With biology the genes that express polypeptides do in a sense control 
things. Biology is not so much about control as it is about commensurate 
networks. We are in a time when aspects of the natural world are often 
compared to technology. For instance with Seth Lloyd we have the idea the 
universe is a computer. The universe has computational aspects to it, but 
it is not really a computer. If the universe is a computer then what is it 
computing? I think the same hold for biology, where we like to make 
comparisons between biological and molecular biological systems with 
nanotechnology, but there are departures. 

Biological systems evolve to survive within some set of resources and 
environmental challenges. Biological organisms that fail to succeed simply 
die, though there are always some lineages that manage to continue and the 
game of evolution goes on. This is not the same as say biological systems 
are "designed" as such. There is a bit of a popular controversy over this. 
IGUS or ETI pushing into space by building ever more complex 
hyper-structures are more in the say of controlling systems. If von Neumann 
probes do migrate into space and throughout a galaxy they probably do so in 
a pretty conservative fashion. In fact over time they would evolve instead 
of performing in a designed manner.


On Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 11:13:40 AM UTC-6, John Clark wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 7:53 PM, Lawrence Crowell <
> goldenfield...@gmail.com <javascript:>> wrote:
> *​> ​Even if you have a mole of nanobots doing things, who is keeping 
>> track of them to make sure they are doing what you want? *
> ​
> You were
> ​ ​
> constructed
> ​ ​
> by a huge number of nanobots (also called proteins) in just 9 months. And 
> those nanobots were themselves constructed by other nanobots using 
> information in DNA. There was no understanding involved in any of this, 
> nobody was keeping
> ​ ​
> track
> ​ ​
> of it all and yet it worked. You are far more complex than a Dyson Sphere 
> so if something like DNA and proteins, which are dumb as dirt, can make 
> something as complex as you I don't see why a super intelligence would be 
> unable to make a simple Dyson Sphere.
> * ​> ​In fact this becomes Turing's thesis on the impossibility of a 
>> Universal Turing Machine on steroids.*
> ​Turing prove there are some functions that a computer can't evaluate and 
> some real numbers (most of them actually) that can't even be approximated. 
> But computers aren't the only thing that has this limitation, humans can't 
> do any of those things either and in fact 
> no physical process has ever been found that can figure out what a Turing 
> Machine can't; and yet enormously complex things still exist in the 
> universe.
> And Turing also proved that in general if you want to know what a computer 
> will do next all you can do is watch it and see; and long before Turing it 
> was known that in general you can't know for sure what you are going to do 
> next until you actually do it. ​
> ​*> ​**even if you have that massive computing system who is keeping 
>> track of the algorithms to make sure it is doing what you want and so 
>> forth.*
> ​
> Computers will always make mistakes 
> ​and​
>  humans make mistakes too but that doesn't prevent them from getting 
> things done.
> ​ ​
> ​By the way, you indicated you were a fan of t
> he
> ​ 
> Copernican principle
> ​ but now you seem to be saying humans are special after all because they 
> are as smart as things can get, if something is too complex for humans to 
> use it will forever be too complex for anything to use. And I still don't 
> understand what's so complex about a Dyson Sphere. 
> After all, spheres are symmetrical so if you know how to make one small 
> part of it you know how to make the entire thing, now you just need to put 
> in the effort and actually do it. And if you have 6.02*10^23 hands you can 
> complete it in a reasonable amount of time.
>> *​> ​Already we are getting some problematic news with self-driving 
>> cars.​ ​Remember a test driver. or in a way un-driver, was killed not long 
>> ago because the algorithm failed to react properly to certain conditions.*
> ​That was 2 years ago and since then 2.6 million people were killed by 
> human drivers worldwide. And the incident you refer to didn't happen in a 
> driverless car, the Tesla just had a autopilot, a sort of super duper 
> cruise control, and it was never intended to be used without human 
> oversight, although the "driver" apparently treated it as if it was and was 
> not paying attention and died as a result. True driverless cars have a 
> superb driving record and have never killed anyone, Google's driverless 
> cars have driven 1.8 million real world miles and only had 13 accidents, 
> all of them fender benders and all of them caused by other cars with human 
> drivers.
>> ​>* ​*
>> *Complexity explodes enormously and the designers become unable to 
>> understand or control their systems.*
> ​
> Humans understand the complex things they make one hell of a lot better 
> than DNA and proteins
> ​ ​
> understand the complex things 
> they ​
> make.
>> ​>* ​*
>> *there are a lot of humans who are completely insane, and frankly we have 
>> put one in the White House.*
> You'll get no argument from me about that! ​T
> rump is not only insane he's stupid.​ Maybe that's why we can't find ET, 
> sooner or later every civilization gets the equivalent of Mr. Donald (my 
> nuclear button is bigger than yours) Trump.  
> * ​> ​This may then be one reason there are no massive astrophysical 
>> engineered objects out there; the amount of information necessary to build 
>> and control such things is far beyond any tractable computing system.*
> ​That is just not true. ​
> In the entire human genome there are only 3 billion base pairs. There are 
> 4 bases so each base can represent 2 bits, there are 8 bits per byte so 
> that comes out to 750 meg. Just 750 meg, that's about the same amount of 
> information as a old CD disk could hold
> ​ 
> when they first came out
> ​ ​
> 35 years ago! And the 750 meg isn't even efficiently coded, there is a 
> ridiculous amount of redundancy in the human genome.
> ​ And yet that 
> tiny
> ​ amount of information was enough to reshape the surface of a planet. And 
> there is more to come, I think that information could grow and reshape the 
> entire galaxy, if it doesn't stagnate or destroy itself first.
>   John K Clark

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