Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Post of which I spoke ...

... Today's key word is biomimetics, helicopter with flapping wings, hammerhead-shark submarine etc.

So. Is this just a CG designer quirk or could it be yet another depth to plumb? As you can see, I chose the latter.

Theory: all our technology arose from trying to do the things that animals can that we can't. Every animal is uniquely adapted to an optimal environemnt: blowfish in the sea, birds to the air and so on. These adaptations make them greater and lesser than we are, trapping them in ecological niches even as they free them from all the crap we have to deal with.

Douglas Adams: Mankind thinks it is more intelligent than dolphins, for instance, because it's invented so many things: New York, wars, etc, while the dolphins just mucked around in the water and had a good time; whereas dolphins think that they are more intelligent than man for precisely the same reason.

We need to fly? Build a plane! Need to visit the Marianas Trench? Build a bathysphere or a sub! The beauty of intelligence + language = tech and more is that we can exist simultaneously at all points on the food chain - as well as outside of it. The tragedy is that nothing we've done is new. We haven't surpassed nature at ... anything really, even information storage! Human brain & DNA still pwNs our current best computers. But there is hope. With the sheer variety of computational advancements being made almost daily (quantum, t-ray, photonic, nano etc.), we can expect to surpass slow carbon soon enough.

That said, even if we win here, we're still just building better mousetraps (or mice as the case may be). Everything we do down here is inspired by what we know down here. How can we claim to be the captains of our own destiny when we're still playing out evolutionarily scripted parts? That leaves only one choice.


There are no spacegoing animals (except us), thus no inspiration, no accreted blueprint. Is that recipe for disaster or is it our one shot at originality, our final break from genetic causality? You decide.


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