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Do you think science will ever be able to transfer some of the remarkable abilities of animals to the human species?

Some creatures have incredible abilities such as limb regeneration and night vision. I'm wondering if science will ever be able to duplicate these abilities in humans. If so, any ideas how this might be accomplished? The simplest of these abilities to pass on to humans?

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    Nov 27 2013: Many people already have lot's of problems with genetically modified tomatoes. Just imagine the outcry over genetically modified humans.
    I don't think it's a technical question. It's more a question of ethics.
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    Nov 26 2013: the opposite of this statement would be "science never will be able to ...", which seems to be a very bold statement, doesn't it? i mean, never is a long long time, and see how far we've got in the last 100 years alone.
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      Nov 27 2013: Yup, that far, that we may not be far enough to continue the next 100 years in the same direction.
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        Nov 27 2013: why would we go into the same direction for that long? that would be super boring. we switch directions as we go.
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        Nov 27 2013: i suppose you advertise the pessimist view of the atmosphere getting poisoned before our grandkids have a chance to see it. that is also included in my reply. in 30 years, at a nice december evening, you will remember that once we used fossils, and there was so much fuss about them. and then you remember how these voices abruptly disappeared together with the fossils. and nobody said: i was wrong. people will just pick another doomsday scenario, and fear that.
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        Nov 27 2013: want to bet?
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          Nov 27 2013: That you have this crystal ball? Assuming that you wouldn't state what you couldn't prove, what would be my point to bet for?
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        Nov 28 2013: Hi Kriztián and Lejan.
        I agree that the negative view seems to be more widespread than the positive (I'm pretty pessimistic myself), but sometimes I see something that gives me hope, like permaculture.


        These are human efforts where people reverse the damage they caused, and shows the resilience of our earth. It's spectacular how sometimes things change for the better, and I hope this will eventually gives us space to advance our technology, and at the same time not destroying our resources. Also I hope that knowing this the general feeling of 'where we are heading' can turn into a more positive one, and we actually do something about it...
        And if things go well I hope we will only use our technological wisely, and learn from our mistakes (atomic bomb, fossil fuels etc.)

        In the end nobody know where things are heading; we shouldn't rely on chrystal balls: they are old technology. ;)
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          Nov 28 2013: Crystal balls may be old technology, yet so far not even Apple managed to invent something of similar magnitude. :o)

          You may also find, that the terms pessimistic, optimistic or realistic are freely interchangeable, depending on someones believes and views, which not only makes them pretty useless at the end, yet also doesn't change anything.

          In my view, we are not lacking the right technology, we are lacking the right behavior to use it in our yet sustainable interest.

          Krisztián has no other choice but to think of 'dooms day fantasies', as otherwise he would render his very economical believes questionable. This is even understandable, as no one likes to dismantle ones stabilizing and orientating world view, and this regardless how limited and simplified this views may ever be - yet also this doesn't change anything

          As you may remember, only a fool yet never the wise was using a Palantír (crystal ball) in Middle Earth when they were under the evil spell of Sauron. And I leave it to your imagination who or what Sauron is in our world today, as also this is highly interchangeable ... :o)
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        Nov 28 2013: "In my view, we are not lacking the right technology, we are lacking the right behavior to use it in our yet sustainable interest." I totally agree, and this leads for me to a slightly pessimistic and I think realistic expectations, but I like to see ever-increasing sparks of hope (which stories like the one about permaculture provided me).

        Haven't you heard of the new i-Ball ;)

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          Nov 28 2013: I share your views, yet have you ever tried to share them with a libertarian? Try it and you will have an almost psychedelic and mind bending experience ... ;o)

          So far I have only heard and even posses two eye-balls, which at least share the same pronunciation with this 'new' invention you named here.

          Yet in terms of true magical powers, nothing which comes with crappy warranties, can and ever will be of comparable might ... :o)

          Where, if not from the original, do you think Apple stole their 'gesture control' from? lol
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    Nov 26 2013: Joshua,
    Whether or not science can ever transfer some of the remarkable abilities of animals to humans, and to what extent, is an interesting question, which could have several layers of answers, depending on what we mean by "transfer". In the meantime, we humans can learn a lot by simply observing other animals. I agree with other commenters, that with technology, we are already starting to replicate some abilities that are natural to other animals.
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    Nov 26 2013: You mean a special feature in select humans who can afford it (genetically engineered)? I think science can, but it may not.
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    Nov 28 2013: We all come from the same origin, according to some, and what I understand it's the genetic building blocks they (and maybe you) are unraveling (and advancing in it). What I understand is that the genes amongst species are, or can be, very similar, so if we can get to that level of manipulation it might be possible to interchange or copy certain traits (?).
    And no need for a chrystal ball to see that having sex with animals isn't the practice to get there. ;)

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    Nov 26 2013: Joshua, even if it could, I don't want them, if I'm going to change I want to do it organically, by teaching myself within, not by taking some pill or having someone mess with my genes.
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    Nov 26 2013: Let's wait and see what advancement in genetic technology / biotechnology takes us in near future. Take the example of stem cell research going , which already can produce organ like Kidney, urethra etc ....does this resemble the ability of regenartion ability of some animal you mentioned.
    In posts below it is already mentioned how science has transfered the ability of other animal for human use through different devices.
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    Nov 26 2013: Well, if you mean having such abilities built in, that would probably only occur with the use of nano technology and cybernetics. However, using external technology, we already have most of those abilities. Our medical tech is getting to the point where it can repair some pretty seriously damaged limbs. Night vision goggles allows us to see in very low levels of light.
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    Nov 26 2013: It seems cross-breeding doesn't work, proven by countless trials by desperate individuals over all ages ...

    So as soon genetics takes over, I'd like to have as many lives as my cat has. She is down to 4 now, yet started with seven... ;o)
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      Nov 28 2013: Hi Lejan,
      I'm not a genetic scientist (or any kind of scientist for that matter), but to me it seems that it has worked. There are so many diffrent breeds of tomatoes, one more tasty then the other.
      And the variety in dogs, all with their strengths or weaknesses (or cats, but i'm more of a dog-person ;) ), is also due to crossbreeding right? I do believe that we're able to advance our knowledge and copy treats like certain types of resistence from one gene to the other.

      (I'm not the guy with the chrystal ball by the way ;) )
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        Nov 28 2013: Cross-breeding under natural laws is pretty limited, and as much as I know of, restricted within one species almost exclusively.

        I don't know how many herdsman or other individuals had sex with their animals, but we know for sure, that this form of genetic experiments doesn't form new lines of descendants whatsoever.

        And yes, I am highly aware now, that you are not the one with the last working crystal ball ... ;o)
  • Nov 26 2013: Some are already fully replicated and occasionally even surpassed using external devices. Night vision goggles are an example of this--a modern thermal camera is better than anything nature managed to conjure up.
    I suppose you could fully integrate these devices into a human through cybernetics, if you're willing to go that far and wait until someone figures out the whole mind-machine interface. Genetic engineering may eventually get as effective as cybernetics in some areas and less in others, but its likely to take even longer, and will be difficult to implement for adults.

    Other abilities like limb regeneration may be surpassed entirely. Instead of new organic arm, why not use a better cybernetic one if I need a replacement anyway?
    Once engineers figure out how to build something like you find in nature, it usually doesn't take long until they start making improvements--natural evolution is a very poor optimizer.
  • Nov 26 2013: This is an interesting idea, but then I remember that certain abilities are coopted by working closely with animals
    bloodhounds etc. Look at service animals too.

    Vision and smell guard dogs.

    Your other ideas I wonder