Why “46and2bits” ?

I’ve been asked a couple of times. “46 and 2” is simply a classic metal song from Tool (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty_Six_%26_2), and the topic is evolution. To quote Wikipedia :

  • Popular belief dictates that the song title references an idea first conceived by Carl Jung and later expounded upon by Drunvalo Melchizedek concerning the possibility of reaching a state of evolution at which the body would have two more than the normal 46 total chromosomes and leave a currently disharmonious state.[2][3] The premise is that humans would deviate from the current state of human DNA which contains 44 autosomes and 2 sex chromosomes. The next step of evolution would likely result in human DNA being reorganized into 46 and 2 chromosomes, according to Melchizedek.

Will this evolution occur? It might get a bit gnarly, but IMHO it already has. Human evolution is the coexistance and codependence on compute machinery. In fact, I think sci-fi has the whole concept of what “aliens” would look like completely wrong! Just read http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-dominant-life-form-in-the-cosmos-is-probably-superintelligent-robots :

  • If and when we finally encounter aliens, they probably won’t look like little green men, or spiny insectoids. It’s likely they won’t be biological creatures at all, but rather, advanced robots that outstrip our intelligence in every conceivable way. While scores of philosophers, scientists and futurists have prophesied the rise of artificial intelligence and the impending singularity, most have restricted their predictions to Earth. Fewer thinkers—outside the realm of science fiction, that is—have considered the notion that artificial intelligence is already out there, and has been for eons.
  • Susan Schneider, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, is one who has. She joins a handful of astronomers, including Seth Shostak, director of NASA’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, program, NASA Astrobiologist Paul Davies, and Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology Stephen Dick in espousing the view that the dominant intelligence in the cosmos is probably artificial. In her paper “Alien Minds,” written for a forthcoming NASA publication, Schneider describes why alien life forms are likely to be synthetic, and how such creatures might think.

Even for humans – the whole notion of sending humans out to explore space is way to expensive, and too risky. We have proven that we can create machines that can travel long distances, have high tolerances for adverse conditions, and can accomplish much more for much less than sending people. Aside from the moon (and maybe someday Mars), people may never get much further.

So that “Two” in “46 and 2”…. My guess, its the binary machinery that many of us are dedicating our lives to helping advance. Its not “people vs the machines”. Those machines – they are us. At least the ones that we make here. The ones from elsewhere? Well… I think the movie Oblivion captures that scenario …

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