CRISPR Wars: The Inevitability of Technological Entropy ?

Context: The Coming CRISPR Wars: Or why genome editing can be more dangerous than nuclear weapons

The great enigma of scientific and technological progress: for every great leap forwards there exists a concurrent potential for even greater (catastrophic) leaps backwards. Every non-trivially sophisticated technical, technological advance encodes or (literally) embodies new logical methods of information and/or energy manipulation or exploitation but the potential cost of this is always in the manifest entropy of directed misuse or unacknowledged and unintentional effects.

A reflective (philosophical) question: if the procedural accumulation of technical and technological sophistication represents the increase of information and complexity as usefully-ordered systems of knowledge, is the existence and probable inevitability for unconscionable deployment of a technology evidence of the implicit entropic (energy-system) or information (disorder) cost inherent to any advance (or system) of technical knowledge?

The generation of new technical methods not merely expands the possibility space of all future recombinatory developments or convergent applications of technologies, it (also) vastly hyper-inflates all the possible disordered states of that system. Technological methods (and paradigms) generate their own possible and probable future states but the set of all possibilities (as we already know from thermodynamics) always includes more disordered states than ordered ones, making disorder, entropy (and potentially – catastrophe) more likely at every step forwards.

The TL;DR: we are (collectively) more likely to make a mess than a miracle when we discover new technologies because entropy and disorder are deeply embedded into the logic of physics, energy and information. And yet, somehow… we have managed to survive (to this point) and negotiate not merely a volatile and uncertain world, but the aggregate dissonance and turbulence we ourselves generate.

One thought on “CRISPR Wars: The Inevitability of Technological Entropy ?

  1. An interesting perspective: technical and technological methods are much worse than the proverbial double-edged sword; almost an infinite-edged sword (to push the metaphor as far as possible) in which the bad edges far outnumber the good edges. Unfortunately, we must continue to go forward because we can’t go back. I guess that’s another “proof” that entropy is inevitable.

    Liked by 1 person

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