DNA Nanobots Enter Living Organism For First Time – Human Trials Within 5 Years?

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Nicholas West
Activist Post

The reverse engineering of the human brain has already been announced to be well under way via new microchips and accompanying software. But the emergence of nanobots creates a whole new paradigm of direct intervention into the human brain.

While full nanobot rewiring of the brain is not expected before 2020, Phys.org has previously reported that our DNA has been successfully targeted by nanobots “for drug therapy or destruction.” This development is a cornerstone of what futurist and a director of engineering at Google, Ray Kurzweil, has dubbed Human Body 2.0. As part of this project, he states:

In the coming decades, a radical upgrading of our body’s physical and mental systems, already underway, will use nanobots to augment and ultimately replace our organs. We already know how to prevent most degenerative disease through nutrition and supplementation; this will be a bridge to the emerging biotechnology revolution, which in turn will be a bridge to the nanotechnology revolution. By 2030, reverse-engineering of the human brain will have been completed and nonbiological intelligence will merge with our biological brains. (emphasis added) [source]

Kurzweil goes on to envision eventually connecting our brains to Cloud computing for easy upload and download. Knowing this, the announcement that DNA nanobots have already moved beyond theory and have been successfully implanted in a living organism should get everyone’s attention.

The cockroach has naturally become a testing ground for the neuroscience community. Insects and mice have long been tested upon in the areas of direct mind control. Cyborg insects in particular have also been tested for their surveillance potential. It’s a strange new world where even remote controlled humans via the Internet is now possible, as well as the promise of DNA downloads from the Internet.

This obsession with brain research and genetics is coalescing at a very rapid rate within the field of bioengineering that is now utilizing advancements in nanotechnology to open up the final doors to access all that encompasses any living structure.


A team at Harvard working with Bar Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel, has made a stunning leap to a whole new level toward realizing the dreams of neuroscientists and transhumanists alike.

New Scientist explains the latest findings:

When it meets a certain kind of protein, DNA unravels into two complementary strands. By creating particular sequences, the strands can be made to unravel on contact with specific molecules – say, those on a diseased cell. When the molecule unravels, out drops the package wrapped inside.

[…] 

The team has now injected various kinds of nanobots into cockroaches. Because the nanobots are labelled with fluorescent markers, the researchers can follow them and analyse how different robot combinations affect where substances are delivered. The team says the accuracy of delivery and control of the nanobots is equivalent to a computer system. 

“This is the first time that biological therapy has been able to match how a computer processor works,” says co-author Ido Bachelet of the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar Ilan University. 

“Unlike electronic devices, which are suitable for our watches, our cars or phones, we can use these robots in life domains, like a living cockroach,” says Ángel Goñi Moreno of the National Center for Biotechnology in Madrid, Spain. “This opens the door for environmental or health applications.”

[…] 

The number of nanobots in the study – more than in previous experiments – makes it particularly promising, says Bachelet. “The higher the number of robots present, the more complex the decisions and actions that can be achieved. If you reach a certain threshold of capability, you can perform any kind of computation. In this case, we have gone past that threshold,” he says. 

The team says it should be possible to scale up the computing power in the cockroach to that of an 8-bit computer, equivalent to a Commodore 64 or Atari 800 from the 1980s. Goni-Moreno agrees that this is feasible. “The mechanism seems easy to scale up so the complexity of the computations will soon become higher,” he says. 

An obvious benefit of this technology would be cancer treatments, because these must be cell-specific and current treatments are not well-targeted. But a treatment like this in mammals must overcome the immune response triggered when a foreign object enters the body. 

Bachelet is confident that the team can enhance the robots’ stability so that they can survive in mammals. “There is no reason why preliminary trials on humans can’t start within five years,” he says. 

Journal reference: Nature Nanotechnology, DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2014.58

There have been some other curious pronouncements from the robotics and artificial intelligence fields as of late that also pinpoint the arrival of these technologies “within 5 years.” At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, I do think that ethical considerations are lagging very far behind the rate of technological development. While there can be little doubt that such revolutionary technology could be used in a beneficial way, we would do well to look at where this technology originates from (primarily the military) and some of the other uses that have been suggested.

For example, a recent article discussing the work of Dr. Rebecca Roache (yeah, curious, I know) opens with one line: “Sentencing a criminal to 1,000 years in an artificial hell may one day become a reality.” The work of Dr. Roache – supposedly an ethicist – postulates that the length of prison and the suffering endured is not commensurate with some of the most heinous crimes committed. Thus, using technology such as lifespan enhancement, mind uploading, altering perception of duration (through pills), and robot prison officers – doors can be opened that could create a literal hell on earth for those selected for such treatment. No mention is made, however, of any positive uses such as learning at a far more rapid rate of speed, augmenting one’s natural creativity to more easily enter the boundlessness of the human experience, or anything remotely arguing for individual empowerment and freedom. Only endless suffering and pain. 

Before these technologies break away to parts unknown, we need to identify what limits, if any, should be imposed, as well as evaluate the proper mechanisms for control over who is in charge of making such god-like decisions.

What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments below….

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  • Aaron Morgan

    “At the risk of sounding like a Luddite, I do think that ethical
    considerations are lagging very far behind the rate of technological
    development.”

    How quaint. It is literally impossible for ethical considerations to keep up with technological development at this point. It is impossible because ethical considerations remain solely in the realm of linear thinking while technological development thrives in the realm of exponential growth. Obviously, it’s not too late to slow down. But good luck convincing the tech companies to do it, or get world governments to acquiesce to your concerns.

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