From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Was checking NATURE before calling it a day and found this item:
DNA as a multitasking: Not only do 94% of human genes produce more than one output product, they the code is distributed in a nonlinear fashion: alternative splicing.
Closer and closer to your "vision" of biological computing.
From: Greg Bear
Actually, this sort of thing has been known for quite a while... But still rich with implications. Biological theory is well on its way to catching up with such phenomenon! Back in the late 90s, these truths were very difficult to find in the popular press--and still are, today.
From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I'm assuming the computing you describe the biosphere doing is quantum computing...thus nature's non-linear, creative capabilities. Genes are active across timelines (bring the new fruitfly over from the neighboring universe!) Am I mistaking you?
I remember reading Darwin's Radio and thinking of David Deutsch's point about information-bearing matter (DNA) forming patterns across the multiverse. Seems to me the difference between life and mere chemistry is that a corpse is (only) universal, a living organism, Multiversal.
This would constitute an intrusion into time of "hypertime," yes? Which would go a long way toward solving the problem(s) of free will and solipsism. The variations on "Me" that we perceive to exist simultaneously [sic] in spacetime are localities in what is actually an undifferentiated continuum (the entire family tree of life--of which you and I are twig-tips--viewed in "block time"). A continuum accesible to nature (it IS nature) through 4-space but which our fragmentary-selves can only approach through language/culture. Thus culture is not a chance development but follows neccesarily from...the "omega point" of chemical-culture?
Successive omegas are composted (there is only one end of time...). Man's culmination is to fiddle his way back to the DNA's...orders are fused and the volition of Nature erupts into view by virtue of oneness with human volition...Blood Music.
Best thing about the multiverse is that Al Queda does no damage to the book. Plenty of Trade Centers to go around (ouch).
From: Greg Bear
Actually, the biosphere--and all organic systems--solve most of their problems through neural networking, not computing per se. (Although there may be computational algorithms embedded in some of that networking.) I'm not convinced by the notion that we have to reach into the quantum realm to explain ourselves--or to make the decisions that branch us into the multiverse!
Location: cleveland, oh
I can picture the MBAs at America's largest fast food franchises reading summary articles about multiverses and quantum physics and pitching a plan for gaining market share in the multiverse to the board of directors. committees will be formed and funds budgeted.
From: Greg Bear
Cool idea for a story! Now--about converting currency... Actually, this kind of reminds me of "The Gods Themselves" by Isaac Asimov. Or "Jack of Eagles" by James Blish.