All of Human Knowledge Could be Stored in a Test Tube Forever

by cofty 14 Replies latest social current

  • cofty

    The DNA code could be used to store unimaginable amounts of information.

    Researchers have shown that encasing the DNA is glass it would remain stable and able to be recovered for more than a million years. By adding redundancies into the code it would still be preserved even if it did become damaged.

    Why didn't god think about encoding a simple "hello"?

    Read more here...

    BBC video here...

  • Magnum

    Fascinating. One of my main concerns in the last few years is permanent data storage. I have probably ten thousand books. I am gradually scanning them all so I can have digital copies and get rid of the hard copies (I actually do what some call "destructive scanning"; I cut the spines off the books and then stack the pages in the paper feed of my scanner.) However, my problem is finding a digital storage medium that will not rapidly degrade. I have been exploring using M-DISCs.

    I believe that preservation of knowledge should be one of the main concerns of humanity as one generation builds upon the discoveries, inventions, etc. of the previous, and more knowledge is accumulated.

    I often wonder what was lost when the Library of Alexandria was burned. Perhaps masterpieces, great insights, invaluable history, etc.

    I hope this method of knowledge preservation becomes feasible.

  • Anders Andersen
    Anders Andersen

    This reminds me of the scientists who created artificial DNA, and implanted it into a cell stripped from it's DNA. The cell with synthetic DNA was capable of reproducing.

    So, creating life from dead materials is a step closer (in contrast to what dubs claim)

    And these scientists showed God how he could have revealed himself:

    To verify that they had synthesized a new organism and not assembled the DNA from another natural bacteria, scientists encoded a series of 'watermarks' into the genes of M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0. There are four of these hidden messages: an explanation of the coding system used, a URL address for those who crack the code to go visit, a list of 46 authors and contributors, and a series of famous quotes. The presence of these watermarks verifies that M. mycoides JCVI-syn1.0 truly is synthetic and demonstrates the precision and power of JCVI's new techniques in synthetic biology

  • slimboyfat

    Isn't there a difference between information and knowledge? Information as I understand it is basically patterns of various sorts. I can see how this can be stored and retrieved infinitely. But knowledge is how we interpret the information. How can you store an interpretation? I mean you can describe an interpretation which in turn produces information, which consists of your description in language. So what you have is a description of the interpretation or knowledge, not the actual knowledge itself. Like you can describe how to drive a car or how to deliver a speech. But the knowledge itself of how to do it is something apart from the description.

    This doesn't just apply to practical skills. It applies to "knowledge" in the more abstract sense too. Take for example an historian such as James Joll who writes a book on the origins of the First World War. This historian has a vast knowledge and understanding of the complex causes involved in the historical problem he tackles. What he does is distil this knowledge into various pieces of information and presents it in a way that can be understood as best he can. If the reader gains some knowledge as a result of the description then it may fairly resemble the knowledge that Joll originally possessed in order to write the book, but it will never match that knowledge coextensively or indeed exactly in any of its particulars. This is for a number of reasons: the reader interprets the information in his own way, he compares it with what he already knows, he evaluates it, understands intermittently, variably forgets and misremembers, and so on. His knowledge is his own. In this sense knowledge cannot be stored but only created anew in the mind of each rational being. Information is what is stored and is far more mundane,

    Since what is contained in storage is a description of knowledge and not knowledge itself, and since all descriptions are capable of alteration and each fact about the world is capable of multiple descriptions, there is therefore no way of storing all human knowledge. In fact talking about storing all human knowledge (rather than simply bits of information) seems to misunderstand what knowledge is. And it is dangerous! But I won't get into that.

  • neverendingjourney
  • cofty

    SBF - It's about a technical solution on how to store huge amounts of info. It's not a thread about epistemology.

    If I said somebody had invented a 1 gazillion terabyte memory stick would you launch into a lecture about the nature of "knowledge"?

    The thread title is nothing but an eye-catching headline. Read the linked article.

    I thought it was interesting.

  • slimboyfat

    It is interesting and I watched it and it is exciting.

    But the casual conflation of information and knowledge (in both your comments and the original article itself) is something that deserves to be underlined. They are not the same thing, and the failure to make a distinction tells us something important about our common failure to recognise the complexity and unrepeatability (a good Derridean concept) of our knoweldge of the world.

  • cofty
  • cofty
    There are four of these hidden messages: an explanation of the coding system used, a URL address for those who crack the code to go visit, a list of 46 authors and contributors, and a series of famous quotes. - Anders Anderson

    That's really interesting.

    Imagine if god had put his written word into DNA for us to discover.

    Theists often say nothing would satisfy skeptics. That would.

  • slimboyfat
    Maybe he did but he wrote it in a language only dogs could understand.

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