Re: dawn of neurohacks

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Sat Nov 25 2000 - 13:58:33 MST

Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> Brian Atkins writes,
> > I bet that splicing these genes into rich people's pre-kids will be
> > common by 2004. May or may not be in time to help much with Singularity.
> I doubt this. We aren't seeing gene splicing or genetic engineering of
> offspring now, despite many useful genes already being discovered.

Genetic engineering is far too slow to have any effect on the Singularity.

Press releases seem to make a direct jump from "knowing where one affector
gene is" to "making improvements in the gene", and this is not the same
thing. As far as I know, there has never been a single case of someone
improving a gene by designing an ab-initio DNA sequence. Fine-grained
observation of inheritance in domesticated animals, yes. Splicing
glow-in-the-dark proteins into mice from jellyfish, yes. Ab-initio
improvements and genuinely new genes - not that I've ever heard of. I
wouldn't expect it for at least thirty to fifty years CRNS (Current Rate
No Singularity), and engineering improved human intelligence - improved
human *intelligence*, improved *human* intelligence, *improved* human
intelligence - would come last of all, maybe a hundred years or more
CRNS. (Note that designing a synthetic protein, which we might see fairly
soon, is different from splicing that protein into an organism so as to
augment the functionality of an existing system.)

Humans are already the smartest ones around - where are you going to
splice the genes from?

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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