we have on it. It sounds ridiculous to say so, but the state of our knowledge right now is that we have a fairly good idea of how to give someone a second torso but have more or less no idea how to 'fix' short sightedness. I think that the biggest one in terms of societal effects might simply be if/when rich people get the wherewithal to make sure that their kids live even longer, healthier lives than the poor, and especially if this involves an element of being able to have kids much later in life. This, combined with human society's pre-existing trend towards ratcheting inequality, seems like a pretty sure path to a gerontocracy at the hands of a long-lived ruling caste.

 

In terms of classism and the rich, I expect there to be many cycles of social movements and reactions centred around class, the cost/complexity of various treatments and elite ideas of purity/healthiness. We can already see rough outlines of this today in the antivax movement, furries, gender dysmorphia etc, but I think the intensity will be something new and startling if/when it gets going and there's no way of guessing how things will shake out.

 

17 hours ago, Lord_James said:

3. In relation to society and culture, would individuals who chose certain modifications, let’s say high muscle and bone density, for high strength applications, be held in the same regards as someone who modified their brain to maximize surface area and neuron transmission speed? Would someone’s genes, and physical structure, limit their societal roles to the select areas attuned to them, as other areas are already saturated with ‘attuned’ people?

I think we're more in danger of biological essentialism making a comeback disguised as this. I suspect that how much importance is placed on modifications and their 'fitting' you to a particular role will very much depend on where you are in the hierarchy, in the same way that a 1.5-SD difference in upper body strength is held to be very important in terms of defining capacity to do physical work, but a 1-SD difference in academic achievement is not held to be important in defining capacity to do mental work.

 

17 hours ago, Lord_James said:

These would seem to provide major challenges to the populist and communist dreams of many who yearn for this, as people often (and are programmed to) separate differences they observe into different categories. 

My admittedly out-of-touch read on the populist position is that notions of equality-of-outcome are more-or-less dead, while equality-of-opportunity is still alive and kicking. So you might see societies which are very happy to allow the guy with the 300-year lifespan coexist with the normies on the basis that both have 'equal opportunities'. This is something that can change rapidly though.

 

17 hours ago, Lord_James said:

 

Also, the first point that “everyone will be hot” is not only subjective (personally tastes like exoticism and fetishes) and objective (Fibonacci’s number and general cultural / societal beliefs of attraction), but also would be subject to availability curves, insofar as if the percentage of “hot people” in a population increases, the average or perceived level of ‘hotness’ within that population would stay constant, or decrease. (This would also cause animosity and exoticism / fetishization between the societies and cultures who have access such technology, and those who do not; think the exoticization of certain extra-cultural/ societal/ racial groups and/or sexes, like orientalism, and American idealism in the late 1800s and early 1900s.) 

 

I agree that this is definitely a fallacy on the part of whoever drew that comic (not the only one, mind), and that you've succinctly laid out the most relevant factors at play here.

 

Expanding a bit on your thoughts; we know for a fact that shifts in taste regarding beauty standards happen with regularity in societies, and are often driven by shifts in lifestyle and a sort of cyclical 'follow the leader' phenomenon where elites set standards that are imitated by those below them until they lose currency as marks of exclusivity and are replaced by new standards.

 

So 'everyone will be hot' is almost certainly going to mean 'everyone will be hotter by the current standard, at which point the standard will change to something harder for the hoi polloi to attain.'

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On 10/2/2019 at 5:47 AM, Toxn said:

 

I agree that this is definitely a fallacy on the part of whoever drew that comic (not the only one, mind), and that you've succinctly laid out the most relevant factors at play here.

 

Expanding a bit on your thoughts; we know for a fact that shifts in taste regarding beauty standards happen with regularity in societies, and are often driven by shifts in lifestyle and a sort of cyclical 'follow the leader' phenomenon where elites set standards that are imitated by those below them until they lose currency as marks of exclusivity and are replaced by new standards.

 

I have been noticed!!!

tenor.gif?itemid=14444240

 

On 10/2/2019 at 5:47 AM, Toxn said:

 

Right now we have very limited capacity to re-engineer someone as an adult, so a lot of proposed genetic engineering is germ-line by default. But perhaps not forever: CAR-T therapies show that it's possible (if very risky) to completely rewire parts of your immune system. So here's my (Victorian-era guy speculating on aircraft) guess as to how it might go:

 

- You'd get a bunch of tissue samples (possibly including gut and skin microflora) taken and then be put in sterile isolation.

- You'd then be more or less disinfected, put on high-dose antibiotics, antiviral drugs etc.

- Your immune system would be knocked down or even out (possibly all the way to bone marrow ablation).

- You'd be given a complete course of genetic engineering (possibly using advanced versions of CRISPR, as the T effector cell issue may be overcome with immunomodulation or versions of the cas 9 enzyme that don't set off a reaction) aimed at editing as many cells as possible.

- If you're going for tissue/organ engineering, then this might be the point where they operate on you to give you chameleon skin or whatever.

- At the same time, your immune system would be modified using something like CAR-T therapy to prevent rejection of edited cells.

- Once the editing was done, your microflora etc would be reestablished and you'd be released for convalescence and follow-up treatment.

 

Another option might be to avoid trying to edit anything out of germline all together, and just rely on non-immunogenic approaches and surgery. This may be something like novel organ printing using your own cultured cells, or xenografting. This approach is necessarily less radical and more limited in some ways (no chromatic scales for you, citizen), but still allows some really freaky possibilities (second sets of arms, crazy bio-machine hybrid organs, radical restructuring of the human form) while significantly lowering the chances of your immune system going nuts and killing you.

 

This was another concern I had with gene manipulation: would such modifications effect the individuals’ ability to procreate? If some person who modified themselves to be a half human/ snake naga thing tries to have children with another who is modified to be a mer-person (and I think it’s reasonably safe to assume neither knows much of how the gene mods affect them), would it be possible for them to conceive? Would the child be human (at first, anyway) or some terrible amalgam? 

 

Also, I’m almost certain that if a child were modified in utero to be something their parents decided for them, there will be major legal and moral issues if and when the child reaches adulthood and decides “I don’t like these changes I’ve had since birth, and were forced upon me by my parents.” 

 

As thoroughly interesting and beneficial as this technology can be (I myself could benefit from a cure to my outrageous metabolism and Aspergers, as well as removing the familial cancer risk for women in my family), there are consequences and concerns that must be resolved before societies utilize it. 

 

 

Since I’m more familiar with industry and machines, than biology and organisms, I think I’ll make a post on how that may effect the future; just need to gather my thoughts. 

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3 minutes ago, Lord_James said:

 

I have been noticed!!!

tenor.gif?itemid=14444240

No! Bad!

{Waves rolled-up newspaper printed off an "electronic news service" using a "laser ink applicator"}.

 

3 minutes ago, Lord_James said:

 

This was another concern I had with gene manipulation: would such modifications effect the individuals’ ability to procreate? If some person who modified themselves to be a half human/ snake naga thing tries to have children with another who is modified to be a mer-person (and I think it’s reasonably safe to assume neither knows much of how the gene mods affect them), would it be possible for them to conceive? Would the child be human (at first, anyway) or some terrible amalgam? 

 

Germ line modifications? There might be issues of all sorts, on many levels, but it would depend heavily on what's been changed and how. I also cannot stress enough that we just don't know at this point what or how much to change to achieve particular things.

 

However; if we ever do get to the point where a naga is even a viable possibility, then we'll probably be well into an era (like, over a century from now) where large, sweeping changes to genomes are both reliable and routine, and things like species barriers are more or less moot. So for the couple involved it might be a trip to the clinic to have everything sorted out rather than any sort of natural conception. And the kid would be more or less whatever the parents want within legal, technological and moral bounds that are very difficult to even speculate about from here.

 

3 minutes ago, Lord_James said:

Also, I’m almost certain that if a child were modified in utero to be something their parents decided for them, there will be major legal and moral issues if and when the child reaches adulthood and decides “I don’t like these changes I’ve had since birth, and were forced upon me by my parents.” 

Again, I have no idea what the relevant moral concerns of the day will be.

 

3 minutes ago, Lord_James said:

As thoroughly interesting and beneficial as this technology can be (I myself could benefit from a cure to my outrageous metabolism and Aspergers, as well as removing the familial cancer risk for women in my family), there are consequences and concerns that must be resolved before societies utilize it. 

 

 

Since I’m more familiar with industry and machines, than biology and organisms, I think I’ll make a post on how that may effect the future; just need to gather my thoughts. 

 

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Because I apparently can't bang this drum enough, here is a direct response to how we'd go about 'fixing' @Lord_James's kids with genetic engineering:

 

3 hours ago, Lord_James said:

As thoroughly interesting and beneficial as this technology can be (I myself could benefit from a cure to my outrageous metabolism and Aspergers, as well as removing the familial cancer risk for women in my family), there are consequences and concerns that must be resolved before societies utilize it. 

 

1) Asperger's: this one is polygenic, so there are something like 20-30 genes that we know about which each have a small, quantitative effect on it. 'Fixing' this with modern genetic engineering is more or less impossible - the best way to go about it would be to find a willing partner who you've pre-screened as having lots of non-Asperger's-associated variants of the known genes. Then you could up the chances a bit by screening you and your partner's sperm/eggs before going for IVF. This would be cutting-edge stuff by today's standards, but would only constitute an average percent chance in a risk factor for a complex syndrome. Honestly you'd get 90% of the same result by just having kids with someone who doesn't have the disorder and doesn't have any family members with it. 

 

2) Metabolic disorders: this will depend wildly on what the exact disorder is. Something like metabolic disorder is polygenic (most of the interesting traits are), while ghrelin receptor mutations are single-gene issues. Generally, though; anything tied to the core functions of the body (feeding, fighting, fucking) is going to end up being both very polygenic in nature and incredibly difficult/dangerous to improve while being very easy to fuck up. We accordingly know a bunch of ways to make people morbidly obese, a few ways to make them dangerously skinny, and still have very little idea on how to reliably make people maintain a healthy weight. So this one is probably a non-starter for the next while unless you have a very specific condition that can be linked to only a few genes. Or, again, unless you want to go the boring mate-selection-and-screening approach.

 

3) Familial cancer risk: here again we bump into complexity. There are lots of cancers with a genetic component, and although many of them can be traced back to a single gene they still almost always end up being a "x-percent increase over baseline" type of genetic abnormality rather than something definitive like cystic fibrosis. Dealing with this is accordingly more about screening for an issue and then avoiding risk factors (which you should be doing anyway) than it is about going into the lab and making super babies. And assuming that you did decide to go the super baby route, you'd most likely end up trading off all the risks of genetic engineering itself (mis-insertion, off-target insertion, multiple insertion, deletion) against whatever lower percentage chance risk of cancer your kid would get from replacing a given defective copy of a gene with a working one. Here, at least, the ambitious can look to the naked mole rat and wonder about what an upgrade to our P16 gene and hyaluronan synthesis pathways might do.

 

In conclusion: the state of the art right now in terms of @Lord_James's mentioned genetic disorders doesn't have a lot going for it over living healthily and selecting a mate with as few genetic issues as possible. Unfortunately most of the fun stuff in terms of heritable traits is locked away in dense webs of interaction between dozens or even hundreds of genes and regulatory regions. So we're paradoxically much more able to do grand, sweeping things to the human form (ie: Hox gene shenanigans, know exogenous genes with potentially impressive effects, myostatin mutants) than fix nitty-gritty issues.

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Glad I could make your brain work :) 

 

Not too surprised; though I was initially confused when you mentioned selective breeding and gene screening, but it is interesting nonetheless. 

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On 10/2/2019 at 5:47 AM, Toxn said:

in the same way that a 1.5-SD difference in upper body strength is held to be very important in terms of defining capacity to do physical work, but a 1-SD difference in academic achievement is not held to be important in defining capacity to do mental work.

 

LOL can't think of any reason why this might be! 

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