Saturday, February 06, 2010

Pentagon Working on Breeding Immortal Synthetic Organisms


So when does our technology outpace our humanity? Philosophers have struggled with the question for millennia. We have wrestled with the concept in books and films – trying to make sense of all of the giant leaps ahead all the while trying to keep a handle on our own place in the universe.

“What are you talking about, Evil Chicken?”

I’m talking about how the lines of fiction (some would say science fiction although that term truly does not adequately fit the context of most technological arguments anymore) and reality. Case in point, the Pentagon is, as the following article from Wired (although you can read this story anywhere), “looking to breed immortal, “synthetic organisms” with a molecular ‘kill-switch’” for those ‘just in case’ moments when one’s own creation gets out of hand.

“Come on…”

Nope, I’m not making this up; read Katie Drummond’s article for yourself here: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/02/pentagon-looks-to-breed-immortal-synthetic-organisms-molecular-kill-switch-included/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Index+3+%28Top+Stories+2%29%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

In the film “Blade Runner” humans created bio-engineered synthetic organisms that had a kill switch built into their DNA that only gave them a 5-year life span. The Nexus 6 line looked human and as new models came out with improved biometrics and implanted memories it became next to impossible to distinguish between the “Replicants” (synthetic organisms) and the humans.

The pentagon wants an immortal warrior who can sustain amazing damage but can still function on the battlefield. When Skynet started rolling Terminators off the assembly lines to wipe out the rest of the human blight in the Terminator movies they found that the best killers were the ones hidden under living, bio-engineered skin.

DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is the research and development arm of the United States Department of Defense. This is a prestigious think tank that, according to my favorite second brain Wikipedia, is working on the Synthetic organisms. Check out this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DARPA#Projects and scroll down for a list of past projects and active projects which include XOS Exoskeletons (like the high end ones used in “AVATAR” and “Aliens”), High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense Systems, Remote Controlled Insects (for spying and such) and making Combat Zones that See (where everything that moves in a given area is tracked). DARPA sounds like an interesting place to work. Now if anything goes wrong with these immortal synthetic organisms (causing a Zombie uprising or other such shenanigans) it’s all right; there’s a molecular “kill switch” – I’m sure that nothing could ever go wrong with that.

There is no such thing as science fiction anymore, Gentle Reader. Hold onto your hats. The future is now.

“History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man.” – Blue Oyster Cult, Godzilla