by Ray Kurzweil, July 2006 Scientific American
Biology is now in the early stages of a historic transition to an information science, while also gaining the tools to reprogram the ancient information systems of life. Our electronic devices typically update their software every few months, yet the 23,000 software programs called genes inside our cells have not changed appreciably in thousands of years. As we begin to understand biology in terms of its information processes, however, we are developing realistic models and simulations of how disease and aging progress and ways to reprogram them.
Read the rest at the link above.
Biologists are becoming obsolete. This is why they whine so much. Mathematicians and computer engineers are trained to think in the relevant terms of the new era of biology – information theory and information processing. Biologists don’t have a clue while our information gurus find themselves right at home in the new biology. Historic biology is irrelevant. Whether the exact order of all the extinct species in the phylogenetic tree is perfected or not makes not a whit of practical difference to the world. Why bother funding it when there are diseases to cure, food to grow more efficiently, and aging to conquer? We have more practical things for science to do than wool gathering about how whales and horses evolved or which dinosaur preceded which or whether bird feathers came from reptile scales and when. The chemistry and physics majors at Berkeley call biology a cross between pipetting and stamp collecting. Levity? Not much.