Musings on 5th Generation Warfare, #F

Continued from here.

The literature on critical periods was brief, as there were few savants sufficiently studied. However, the summary was positive for me, as it seemed that critical periods were a result of inhibitory systems, and savants were the result of those inhibitory systems not developing correctly. The case of Christopher is an example, having a child’s ability to learn languages through adult years and able to translate between any 2 of the 20 languages he had mastered, but not developing normal adult models of other’s minds or the ability to generalize. His amazing language abilities combined with widespread mental and physical dysfunction allowed analyzing the mechanisms of mind.

Among other understandings the studies of Christopher and others by cognitive psychologists had produced was that consciousness is not what it presents itself as being. I have still not grasped the meaning of it having produced such a fine virtual reality, a genuine model, with physics and attributes of entities, of the reality around me, details of which I can turn my attention to, and to do that using such a fundamentally different-in-concept mechanism.  I suppose everyone does the mapping in their own realm of expertise, but I swear my consciousness is organised pretty much the way I would do it in a program and the way you see war rooms laid out in movies, the tank commander’s screens, etc.  Always the awareness looking at very high-res images, the only way my mind has of mapping across that huge divide, our inner mental to outer physical-reality as revealed by sensory systems of known limitations.  That is a mapping from the estimated 11M bits/second rate produced by our sensory systems vs the 60 bits/second that a well-practiced mind can handle in cognitive analysis, e.g. a complex game. That disparity, the so-real full reality of our model in our consciousness vs the actual sparseness, is the fundamental issue that makes us all dualist in speaking and having epistemological breakdowns when we try to think about it.

So, to the extent that my Tessels were examples of lesser development of inhibitory systems, they weren’t missing out on things intellectual as a result of spending so much time with the ‘bots.  But, there was not much research on the social development of savants, nor of their possible critical periods, beyond the fact that Christopher and other savants who continued to interact with normal society continued to improve their social skills.  We knew normal humans had several, e.g. languages and intellect, so it was possible that the ‘bots weren’t providing some social stimulus the Tessels needed.

I didn’t get back to my Tessels for another few months, as I had found an opportunity to bias the world rational I could not pass up.  By 2016, the biology was clear that stem cells and telomeres had a lot to do with aging, if your mitochondria didn’t get you first, and there were interactions between stem cells and all other problems of aging and most of medicine.  Much research had found that normal cells could be converted to stem cells. There were suggestions that the earlier the stage, the easier it was to revert to earlier forms, and, if you did everything just right, and had enough ‘free cells’, it was highly probable a person’s life could be extended.

That case clearly showed that she ran out of stem cells, so merely keeping your telomeres long enough, as stem cells can do, isn’t enough.  That means that stem cells age and die, are subject to problems of mitochondrial decline and the various organ- and system-level cascades of metabolic and control failures. That woman’s loss of stem cells may not have the cause of her death, but seemed to be to be enough evidence that loss of stem cells are one aspect of aging.  That, as well as a growing therapy for diseases in general, seemed to me to predict the growth of a market that could grow quickly and would also promote social stability and work against what I saw as a wave of apocalyptic thinking.

One safe conjecture, it seemed to me, was that providing just the right cells at just the right times might prevent many medical problems indefinitely so long as you had a supply of those cells.  From that, it was a short leap of inference to conclude that the technology for all of that would get better and better so long as civilization, and thus there was an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of that technology. To create it, in fact. And that it had all of the virtues of a classical Ponzi scheme, but none of the downsides, as I could brag about the Ponzi aspects making it work.  In this version, the returns would go up as the price went down, for real.

Thus,  Placental Rejuvenation Technology was born.  The idea was elegantly simple, the only free cells a baby had in its life was its own cord blood and the placenta, no one had use for those, so we provided collection of the placenta, cryopreservation . Ordinary, old technology, the cord blood preservers were everywhere, and there were techniques for preserving more complex tissues such as the placenta. My thought was to tie the insurance of that step with the continuing R&D to extract cells and revert them to particular varieties of stem cells, to be used in treatments we knew MDs would need, given the cells being available.

This would begin, I thought, a rather virtuous chicken-egg cycle on an R&D pathway that likely provided fast wins on the insurance front : someone would need something simple soon, e.g. blood replacements for for some childhood leukemia.  Good publicity, and we could expect a continuing stream of good publicity just from the nature of the business. That would drive the insurance side, which was entirely R&D and the ability to provide an individual’s stem cells on demand, to the latest best methods we have discovered.  Not a large operational cost, ever, and would grow relatively slowly and consistently for many years before aging demands would begin.  By that time, the R&D would have likely made it all cheap.

In any case, our insurance contract required them to pay the cost of that last step, as, to keep our incentives simple, we were obligated to speed the research making it possible with every cent possible.  So, Ponzi-like, new buyers paid for the continuing research, paid less with every generation, received the full increased value of the accumulated knowledge and technology, and we weren’t even on the hook for costs of delivering cells. We laid this all out in the original papers and plan, when we got to the $100M/year income level, we would begin to accumulate the nest egg and to lower the prices.

Translating the idea into a company was fairly simple : first some discussions with scientists and cryopreservers to get a sense of costs and who was good at what, avoid anything unexpected like being really wrong.  Then we started developing the app. Easy : standard business stuff, there are always genius out to prove themselves. They are cheap, hire several, you’ll need backups. Then contracts with the existing cryopreservative people for collection and storage and expanding their facilities and contracts to move a few people from academic payrolls onto our payroll with a boost to their R&D budgets. As we negotiated with the VCs, we had more contract discussions with the best of those nationwide and began a couple of discussions about extending the services to oligarchs in other countries. We already had contracts via the apps, and requests to collect placentas, when the VCs agreed to our terms.

We began with hype, 100%, and clearly described it as such.  It was all futures, all imaginary.  And, on the other hand, there was solid solid science telling us about mechanisms and their degradations that are aging, and causes.  The facts of stem cells repairing normal systems of blood, gut, circulatory system and lungs is solid science and cures are demonstrated for a few cases.  So, extrapolating scientific progress, it was cheap insurance for a child when you added the risks of all of the diseases you were protecting against and additionally extending life, perhaps indefinitely, barring accident.

We priced it expensive at first, while telling everyone we would drop the price as soon as we had both the storage facilities in place and the endowment to guarantee the R&D continued at a rate we believed was required to make this gamble pay off for the children, a minimum of $100M / year.  That is, you can get a lot of research done for $1M if you divvied that out in smaller units that rode on the backs of other projects, just added some more measures, or a full-time operator on an instrument, and we got half of the increment for the side-project.  This was the strategy of information allowing small forces to produce big effects. We had proved the entire approach of open science and our approach to management and funding with the Tessels, this was the beginning of the more general benefits.

There were about 130M babies born every year. If we wanted $100M, we needed to get $100 from 1M of those children.  Oligarch’s kids were only 1 in perhaps 15-20K kids, so say 10,000 children in the first year.  $10K is a chunk for an ordinary person, not much for an oligarch.  So I got a few high society people who I knew wanted this to happen, to give a $10K presents to a niece or nephew, and brag about it in a society column or interview.  In no time at all, that became the gift of benevolence, a major measure of approval of higher social levels of allies in lower was their gift of health insured via a preserved placenta and access to the medical support of life that we promised to develop.

For us, even at those prices, we were pushed to scale fast enough.  It isn’t complicated technology, but seismic-safe zones with enough sources of power via enough independent transmission lines and enough layers of backup of local sources do not appear magically along with mushrooms.  They take financing, planning, engineering and building.  It took time, but our company was coordinator more than operations, we negotiated clean contracts with people who knew what they were doing and shared all their numbers with us.  In return, we gave them solid profits and good bonuses when they beat the numbers.

The contracts specified everything was in the open, and that anyone who found flaws in their accounting or description of status and trends or efficiency of operations would be entitled to rewards up to and including being given the contract to operate the facility.  We got very good auditing for free, and the very best operations at all times, and all that was training and good for any interview you did with us. That is how you tune operating companies in a properly dynamic evolving economy.  Also, of course, we didn’t let them get too big.  That was the constant temptation, it is easy to show economies of scale for refrigeration systems and cold storage and administration, but big is ultimately the same as uncaring.

This project had many spinoffs in the next few years.  Another group used the same model to begin vaccine research for new generations of flu virus.  Those were Kickstarter projects that gave you doses of the vaccine, when R&D had developed it and they produced it, in the order you purchased your investment.  When the R&D was successful, the vaccine was stockpiled to meet commitments.  To that point, it was a normal project.  But speculators paid for 100 or 1000 or 10,000 doses in the hope of profiting, a developing moral hazard, it seemed to me.

To skip ahead a bit in my story, as pieces of the research led to potential treatments, we ran those as open trials, tho laws forced most of them into countries that didn’t punish honesty as the US did.  That lead to a world-wide chain of clinics who entered their anonymized patients into the open databases that were our trials.  We provided medicines at cost until there was consensus among our researchers, and then made a decent profit. The clinics with the expertise in the treatments did too. As our insured patients had been a steady stream of customers to those clinics, and we had good assessments of their competence as researchers and medical practitioners, all this worked to everyone’s benefit.

As those researches and businesses developed, we were having continuous skirmishes with authorities in various countries. As with the Tessels, ‘unapproved research’, ‘unapproved medical treatments’, … We had every level and jurisdiction on our companies and researchers from first incorporation through every study involving humans, at least. There were times we were served some some kind of papers every day of the week.

It got worse when we adopted the servicebots : slaves taking care of our precious children, who they didn’t want born, taking jobs from real people. This was a serious PR assault.

Everyone could see the lab notebooks, and could see the kids were getting obsessively good care. Any journalist could have discussed any level of detail with dozens of people watching every moment of every video stream, of which there were a dozen on each child every moment of the day.  That was confidential, but the videos got around in various ways.  Our parents and researchers were famous, some one of them was a famous piece of ‘you won’t believe the kids’ now every day.  They were famous despite the attention being diluted by the fact that there were almost 200 of them, parents and additional few MDs and other researchers.  Far more attention was concentrated on the first 10 Tessels.

We tried to keep it all as low-key as we could, but the authorities kept it in the news with the endless parade of experts predicting disaster and prosecutors claiming laws were violated and yada yada yada.

We had not expected quite this level of opposition, but were not unprepared.  The first 10 children were born before anyone could think to stop us, we weren’t that dumb. The rest of them starting 2 years later had the precedent of the first 10 being healthy and special, and nobody outside of the research teams knew about the next 90 until they were born, if they were careful.

Once they were born, they had civil rights just like any other human, and we used that to repel most of the assaults : anything they did to our project disrupted the kids’ lives and forced the problem of how to arrange for 8 or 9 couples parenting kids who needed 2 with them almost all of the time.  There were no precedents to the problems, and so we could tie bureaucracies up in knots, forcing them to plan before any remedy could be had, and objecting to their plans.  We also took the precaution of getting citizenship for each of them and their parents in several other countries, just in case we had to move the research project.  That bit of information changed the Zeitgeist, nobody wanted to be the reason they lost the Tessels and the technology.

In truth, our inside information said that TPTB recognized that Tessels were a possible competition, and it wasn’t possible to know what powers or where they might compete, but intelligence was a resource like any other, so they wanted to control the technology and development.  I think this attempt had a lot to do with the 2nd wave of Tessel technology going abroad and being done very privately, those people were afraid of being left out if the governments succeeded. Others were no doubt funded by TPTB trying to do get a monopoly on some related technology, of course.

Our threat to leave and the realization that open science meant anyone could fork a project gave us some political cover.  The discussion of legislation and constant editorializing from MSM, associations and professional organizations of the elite, as well as public intellectuals were telling us why were were at least misguided and preachers why we were actively evil.  That never stopped.

Legally, logically, ethically, we were clean. Wrt to needing approvals for the Tessels : This was private research, not government funded.  The subjects who could approve, approved them, and we had rather complete documentation of every one of the parents, all part of the research team or closely allied with it and all part of the discussions that lead to everyone involved deciding this was a necessary experiment, and deciding that they were willing to be part of it. Who else had relevant skin in the game? Who could claim a better grasp of risks and benefits? Whether zygote or stem cell or iPSC, whose genes were evolving?  We thought the actual holders of the genes, the only entities with that particular set in the entire universe, were entitled to speak for them, unless there were very solid reasons to doubt their capabilities to do so. There weren’t.

Wrt the medical treatments : Ours was the pre-clinical trials version of medical research moving into medical practice.  In the old days, medical researchers proved the efficacy and safety of a drug in vitro and then in animal tests, and finally MDs used it on their most hopeless, sickest patients first, the ones with the most to gain from success and the least to lose from a side-effect.  If any of the first few lived, you might try it on some more-hope, less-sick to see if it is a trend. Etc. In this modern open trial equivalent, a physician could check our clinical trial database for each treatment, and decide whether they thought their patient’s symptoms matched patients in the DB, if there were enough such patients to be meaningful, and what level of risk that might entail.

By this time, Wolfram’s technology included statistical consulting, based on different sets of assumptions applied to the database sliced and diced as any user wanted. That was not proper use of statistics, I was told again and again, but how else did you understand data but looking at it and trying to create an overview?  All you could do is see patterns.

Statistical tests and the associated assumptions are mental tools to do that. With a paper that is trying to prove one particular thing, best theory and practice is to use them in the ‘proper way’, only the few tests needed to check the hypothesis, no looking for an effect and writing around it.  For data mining, well, there is no theory of data mining yet, so we don’t actually know what is legitimate.  But many independent minds comparing the database with their own patients are guaranteed to see more meaning than the original researchers, and some of their hypotheses will be genuine advances.

That approach is a lot more realistic than a clinical trail with an OK/Not OK ending.  The FDA’s approach certainly does not prevent needing to recall drugs after their clinical trials said ‘OK’. In fact, the FDA hides problems it finds whether or no ‘OK’. And ditto the CDC.

The FDA, as part of one of the eternal cycle of bureaucracies was correcting the limitations in its powers and oversight that had been revealed by the case of thalidomide, properly spun, of course. The clinical trial process was their answer, along with a large increase in powers. Read studies of the process, the FDA’s PR using bioethicists to substantiate how patients could not have unbiased judgement in whether to enter clinical trials, they were coerced by disease.

We were far from the first to call for ending the FDA’s efficacy trials. They had had the effect of slowing the development of medicines and also making it a very expensive process, now $1B / new drug entering the market.  That, of course, functions to limit competition, and thus the structure of big pharma is the same as the Military-Industrial-Complex, and for the same reason : they have one customer to focus lobbying upon, a few large companies share those costs best.  Consumers were promised safety in return for the FDA’s regulations, but got no more safety and many fewer, much more expensive, drugs. They increased our risks from drugs released, limited our choices and told us we were safe and free to choose.

I have seen no estimates of the preventable deaths in the US just due to fewer drugs here than in Europe or Asia, but, to pick only one class, e.g. heart medicines such as alpha blockers, beta blockers, anti-arrhythmics or ACE inhibitors, a major problem for patients and MDs is finding one that works for the patient, as all of those drugs can produce major side-effects.  Even lisinopril, probably the most widely-used ACE inhibitor for high BP, has the side-effect of producing a dry cough, and so one of the older people in our family has been forced to others. And if that doesn’t grab your attention, how about one of the most-used antiarrhythmics,  amiodarone.  They put 2 of my older relatives on that. The list of side-effects are serious to death, but not so often if you really pay attention and catch the side-effects early, so don’t use it any longer than necessary.  As amiodarone seems to often fix the arrhythmia, it is used more and more.

And probably, most of the drugs approved in Europe would be used here the same way, and ditto many of the drugs the FDA turned down.  Like thalidomide, now used for cancer treatments.  The problem isn’t the drug, the problem is the drug pushers.  You can’t push use beyond the information you have to judge, and the FDA doesn’t fix the fundamental problem, it covers it up and big pharma profits from it all.

I was proud of our assistance to medical escape from FDA and CDC control. And I was proud that it produced more intelligent conversation about things in reality than any such topic had in many years.  Yes indeed, there had been 3rd world clinics more charlatan than medical, but not any of ours.  Ours were all part of the open trials with an open database. Everyone saw your data in great detail and were happy to make critical comments, you couldn’t get away what you could in an FDA or CDC clinical trial.

And soon, given the many public trial databases such as Patients Like Me,  the power of our governments to harm our futures will diminish.

And, on the political front, better health and longer longevity, given continuing civilization, is the best antidote to apocalyptic thinking. Our doomsday thinkers said my Ponzi scheme gained the world some years.

Wrt the servicebots taking care of the children, as we expected, our Tessels did for home ‘bots what the iPhone had done for smart phones and personal information systems : there was before, and there was after.  The many videos showing the ‘bots changing diapers and doing cleaning in our nurseries primed that market, despite the continuing communication problems with the ‘bots.  Their practical, work knowledge and skills were growing fast, but increasingly ahead of and distinct from their language skills, their ability to explain it all to people.  You would think humans had never encountered the phenomena before, as poorly as we managed to note and diagnose, extract meaning and respond appropriately to the event this time around.

It took most of that first year, but I thought I saw big improvements in the Tessel’s data.  I had kept up with that.  Problem was, it looked like there had been a significant improvement in a more than a few of the Tessels.  Very different skills, different training and tests.  Kids were in different age ranges.  Kids were handled by different ‘bots. All happened in the same week.

What now?

In psyops, the message is the op.


*Generalissimo Grand Strategy, Intelligence Analysis and Psyops, First Volunteer Panzer Psyops Corp.  Cleverly Gently Martial In Spirit

**Asynchronously in time ‘previously’ as the Generealissimo’s memoirs are up into the 2020s in his timeline and Scherrhy is stuck in the queue 25 years beyond that, so what is available in your timeline may vary.

Added later. The world is catching up to The Generalissimo’s thinking.


3 thoughts on “Musings on 5th Generation Warfare, #F

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