Saturday, January 19, 2002

8/11/2006; 2:30:48 AM

And so Gattica begins ...
For anyone who has not seen the movie Gattica, I can only suggest they they rent it and watch. It includes a wide range of very interesting perspectives on the implications of our advances in understanding genetics, and some of the social and community issues that will develop. One of the core conflicts is that of unstoppable genetic discrimination ...

We are on the verge of having some of the technology to create many of the scenarios that are shown in Gattica ... at one point in the movie they even show a "corner store" that provides instant genetic analysis. Although this seems sophisticated and a ways off, the ability of a corporation to do this type of analysis - even if it takes days - is just around the corner. The article below shows that this is something coming quickly ... and Gattica explains why these types of laws are going to be difficult to enforce. Go rent the movie ...

Insurers barred from using genetic tests. The Times Oct 23 2001 6:32PM ET [Genetics news]

Thursday, January 17, 2002

8/11/2006; 2:30:44 AM

It's all about replication ... genetics is a good example!
When looking at the classic argument about centralized control and storage vs. distributed approaches, it's easy to fall into the "trap" about the supposed benefits of the centralized approach. People will often talk about the "single copy" and "only one play to go for access". They will also talk about "having to manage all of those copies" as though this is an issue.

What is interesting is that there are many lessons around us that show the disadvantages of centralized approaches ... from the former Soviet Union to stories about the companies that centralized all of there computer data in the World Trade Center ... backing it up to the other tower.

In looking at this situation I often reflect on the biological evolved systems all around us ... and I have to say that one of the most sophisticated of these indicates that replication and copies is a valuable implementation ... the Human Body!

Where does your body store the "blueprint" for the body? In one centralized place? No ... it stores this in the genetic material in every single cell. Storing a copy of this critical information in every cell in the body could be looked at as inefficient, wasteful, and potentially dangerous. Another way to look at this is that it offers the most effective way to empower any cell to become anything that contributes to the whole. It prevents the cells from having to reference some "central authority" to determine their purpose.

To me ... synchronization and replication are the way to go ... and some folks at MIT seem to agree that the net is mirroring this direction.

MIT Technology Review: Super Sync. Instead of ubiquitous connectivity to centralized databanks, we are instead building an infrastructure that's optimized for data replication. The same information is getting copied to dozens, hundreds or even thousands of places throughout the world... [Tomalak's Realm]