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Mike van der Noordt

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Combining the puzzlepieces.

After almost 20 years since Karl Sims worked on computational evolution, we would have expected a greater complexity in results. After some reading the main reason for this slow-down appears to be the fact it worked with rigid primitives and limited algorithms.
Now, however, the creation of voxelbased models with multiple materials are being researched. And a different approach to encoding (Compositional Pattern-Producing Networks(?)). It seems that the greatest hurdle is computational power (?).

In research about mapping the brain, it also seems that computerpower is the biggest brake on development. But nonetheless already we start to understand the mechanics of memory, processing information (?). (I guess also a great hurdle is legislation(?)). My hunch is that not only pure computional processes in the brain will be mapped out, but eventually also the way emotions work, like aggression, love, empathy (?)

Then we have the genome project(s).

We have nanotechnology on a cellular level (biotechnology(?))

We have 3D printing, now on an almost atomic level, and more materials which can be used are added to the list on a regular basis.

We have the stemcell research; building tissue, manipulating our buildingblocks.

We have cloud computing, maybe eliminating the big hurdle of raw computerpower.

To me as a noob, it seems that if we put all this science in the mix, we're talking about self-replicating, (soft-(?)) robots, adapting to any environment, able to utilize and manipulate elements on a cellular, or even molecular level, mimmicking, biologic functions etc. etc.

I'm not a scientist, and don't have any background in any of these fields (the reason for all the questionmarks :)), so please correct me if i'm wrong, and please add some of your thoughts and knowledge about the subject(s), mainly how different fields of science can be, or actually are being, combined to speed up this progress? And could be the common problem computing power?

Thanks in advance.

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    Jan 15 2014: Hi Mike,

    You don't seem like a noob at all, in fact you seem to have a good grasp on the different modern sciences that hold the potential for real change. And you're asking a very good question, the question of interdisciplinary sciences.

    Wikipedia - Interdisciplinarity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interdisciplinarity

    But it is something that is lacking in the world. Mainly because different academic faculties have mostly kept to themselves through the years, something that is rapidly changing.

    TED has a theme called "Inspired by Nature" that collects Talks on different fields that are benefiting from fields like biology. This is called Biomimicry and has proven extremely useful.

    TED - Inspired by Nature: http://www.ted.com/themes/inspired_by_nature.html
    Wikipedia - Biomimicry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomimicry

    Concerning computing power, I don't think that that is the main issue for innovation. Sure raw power will help but what we really need is models and ideas for how to use the power that we have.

    Some exciting things happening with AI and computing power is IBM's Watson which is going to change very much of our society since it already beats the best at Jeopardy and is able to diagnose cancer better than doctors.
    http://www-03.ibm.com/innovation/us/watson/

    And with computing power we have Dwave, the quantum computer that just reached 1000qbits, which will allow us to really handle Big Data in an entirely unprecedented way.
    http://www.dwavesys.com/en/dw_homepage.html
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      Jan 16 2014: Wow these are some impressive, and at the same time scary developments (singularity come to mind when seeing the progress Watson makes towards cognitive systems maybe accelerated by Dwave's quantum computing?... mind boggling!)

      What I understand from your answers is that the biggest hurdle is not the raw computing power, but more the politics (and also economics?) within and inbetween the different fields of science.

      I once read Imagologies: Media Philosophy by Mark C. Taylor and Esa Saarinen where they describe the concept of 'universtity' (uni being one-directional, you study one subject and basically a medieval idea) opposed to 'multiversity' which in these times makes more sense (to me at least). Maybe an idea which should be embraced more?

      Thanks for these links
      cheers!
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        Jan 16 2014: You got it all right!!

        Also I noticed that you were looking for BOINC, were you able to find it and use it in a good way?

        Anyway it's http://boinc.berkeley.edu/

        I have myself given my flops to SETI@Home for three years now I think.