TED Conversations

Josh Mayourian

Student , Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art


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Will we ever truly be able to model nature?

My Bioelectricity professor Nina Tandon recently gave a TED talk “Caring for engineered tissue” and I was amazed how we are able to copy the environment of artificially grown cells. There are many techniques used to reduce error and create accurate results. Such amazing replications allow us to grow artificial hearts and bones, enhancing research opportunities on these
parts of the body. This made me wonder how successful we are at modeling
other living systems, so I watched the TED talk “Robert Full on engineering and evolution.” Many years ago, engineer's claimed bees shouldn't be able to fly, dolphins shouldn’t be able to swim, and geckos shouldn't be able to climb from their calculations. However, in the past few years we've been able to explain these phenomenons, showing how much we have progressed. Through watching these great talks, I was curious: How close are we to modeling nature and making predictions without ideal assumptions? Will we ever be able to reach this point and truly copy nature?


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  • Mar 6 2012: Great question! I think it is just a matter of time when technological complexity will be at a point where it will be able to match natural systems, and even increase more in complexity then natural systems! after all its all just information processing whether it is virtual systems or natural systems, we call this a natural system because we are a part of it and cannot independently separate ourselves from it.

    There is an open source project I started with is related to this subject and how modelling of our social landscape and letting solutions evolve much like living systems evolve to match ecosystems, this in turn would steer our species towards social optimization to whatever we deem as our direction - solutions would emerge just like living organisms create novel and creative ways to reproduce and continue the gene flow. Its called 'Zemerge' - http://zemerge.com/wiki/

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