Saturday, June 23, 2007
Technology's evolutionary hacking: outsourcing
During the last couple days I've been participating of a metaphysical discussion, and as a result I ended up rounding up couple thoughts on evolution that I had going for a while.
One of them is about the life hacking breakthrough of technology compared with biological life which is: outsourcing! Outsourcing of what? mainly energy management and reproduction. By outsourcing energy management, technology doesn't have to worry about the whole thing of finding what to eat, eating it, digesting it, producing energy out of the eaten thing and eliminating waste. By outsourcing reproduction, machines don't need to worry about finding/attracting mates, mating, actual reproduction, they just need to worry about being replaceable both as parts and as a total. What about breathing? we could say that system is kind of still in place in terms of consuming electricity non-stop, they need electricity as we need air. What about thinking? That's an interesting one, a lot to discuss here, probably need to come back to this one ;) Inmune system and other body related functions outsourcing? not sure on this one ... antivirus already exist for computers ...
Of course outsourcing has a major setback, when you outsource your dependability on others increases dramatically. This anyway is a characteristic of biological life itself, the more specialized the specie is the longer the baby will be totally dependent on its parents, so this characteristic would kind of a tendency in nature too.
Part of my theory is that in most evolutive paths there's a great likelihood that evolution will sooner or later find this hacking way of outsourcing and become technology in symbiosis with biological life.
Other discussions to follow are regarding the independence degree technology might be able to achieve from biological life. (singularity point, etc.)
What's the obvious advantage of outsourcing? Save energy, let the specialists outside take care of problems, reuse of solutions, all the ones we know from IS and IT outsourcing. But, in a deeper level, comparing with biological life, the incredible advantage of outsourcing is to be able to concentrate on thought. A computer is just a brain with memory and I/O devices (perceptions/communications). It's the Cartesian dream, I think therefore I exist.
Most of this thoughts were motivated by Kevin Kelly's question: what does technology want? One of the greatest questions of this time to be asked.