Mücahit Gültekin: "Biohackers"

Mücahit Gültekin: "Biohackers"
Date: 10.9.2021 17:00

Milli Gazete columnist Mücahit Gültekin writes on artificial intelligence and biology. Here is the full article.

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In the first episode of the German-made (2020) series Biohackers, a striking conversation takes place between Prof. Lorenz, a professor at the medical faculty of one of the best universities in Germany, and his students:
- Let's talk about the future. What is the future of medicine?
- Telemedicine and artificial intelligence?
- If it were, you'd be a computer scientist instead of a biologist.
- Gene therapy?
- What is at the root of it?
- Synthetic biology.
- What is that? We can change or even create species. Come on, think big! Synthetic biology transforms us from creature to creator. This is not only the future of medicine, but also the future of humanity. We can prevent diseases before they occur. We can achieve equality of opportunity beyond borders and classes. We can eradicate genetic diseases. Or all of humanity if we don't do our job well. Creating the world of the future is our responsibility. You are the ones who will create the future!
- What about God?
- God will fall from popular esteem!
This dialogue highlights the decisive power of artificial intelligence and biology in shaping our future. In fact, we can talk about cooperation rather than opposition and competition. As a matter of fact, the name of the directory also points to this; It was created by adding a concept from the computer field to the concept of biology. The dialogue in the lecture draws attention to the fact that the real power in the "artificial intelligence-genetics" cooperation is in the hands of genetics. In reality both fields are basically dealing with “software”. There are genetic engineers on one side and software engineers on the other. Geneticists with DNA; Experts dealing with "wetware". Computerists deal with "software" with microprocessors.
Of course, the main topic of conversation between Lorenz and his students is God; We'll be back here a little later. First, let's take a quick look at what's been happening on the two wings of "software" lately.
After a long period of financial problems (it's called the "artificial intelligence winter"), artificial intelligence experts have once again received large funding since the early 1990s. Rockefeller supported the artificial intelligence workshop held in Dartmouth in 1956. Their first big success was with Deep Blue beating Gary Kasparov at chess. Then, in the 80s, many things that would have been "factoid" started to come true. Virtual reality, augmented reality, internet of things and more... In 2011, the artificial intelligence named Watson (artificial intelligences have a name!) produced by IBM was performing 80 trillion operations per second. He took down Ken Jennings, a legend in the risk game. Watson could digest and process 200 million pages of data. Just 3 years later, in 2014, supercomputers had a 2400% increase in performance and a 90% reduction in size. Now the computer called Summit processes 200 quadrillion operations per second. Let us also remind you that Deep Blue and Watson owed their success to their superior memory and quick calculation skills; not learning. “Learning machines” such as DeepMind, AlphaGo, and Alpha Zero emerged from 2015 and sparked enthusiasm.
Here I have to talk about something called “Moore's law” that transhumanists love so much. Gordon Moore (former chairman of Intel) argued in an article published in 1965 that a processor twice as powerful could be produced for the same money (or even cheaper) approximately every two years. Of course, it is said that this law is still valid, although it is a physical endpoint. To make the subject concrete, we can give an example: The first microprocessor that Intel released in 1971 had 2,300 transistors. The microprocessors it launched in 2015 are thought to have 1.5-2 billion transistors. These transistors are too small to be seen and are 14 nanometers apart! 1 nanometer is one billionth of a meter. For example, the thickness of the cell membrane is around 10 nanometers. The significance of this is that very powerful computers will get cheaper and smaller. According to Google executive and famous transhumanist Ray Kurzweil, a $1,000 computer will be 1000 times more powerful than the human brain. According to him, by 2050, the processing power of a single computer will be equal to the combined power of the brains of all people. (By the way, let's also mention that Kurzweil's thoughts are considered fantastic by many experts. But it is important in terms of reflecting an ideal.)
The fact that Google-produced AlphaGo ousted go champion Lee Sedol in 2016 has been hailed as the herald of human-level artificial intelligence. Later on, AlphaZero's ability to learn chess "by itself" enough to bring all the masters of the world to their knees in 4 hours increased the enthusiasm even more.
While these were happening in the "software" wing of the software, incredible developments were also taking place in the "wetware" wing. In June 2000, US President Bill Clinton, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and on behalf of Celera Genomics, representing private companies, announced to the world that the first leg of the Craig Venter Human Genome Project had been completed. The cost of sequencing an entire human genome was $3 billion in 2000. Moore's law was also valid here. It dropped to $1 million in 2006 and $100,000 in 2008. After 2008, there was a tremendous drop in prices. As of 2014, a whole gene map can be produced for 1000 (thousand) dollars. Marc Goodman writes that some companies send genealogical results to the common public (for a spit and $99). Gerd Leonhard says that sequencing a person's genome will cost under $50. Nick Bostrom states that the gene sequence for smallpox and the 1918 virus can be downloaded from the Internet.
There are broad and controversial consequences of gene mapping—beyond personalized medical treatment, special drugs designed for genetics—such as eugenics, engineered babies, and eugenics. Knowing the gene sequence brings with it the risk that many personal information (psychological and physiological tendencies) that even the person himself is not aware of is obtained by companies.
The merger of biology and artificial intelligence, according to some ambitious views, is humanity's last revolution: Everything will change completely; law, economy, education, politics, health, security, communication, reproduction, family, etc. The world as we know it will come to an end. The game will change, not the rules of the game.
That is, as Prof. Lorenz put it, without slurring: “God will fall from popular esteem!”
As I said in the introduction, the main subject is God. Who will have the power to kill and create? The real issue is who the god is!
Of course, this is not a new issue, it is a very old one. Remember the claims that Nemrut made in his argument with Abraham (pbuh): He said, "I kill and resurrect too."
He did, but he had neither the strength nor the knowledge to do it. But Nemrut's motivation did not leave the world. Moreover, this motivation is further strengthened by the opportunities provided by biotechnology. DNA can now be controlled with the CRISPR-Cas9 technique. In the meantime, let's remember that the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna, who discovered this technique. “Design dolls” are no longer just the subject of science fiction. In fact, efforts to "breathe" the machine are also on the agenda. According to a news broadcast on the BBC on January 14, 2020, roboticists announced that they have produced a "living robot" from the stem cells of frogs. Michael Levin of Massachusetts Tufts University and his team made robots from biological tissues. Levin stated that these robots can be given vessels, nervous systems and vision. The results of the research were published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in January last year.
Here we need to underline that the problem is not science and technology. Man was created as a tool-maker/inventor. The problem, as always, is the human soul. Man's arrogance, ambition, desires... Man is not because he makes tools; He becomes Nimrod because he claims divinity. It wasn't the atomic bomb that burned Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was Harry Truman and his dude.
Will God fall from popular esteem?
In my opinion, this is not the real issue. Anyone can throw it out whenever they want. The main issue is the situation of those who do not want to throw; The situation of those who see the earth and its contents as a trust from Allah. Frankly, they are not in a very good condition. God's greatest blessing to mankind; A language of religion that despises, despises, and even opposes the blessing of reason is in our midst. Motivating himself with small calculations rather than facing Nimrod, happy with small successes, having small enemies; How far can we go with an understanding that always turns the ball in its own court and does not hesitate to score an own goal if its head is broken? More precisely, with this understanding, do we have any other place to go other than the place dragged by the wave that comes upon us? If we could realize the destructiveness of the wave that came upon us, we would see sectarianism, nationalism, factionalism, etc. Would we have problems like
We look like prisoners fighting for the ward lord. What if it was you, what if it was me! Doesn't the same guard lock the door above us? Don't the same dungeon walls define our borders?
If we can show the courage to face the real enemy of the earth and human, if we can resist against the modern Nimrods together, we will win, too, humanity...
Or is it not destined to be punished those who do not take a lesson?


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