Sunday, October 21, 2007

Techgnosophy

As content management across the Internet matures, to where, as of this writing, content gets retrieved and distributed on the fly routinely from disparate sources, each of which might hold only a small part of the requested content. The retrieval sequence proceeds according to rules of modal logic operating on content metadata. The agglomerated content gets synthesized and sequenced at the point of end-user delivery. BitTorrent manages and delivers content by this model.

The biological cell manages content the same way. Each protein molecule synthesized is content delivered according to a request. The cell is the end user. But the delivery of the proteinaceous content occurs by way of a vast content management system behind the scenes. It’s hard to find in the processes of that system anything resembling a one-to-one correspondence—between anything and anything else—as in the old one-gene, one-protein model of genetic expression. The protein delivered does not correspond to any contiguous sequence of genes in the cell’s DNA, but is a product of genetic snippets gathered from many places, and edited and re-arranged before the final sequence is fed into the ribosome. This has been going on, on Earth—let alone elsewhere—for a few billion years.

Nature is the apotheosis of technology. Our evolutionary and historical path already is well trod. Nature has done it. Events of the temporal world unfold along a metabolic pathway that leads from the organic to the inorganic and back again inside the feedback loop of the stellar life cycle. Human technology and its industry, seemingly antagonistic toward nature, constitute a phase of nature’s reproductive cycle. Taking the step to the next phase is the immediate opportunity.