TED Conversations

Erik Richardson

Teacher, Richardson Ideaworks, Inc.


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Aren't transhumanists committing the Jurassic Park fallacy?

Given that even the smallest disruption or perturbation in a complex system can be amplified, and given that there are still so many important aspects of the mind-body interaction in human medicine, it seems like moving forward with the technological enhancement of human beings—ranging from putting computers inside us to putting us inside computers—is to court the same kind of disasters we always get when we tinker with things we don't yet understand.


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    Sky F

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    Apr 22 2011: What exactly is transhumanists and Jurassic park fallacy? These are terms unfamiliar to me, but I get a vague idea when I read your paragraph. Interested! Thanks.
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      Apr 22 2011: The Jurassic Park fallacy would paraphrase to something like:

      In any system complex enough to be capable of permutation, variation, and recombination, predictability and containment are both less than 100%, and their distance from 100% is approximated by multiplying our ignorance factor of each element.

      The Ignorance Factor would be (100% - how completely we understand an item/entity/mechanism/operation). If we only understand about 40% of how neuroplasticity allows the brain to re-wire for adaptations, and we only understand implant rejection to about 85%, then the effects on the system of a computerized brain implant would be a function of multiplying those (and a number of others).

      My point is that we are a long way from 100% understanding on an awful lot of elements of the human system, so starting to plug in technological enhancements brings an inordinate risk value that only hubris would think we could predict or contain.
    • Apr 27 2011: I was thought the Jurassic Park fallacy was using 'the Jurassic Park fallacy'

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