Invincible by science?

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INVINCIBLE
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Invincible by science?

Postby INVINCIBLE » Thu May 09, 2013 10:29 am UTC

Do you think that the practice of medical science will ever become pointless because we have become so advanced (in the medical fields) our bodies are perfect and we are almost invincible.

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby idobox » Thu May 09, 2013 11:01 am UTC

Even if we somehow manage to genetic engineer ourselves from every conceivable disease, diseases will evolve, teenagers will break their bones while antigrav skateboarding, and kids will swallow things they shouldn't.

The only way to become almost invincible is by uploading ourselves to a de-materialized substrate, like a computer network, and even then, a large enough attack could wipe you out.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby INVINCIBLE » Thu May 09, 2013 11:06 am UTC

Bones breaking could be solved by changing the makeup of certain bones to other substances.....right?

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 09, 2013 12:29 pm UTC

I can imagine medical science getting to a point where it's only investigating new diseases or foreign pathogens, if that. But, yeah, sure, the human body is a finite entity after all.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby 3rdtry » Thu May 09, 2013 12:40 pm UTC

Unbreakable anything sounds hard, but you could just take out the bone and swap it for a new one.

With sufficiently advanced technology, you could just repair the damage really fast.

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby idobox » Thu May 09, 2013 4:18 pm UTC

3rdtry wrote:Unbreakable anything sounds hard, but you could just take out the bone and swap it for a new one.

With sufficiently advanced technology, you could just repair the damage really fast.

Sure, but that would still qualify as medical practice to me, even if you replace the broken carbon nanotube bone from under the synthetic fibres pseudo-muscles with you surgeon-matic 5000.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 09, 2013 4:26 pm UTC

I misunderstood the question; if we get to the point that medical science is useless because bodies are invulnerable, then I daresay we aren't really Homo sapiens anymore. Not because vulnerability is a human thing, but because you're no longer talking about a human body.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Angua » Thu May 09, 2013 4:28 pm UTC

I guess if we know all there is, then we just replace the doctors with robots and don't bother updating them as they are already perfect. I can definitely see medical science getting to that point.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby INVINCIBLE » Thu May 09, 2013 11:29 pm UTC

i dont think we could do that because the bacterias that harms us would evolve and still be able to harm us. However we would have to do much less work to keep up with them and that is where doctors becoming almost useless would come into play.

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 09, 2013 11:57 pm UTC

The assumption you're making here, invulnerability, is somewhat sci-fi in and of itself, so it's not unreasonable to also assume, say, nanobots in your blood stream or advanced human genetics improving the immune system so much that evolving bacteria be damned.

A lot of cool science fiction deals with 'post-humans', that have acquired a number of neato traits, and are for all intents and purposes, nigh on invulnerable. Fall off a cliff and shatter your leg? Regeneration factor aligns and remedies that in a matter of minutes!
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby INVINCIBLE » Fri May 10, 2013 12:34 am UTC

But maybe you wouldn't shatter your leg if your bones had qualities added by us. For example a large enough increase of calcium might (emphasis on might) allow your bones to deal with larger forces that would currently break us easily. I do like the nanobot theory to though.

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri May 10, 2013 12:55 am UTC

Well, sure, fine; if you're willing to assume super materials or such making bones super strong, why not assume super genetic engineering or somethingsomething that prevents infections?

You said;
INVINCIBLE wrote:i dont think we could do that because the bacterias that harms us would evolve and still be able to harm us.
Which seems a somewhat silly assertion given that we're already assuming changing the structural or chemical nature of your bones.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby curtis95112 » Fri May 10, 2013 1:57 pm UTC

If we get to the point where we can change the composition of our bodies and have nanobots in our bloodstreams, accidents and bacteria aren't the problem, other people are.

You can change your body all you want, a large enough bomb is still going to kill you.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri May 10, 2013 2:03 pm UTC

Upload complete. Commence new body calibration.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby snowyowl » Fri May 10, 2013 2:48 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Upload complete. Commence new body calibration.

Good point. Upload your mind into a robot body with no biological parts. Any problems after that point are in the domain of engineering or programming, not medicine.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby INVINCIBLE » Fri May 10, 2013 9:37 pm UTC

But then you wouldn't be a human you would be a (sorry for the doctor who reference) cyberman

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby gmalivuk » Fri May 10, 2013 10:38 pm UTC

So? The only way "our" bodies could be even close to "invincible" is if they become very, very different from how they are now.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby speising » Fri May 10, 2013 11:29 pm UTC

INVINCIBLE wrote:But then you wouldn't be a human you would be a (sorry for the doctor who reference) cyberman


Aren't we that already? we have fillings and false teeth, titanium hips, artificial lenses, pacemakers,...
it's just a matter of degree.

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby INVINCIBLE » Sat May 11, 2013 12:56 am UTC

Sure we do use artificial parts to help/replace ones we already have but none of those completely change our bone structure.

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat May 11, 2013 1:00 am UTC

You seem to be drawing lines very arbitrarily. Why is replacing bones with something invulnerable kosher, but replacing our immune systems with something that can keep pace with flu strains not? Why is replacing organs or using lasers to fix our eyes or implanting electrodes into our cochlea 'not what you mean', but 'completely changing our bone structure' is?
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby zukenft » Sat May 11, 2013 10:14 am UTC

I guess the OP only accept the concept of invincibility if it is brought about by genetic engineering. Well, having your body being reinforced with nanomachines also work too, son! Metal Gear reference

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat May 11, 2013 5:50 pm UTC

Sure, but genetic engineering can certainly do something like 'boost immune system to infinity', for the purposes of this discussion anyway.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Diadem » Sun May 12, 2013 11:28 pm UTC

Of course being able to upload your mind doesn't make you invulnerable either. Even data on the web can be deleted. And criminals stealing your mind-data would be a serious security risk, so people would probably upload their mind-data only to a few highly specialized and secure locations. Locations that could, in theory, be attacked. So assassination would still be possible, though it might require multiple nuclear strikes against data centres before attacking your physical body.

I have this half-formed idea for a sci-fi story set millions of years in the future, where humanity is spread over hundreds of thousand of galaxies. They long ago figured out how to merge minds and machines. Physical bodies have become entirely optional, though most people maintain them for the physical pleasures they can bring. There are no more computers, since people have become computers themselves. There are no robots, people control machinery directly with their mind, on a subconscious level. Not small machines either, a single 'human being' might control, might be, several Dyson spheres, and hundreds of thousands of spacecraft for maintenance and exploration.

Of course that'd make for a boring story. So that's where the aliens come in...
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun May 12, 2013 11:40 pm UTC

Why would having bodies be somewhat of a hobby for pleasure, when you exist as an entity of information swimming in a virtual world?
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Soralin » Mon May 13, 2013 3:47 am UTC

INVINCIBLE wrote:Sure we do use artificial parts to help/replace ones we already have but none of those completely change our bone structure.

If you had invulnerable bones, and rigid unbreakable skin, that still wouldn't be enough. For example, a concussion happens when your head undergoes a sharp acceleration from hitting something (or being hit by something), resulting in your brain smashing up against the inside of your skull. Having an unbreakable skull won't protect you from getting knocked out, or suffering brain damage or death, from a large enough impact.

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby idobox » Mon May 13, 2013 3:25 pm UTC

INVINCIBLE wrote:Sure we do use artificial parts to help/replace ones we already have but none of those completely change our bone structure.

That's because artificial bones are inferior to natural ones. Until we can make self repairing bones with space for bone marrow that are stronger than natural ones (already stronger than concrete) while being lighter and able to store calcium, natural bones will be preferred.
Also, I don't know how joints tissue work, but our joints last much much longer than artificial replacements.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby KrO2 » Tue May 14, 2013 8:01 am UTC

speising wrote:
INVINCIBLE wrote:But then you wouldn't be a human you would be a (sorry for the doctor who reference) cyberman


Aren't we that already? we have fillings and false teeth, titanium hips, artificial lenses, pacemakers,...
it's just a matter of degree.

It's not arbitrary. Cybernetics eat your soul, and when you reach 51% you become Twisted and Evil. I don't know if that's by mass or surface area or what, though, so we'd better stay organic just in case.

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Asthanius » Tue May 14, 2013 4:03 pm UTC

Can you have cybernetic blood? I know you can have cybernetics in your blood, but can we make blood cybernetic? Or do we just go from "cybernetics in my blood" to "I have no blood at all".
Does anybody have any idea of what the hell energy is? It's the thing that, when applied to something, gives itself to the thing so that the thing can expend it, applying it to other things in multiple forms of it. What the hell is it?

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idobox
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby idobox » Tue May 14, 2013 8:49 pm UTC

Asthanius wrote:Can you have cybernetic blood? I know you can have cybernetics in your blood, but can we make blood cybernetic? Or do we just go from "cybernetics in my blood" to "I have no blood at all".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_substitute
Cybernetic blood is already there. It's not perfect, and you will need your own white cells for quite some time, but it's here.

The question is, what do you want to improve in blood? cyber muscles and bones can be stronger, cyber livers can allow you to cyber binge drink with no hangover. With blood, beside increasing oxygen transport capacity, I don't really see...

And your organic parts (except the brain and spine) need blood or a blood substitute to stay alive. If you have replaced enough of them by machines, it might make sense to remove blood altogether and the keep the last ones in blood-substitute jars
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby speising » Tue May 14, 2013 8:58 pm UTC

i would like to remark that cybernetic does not equal artificial.
if your artificial blood does not contain electronic parts, it's not cybernetic.

edit: ok, i just saw that i apparently always had a wrong understandig of the term.

Cybernetics is the theory of communication and control based on regulatory feedback. This is the original definition of the term.

so, cybernetic means machines.
still, that doesn't apply to blood.

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue May 14, 2013 9:12 pm UTC

If the thing you're replacing your blood with is capable of responding to regulatory feedback, it sure does!

idobox wrote:The question is, what do you want to improve in blood? cyber muscles and bones can be stronger, cyber livers can allow you to cyber binge drink with no hangover. With blood, beside increasing oxygen transport capacity, I don't really see...
The above bolded made me want to high five you.

Increasing oxygen is just one thing that pops out; enhanced chemistry all around would be neato, like the ability to buffer or deal with more lactic acid, increased solubility of other compounds like ATP, etc. Maybe nanobots that work on site to do stuff, like facilitate coagulation?
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby SerialTroll » Sun May 19, 2013 2:25 am UTC

Actually, in the book "I have no mouth and I must scream", AM faces this very dilemma and solves it quite nicely.

For those who haven't read this short story, please do, it is quite a thought provoking dystopian story. For those who don't want to read.

Spoiler:
Basically a super-intelligent, near omnipotent computer named AM wants to torture mankind forever. All but one person manages to get killed off. The last guy alive gets his body replaced to where he is something like a jellyfish, constantly restored by AM, doomed to be tortured throughout eternity. No, this synopsis doesn't do justice to the story...

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby bouer » Sun May 19, 2013 9:26 pm UTC

Just increasing oxygen capacity could be incredibly useful; we could continue using aerobic respiration when the body usually has to resort to anaerobic, we could hold our breath much longer and we would be less susceptible to things like carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby idobox » Tue May 21, 2013 10:43 pm UTC

bouer wrote:Just increasing oxygen capacity could be incredibly useful; we could continue using aerobic respiration when the body usually has to resort to anaerobic, we could hold our breath much longer and we would be less susceptible to things like carbon monoxide poisoning.

It's what sportsmen try to do with EPO or training in high-altitude. But oxygen is toxic in high concentration, and that might be an issue if you increase the capacity too much.
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Re: Invincible by science?

Postby niky » Wed May 22, 2013 6:26 am UTC

In "I Have No Mouth...", all of the last people on Earth were near-indestructible. They could recover from broken bones and injuries quite easily, were virtually immortal and didn't age.

Spoiler:
And then the last man on Earth went and killed all his companions to put them out of their wretched misery. (Yes, they were thankful), unfortunately AM managed to stop him before he killed himself.


Genetically engineering a better body is possible. Engineering one based on our current biology that would last twice or thrice as long is possible. Making one virtually indestructible would be very difficult. You'd have to completely solve the problem of DNA breakdown and encoding errors, you'd have to find a way to make organs and tissue structures regenerate completely over time without exhibiting uncontrolled growth (tissue that regenerates quickly? We call that cancer in these here parts) and you'd have to turn off the mechanisms for aging while again avoiding uncontrolled growth.

Our bones could be much stronger, but if they're too dense, then nutrients couldn't pass into and out of the marrow. And then, if you replaced them with metal, you'd need to find a way for the body to digest and use metal as a building block. Probably make more sense to replace or reinforce bone tissue with organic carbon nanotubes.

Same issues with the fluid that protects our brain from shock. Too thick and it can't fulfill its other function, of carrying wastes away from the brain and spinal cord. If you turn it into a more effective impact-absorption gel, you'd have to create a whole new circulatory subsystem for the brain.

Actually... the increased pressure on the brain of thicker cerebrospinal fluid might pose some nasty issues, as well. It would necessitate a complete grounds-up re-engineering of the nervous system.


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