by Giulio Montanaro

"To persist, life must reproduce", opens the Wyss Institute piece signed by Joshua Brown of the University of Vermont Communication and titled Team builds first living robots—that can reproduce.

How is the idea of life changing?

The article represents the original source of one of the news that, in recent times, has generated more interest in the tech world and in the community of the so-called "Intellectual Dark Web" (Jordan Peterson, Joe Rogan, Adam Curry, Ben Shapiro, Lex Fridman, Dave Rubin, Tim Pool, Douglas Murray etc.). In fact, many find Brown's incipit a bit far-fetched. It's fine to be accustomed to and, from a certain point of view, resigned to the daily narratives about "the inevitable need for change and progress" heatedly postulated by pro forma democrats. However, talking about life when you're introducing a piece about the first Nanobots capable of reproducing autonomously, independently of humans and potentially indefinitely, seems a bit excessive and perhaps even misleading.

But let's get to the chronological sequence of events.

Biological robots that can reproduce

We are in Vermont, at the beginning of 2020, when, as Brown himself reports, a team of researchers "gives life" to the first "xenobots", small nanobots assembled from frog cells that will be harbingers of great innovations in the medical field and beyond. Methods of detection, treatment and elimination of diseases will in fact be subject to profound reform by virtue of this technological advancement.

All of this took place in January 2020. It is November 2021 when the same team tells the world that they have figured out how to allow the same xenobots to reproduce autonomously and, potentially, indefinitely. Organisms (it would be appropriate to quote the term maybe) designed by artificial intelligence, which have chosen to give him the clothes of a Pacman shaped like a chickpea, and then assembled by hand by human labor, these xenobots are able to move in their area of expertise, collect hundreds of other individual cells of infinitely smaller size in order to assemble small that, in a few days, will become their real similar.

For those who know or have heard of Ray Kurzweil's law of accelerating returns, this is a blatant example of a new advancement that makes several higher-level advances possible.

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Singularitans and the great risks of such discoveries

I have read and written and continue to read with interest about Kurzweil's diabolical genius. On the contrary, it exerts less fascination and generates clearly less introspection to follow the developments of those followers of "Singularitanism", the pseudo moral philosophy that claims to extend human virtues to cybernetics, celebrating the advent of the fusion between biological and artificial intelligence as an almost revelatory event.

In the eyes of the writer, watching the video in Brown's latest publication on the Wyss Institute blog, where one can observe the process of xenobot regeneration, generates anything but the excitement presumably felt by these seditious Singularitans.

The phagocytosis of the cells present in the plate by the xenobot and their coercive reorganization into structures identical in shape to the source and aimed at the same purpose of this evokes a bit the feelings emerging from some images of "Terminator 2" or "Matrix", as well as stimulate reflections on the potential evolution of similar phenomena on a large scale.

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Nato a Padova nel 1980, appassionato di lingue, storia e filosofia. Scrive fin da giovanissimo e dal ‘99 collabora con organi di stampa. Ha lavorato nel settore della musica elettronica, distinguendosi come talent scout e agente di alcuni degli artisti più importanti degli ultimi 15 anni. Ha fatto esperienze nella moda e nel tessile e vissuto in nove città differenti. Attualmente vive in Tunisia.