30 August 2006

Matter to ponder

A lot has happened since my last post. Not in the physical world but in the way I perceive things. My current focus is on 'extravolutionary' technologies. Particulary nanotech or 'minting'. I have been engrossed in a book called 'Engines of Creation' by K. Eric Drexler, which has helped to open my eyes to the implications of the molecular nature of matter.

Matter is made up of molecules of varying complexity. So if we can manipulate those molecules directly we open up an extraordinary new form of technology which will change us and our environment in ways we are only just beginning to imagine. The molecules in a brick, along with the 'positional information' which determine its molecular stucture, make it a brick. The same is true of a human brain. For us the precise 'positional information' of the molecules in our brains makes us who we are. The patterns 'grown' in our brains throughout our lives, those that define us as individuals, are not fleeting. Does that not mean that they can be preserved, perhaps indefinitely?

The above is, of course, a vast oversimplification. But the key point is that there does not need to be a magic ingredient which makes particular types of matter, such as brains, special. Brains are special because of the unique structures formed between the molecules within them. They are the most complex cohesive structures in the world, perhaps in our universe.

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