The Technium

New Rules for the New Biology

Ten years ago I wrote a small book outlining an economy based on ideas and communication rather than energy and atoms. You can buy the paperback version of the New Rules of the New Economy or read the entire book online here for free (of course!).

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But if we really are headed into the century of neo-biology, as I believe we are, then what are the New Rules of the New Biology?

Here is a first pass, in no particular order:

1) All rules in biology have exceptions.

2) Anything that can be done with organisms (including our own), will be done.

3) Every biological action invokes a biological reaction.

4) All inovations follow a one-way migration from enhancements to normalcy.

5) One person’s biological ideal is another’s horror.

6) Understanding is not necessary for use.

7) The tolerence for uncertainty goes up as death becomes certain.

8) The difference between 99% reliable and 100% reliable is God (or a million years of evolution).

9) Health care is finite resources applied to an infinite appetite.

  • 10) Unlike nature we do not have the luxury of aeons in which our mistakes will deselect themselves into oblivion. If we can crap grey goo into the biosphere without being able to retrieve it, we will – despite all promises that we learn from history.

  • 11)Biological viruses and worms will be made and may begin to damage the ecosystem.

  • 0) Biology is messy

    (couldn’t find the trackback for this, but you can see some more commentary on this on my own site – just too long for a comment)

  • Trey

    12. Progress and evolution requires risk. Risk results in death. Death is a necessary evil.

  • Another rule: constant hardware (wetware?) upgrades aren’t going to be fun. We need to figure out a way to upgrade the wetware as easily as we upgrade the software.

  • Ed

    12.Success is measured by integration with the environment.
    13.The most readily adaptable creation will be the most valuable.
    14.Simple, inexpensive solutions will have the greatest impact to the whole.
    15.Proper maintenance is the difference between the good life and a great life.
    16.The effectiveness of a bio-adapted tool is measured on a personal level.
    17.Materials become more important when diversity of the tool increases.