Abstract: Machines are obsolete as a foremost paradigm. So are Turing Machines, and thus Artificial Intelligence, the old fashion way. Instead, what truly animates the world, is the Quantum, which is everywhere (literally, and figuratively!). Biology, as found on Earth, is a particular case of nanotechnology animated by the Quantum.

Our expanding science can now harness the latter in its full generality. I propose to call it ULTRABIOLOGY (to distinguish it from the wishy-washy senility of quaint thoughts emanating from millennia past).

Chlorophyll: Quantum Thought, Through & Through

Chlorophyll: Quantum Thought, Through & Through

Machines are an old idea. Egyptians already used steam to open temples’ doors. What is a machine? It’s a bit like an avalanche: something initially small, leading to great effects, without human intervention.

Postbiological evolution” is a fashionable concept envisioned by some Artificial Intelligence guys (as the Note at the end reveals, this plutocracy associated crowd is suspect). According to them, evolution would have transitioned from a biological paradigm, driven by the propagation of genes, to a “nonbiological paradigm“, driven by some “alternative replicator”. Blah blah blah.

This picture, abundantly represented in science-fiction, is not correct, and reflects the ignorance of modern physics, and biology, chronic among those who have learned much “code”, and little else besides.

Code without science is intelligence without understanding, and way too much money.

Indeed, a problem is that the codists make a lot of money, presidents receive them, tail wagging, and those basically ignorant people end up steering civilization with asinine notions that undermine contemporary civilization. One of them being that code is everything.

Instead, the Quantum shows that code is nothing much.  

I propose instead that synthetic biology (a concept evoked by Leduc in 1912!) is the correct QUANTUM concept that will occupy the future. Synthetic biology will go beyond (‘ultra’) existing biology, so I propose to call it “ultrabiology”.  This is state of the art: we have Albert Einstein himself on the record, aghast from some of the notions therein deployed. Such as non-locality. Which turns out to be crucial to biology (and not to “code”, hahaha).

It is true that we can now erect great structures: bridges, airports, energy networks. Some look alive, like giant mechanical cranes. It is true that modern computers can give a life-like appearances to those machines. However, classical mechanics is not all and only what biology is about. Far from it.


First biology is about the creative inheritance of the most complex geometric structures or their descendants. Genes are only a particular case. And a particularly rigid one at that.

Geometric structures inherited? What am I talking about? Look at prions, a form of replicating proteins. Look at the machinery inside bacteria, which reproduces by duplication without genes’ intervention.

Is biology creative? Think of what Lamarck proposed, epigenetics. Epigenetics is now finally demonstrated. Research journals are full of epigenetics kits… for sale.

Epigenetics says that a life experience, what the Greeks called the “bio” modifies not just the genes (say with a mutation), but the expression of these genes (say with an above-genetics process called “methylation”). Some of these epigenetical processes are inheritable: abusing a child will affect genetically the child’s descendants, several generations removed (at least this has been demonstrated in rats).

This has the interesting consequence that a nation of beaten dogs should become a race, or species, of beaten dogs. (Those who want to explain the history of nations that way are referred to Nietzsche, for further singing… Or may feel like enslaving the Slavs again… Although that does not work ever since Ivan became terrible…)

There is more to life’s creativity, than epigenetics. It goes to the heart of physics, a heart neither the ancients nor their machines guessed the nature of, when they thought about physics. The first who had an inkling of the new paradigm was probably Huyghens (who suggested that light was a wave).

Life’s spectacular adaptive creativity is why scientists have been afraid that Earth life would propagate to Mars (probes landing there are thoroughly sterilized). It’s also why many animals were able to adapt genetically to radiation around Chernobyl (which averages around 40 times normal).


Partisans of “postbiology” may suggest that epigenetics is mechanically reproducible. In full, that’s unlikely. Why? Because even the chlorophyll molecule, the centerfold of life on Earth, uses the Quantum. How? By using the most striking property of the Quantum.

The most striking property of the Quantum is NON LOCALITY. Quantum processes are all about exploring all available space at once: this is the most striking difference with classical mechanics, which is, in its modern version, about fields propagating at finite speed. 

Being everywhere at once allows a Quantum driven process to find the lowest energy solution, and that’s exactly what makes the chlorophyll molecule so efficient. All of the life we have now depends upon the sun through chlorophyll (one way, or another; even around thermal vents).

Maxwell’s putative demon sorted stuff out, but the Quantum Demon thinks it out.


“Artificial Intelligence” is a funny concept. Indeed, as it is, it rests on classical computing machines. Those are not really different from sets of canals, with electrons flowing instead of water.

The modern expression of classical Artificial Intelligence is the Universal Turing Machine.

What’s that? Something that works like a machine distributing bottled drinks. There is nothing intelligent about it: a pre-programmed instruction follows another. If one thinks that’s intelligent, then ATMs are clever.

Is the universe like that?

Yes, in the sense of avalanches. In their simplicity, some AI experts believe that avalanches and canals were the paradigm for thinking. Why? Because they never had a course in Quantum Mechanics, and the physics they know is all about teeth, wheels, and, basically the venerable abacus.

An example of step by step instruction, like a Turing machine, is found in biology: genes and DNA. But, and that’s one of my main points, biology does not reduce to this digital system, contrarily to what the naïve, from Dawkins to AI experts, believe, in their Quantum ignorance.

DNA is digital, like a Turing machine. Instead of using just 0s and 1s, the DNA based systems uses 4, or 20 basic symbols to encode the DNA Turing machines. But that is just a detail.

The big difference between digital computing and Quantum computing is that the latter can be digital, but, in general, Quantum computing will be analogue and continuous: the Quantum computes with geometry itself. And geometry varies, of course, and varies continuously, according to the situation. 

To get truly intelligent computers, one will need to forget about Turing machines, and go Quantum.

Details in biology are really small. Look at a wasp. It has more creative brain power than any existing man-made computers. Yet, its brain is tiny.

Life, biology, the sum over all histories of evolution, is all about the Quantum.

Biology is nanotechnology, endowed with full Quantum computing power.

At this point, synthetic biology is a existing, evolving science. Synthetic genes have been made functional. Even entire synthetic chromosomes have been constructed, and inserted in yeast. One hopes to harness the prodigious self-assembly properties of biological systems, to realize nanotech machines.

So why to call it ultrabiology? Obviously, because it’s both extreme and beyond biology.

Patrice Ayme’


Note: The preceding may sound very far removed from my usual attack against plutocrats and their vile little helpers. But it’s not. It’s smack in the middle. Reducing everything to code, that is, poetically, to all the fast buck artists and the attached NSA, is not just disinformation, but a power trip by an oligarchy of the pseudo intelligent.

A lot of the crowd that suggests “postbiology” (= biology is obsolete) serves the crowd that finances Obama and his sponsors… who, in turn, created the conditions to make those “social networking” and the like thrive…as an extension of the NSA. All this is characterized by pretty mediocre thinking. Thus by discrediting the latter, I attack the entire pseudo thinking cloaked in pseudo post-modern ways that characterize those rather base plotters.  

Last and not least: by insisting that everything reduces to code, mediocre thinkers do not just advantage plutocracy and the attached NSA, but also starve real science… As observed in Obama’s latest budget proposal. So you can go to the multi billionaires Marissa Mayer’s mansion, a 38 year old NSA made creature, and pay 38,500 dollars to see Obama and Marissa, as was the case today, or bemoan all this deviation of civilization into devastation.

And please, somebody explain to me the difference between this and prostitution? Or is it just that Marissa Mayer’s or Obama’s rates are higher than even what Saudi princes would pay for?


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16 Responses to “ULTRABIOLOGY”

  1. Alexi Says:

    Post-biology does not mean the exclusion of organic chemistry (or nano-scale engineering). I see the hallmark of biology is its advancement of organic forms through natural selection. You don’t have to agree with my definition. The bulk of your essay I found I agree with. The tone was a bit insulting but that is just you being true to you.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hi Alexi! I need my neurohormones to get going, and as I have been insulted all my life (the very existence of the present corrupt critters at the top of Silicon Valley is an insult to me, as had the inside track). You will agree with me that the Silicon President show is extremely insulting, at least to democracy. I have been to some of these corruptshows, BTW…

      “Natural selection” is, in part, spiritual, even in the narrowest post-Darwinian “constriction” of interpretation. Indeed, minds are supposed to select, to some extent.

      Truly yours, as always! ;-)!

  2. red Says:

    nice article…recent announcement about artificial dna made me think along mechanical -vs- biological machines. Classical computers you can reliably CONTROL. Biological nontech ones ? not so sure. Humans themselves being one.

    Humans already facing tremendous challenge handling the complexity of modern computers and its sprung-up ecosystem (plutocrats using it as tool, nsa,, mass propagandas, etc,etc).

    Imagine the sheeple having to deal with the complexity of a ultrabiological ecosystems. Things can quickly go out of “control”.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Red: This is indeed a huge worry… paradoxically tempered by the observation that we have already totally lost control. Even control of minds. A small, but telling example is the problem of nuclear energy: it’s the one and only solution we have for immediate non CO2 solution. However, most influential ecologists have screamed, for decades now, against nuclear energy, so now we are facing a catastrophe well beyond, by orders of magnitude, the worst that generalized nuclear energy could have caused. And they still scream, as the biosphere is crashing.

      Such a mental catastrophe is hard to beat: in the worst possible case, we could run out of oxygen.

      One of the reason the sheeple is so dumb, ignorant, uninterested, is that it is not endowed with decision making, but treated childishly. it’s a vicious circle.

  3. EugenR Says:

    The final prophecy. Not the robotics, not the AI, and not even a different biological species will take over the the earth after the human civilization will collapse, (and unfortunately it will collapse if we continue what and how we manage our world) but some kind of odd nanotechnology material developed and mutated in some scientific laboratory. The earth will be covered with some kind of tar like material, chemically reproducing and mutating, eating up all the biological material produced on earth in the last 300 million years.

  4. Benign Says:

    Yes! When the brilliant Stephen Wolfram wrote his book suggesting the Universe is a cellular automata program (that everything everywhere can always be reduced to such) the most potent critique, and I can’t remember who wrote it, was to simply say, “This doesn’t account for Bell’s Theorem and non-locality, so it has to be incomplete at best.”

    See also Penrose and Hameroff on microtubules in the brain being the true seat of (coherent) consciousness. Very exciting work!

    I have previously recommended Dean Radin’s “The Conscious Universe,” which gathers quite a bit of quantum-type (creditable) scientific research. Also McTaggart’s “The Field” and “The Intention Experiment” which detail some of the biological work.

    How do we defeat the plutocrats? By creating a coherent consciousness field that rejects them. We have the “computing power” (brains) to do it! As people begin to access true information through the Field, and ignore the false consciousness propagated by the plutocrats, they will squeeze the life out of the plutocrats. Thoughts can give life, and thoughts can kill–or transform.

    Hope springs eternal….


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Agreed to all, Benign! You know more physics that you gave yourself credit for. Even among physicists, non-locality, up to, actually, today, non locality is not popular.
      The “Multiverse” is indeed an attempt to sweep non-locality below the carpet… In vain: non locality is demonstrated, whereas the “Multiverse” is a logical contradiction.

      • Alexi Says:

        Patrice, I think you are incorrect when you say that the Multiverse is an attempt to sweep non-locality below the carpet. In fact, the Multiverse demands non-locality. Here a paper to help you along:

        “I show that observations of quantum nonlocality can be interpreted as purely local phenomena, provided one assumes that the cosmos is a multiverse. Conversely, the observation of quantum nonlocality can be interpreted as observation evidence for a multiverse cosmology, just as observation of the setting of the Sun can be interpreted as evidence for the Earth’s rotation.”


        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Very interesting, Alexi! I don’t know how you come up with all those published papers. It’s remarkable. Here is from the PDF:

          “At the instant of measurement in the Earth laboratory, the universe splits into two universes, one in which the
          spin is measured to be spin up, and the other in which the spin is measured to be spin down. Similarly, in the
          Andromeda laboratory, the universe splits into two universes, one in which the electron is measured to be be spin
          down, and the other in which the electron is measured to be spin down. The key point is that quantum mechanics
          forces these measurements to be perfectly correlated: the measured spins of the two electrons will always be in the
          opposite directions. This correlation between the laboratories has been transmitted from the Earth laboratory to
          the Andromeda at a speed slower than light. The correlation is just what is meant by \entangled state,” and the
          correlation is transmitted by the fact that the interaction of the observer on the electron is also quantum mechanical,
          and these linear, like all quantum mechanical interactions.”

          That’s, of course, insane.
          Let me say a word about Tipler. I actually (used to) know him a bit (let’s say casually). I stopped taking him seriously when he got into time travel.
          What has happen is that, by refusing to choose among the fundamental principles of physics, those celebrity physicists, some of them, threw the baby with the bath. When in doubt, follow Penrose (whom I also met, and drove around the Silicon Valley with).

          What is Tipler trying to say?

          First we don’t know how NON local non locality is. My answer: DARK MATTER.
          Tipler did not visit Andromeda yet (last I checked).

          Second we don’t know how many dimensions the universe has, let alone how they are generated, or what “space” is. My answer: NON LOCALITY.

          So my remark was deliberately provocative, just as Tipler is deliberately insane. Before you tell me I’m just as crazy, please notive I do not claim to know, as Tipler does, what happens at Andromeda.

          • Alexi Says:

            Maybe Tipler is insane, maybe not. My main point is that the theory of the multi-verse is not trying to sweep non-locality under the rug as you suggested. Indeed, the evidence in quantum mechanics for non-locality (and non-determinism) is what is driving scientist to conclude that there is a multi-verse.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Tipler is NOT insane. Just opportunist with the means he has. Time travel was fashionable 30 years ago (next to Kerr blackhole; I believe it not, as I don’t confuse time and geodesics).

              Multiverse sweeps nothing under the rug. If there is a problem, all possible solutions live in one universe, or another, and that’s it. I was perfectly aware that non locality requires even more multiverse than usual, and that’s exactly the argument Tipler is making. I view that as further madness, for him it’s holy revelation, alleluia!

              The initial reasoning for the “many world interpretation” was precisely that all solutions lived, one did not need to chose (Everett). The story of how that was viewed in the beginning was pretty telling (after a while it was viewed as so demented, Everett’s although Wheeler’s student, was driven out of physics, he had to work for the military! Multiverse has come back recently because like with slavery, or Nazism, a strong madness is over the land… ;-()

              The way you put it is strange, and requires to reverse history. Aside from singing like Bohr, what is the evidence for non determinism? Probabilities? But demographics, although probabilistic, is deterministic… 😉

  5. Richard Says:

    While searching for info on what MM and OB were up to I came across this headline at Politico: “YAHOO’S MARISSA MAYER HOSTS OBAMA FUNDRAISER — FIRST LADY JOINS CAMPAIGN FOR NIGERIAN GIRLS — ” My question is what do you or your commenters think about the book: Meeting the Universe Half Way by Karen Barad. It’s about 500 pages and in light of your extremely provocative blog I wondered if it’s worth plowing through. As always your ideas solidify and clarify, constellate if you will various disconnected ideas floating around in my mind in a way that is extremely eerie. Thanks much!

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hi Richard, and thanks for the compliments. Thanks also for mentioning that book and author, I was completely unaware of either. I looked vaguely at what seems her main ideas. “Agential realism” seems, well, is there any other sort of realism imaginable? Than through “agents”? She also seems to rehash the main Niels Bohr philosophy, the Copenhagen Interpretation.

      “Barad argues that Bohr’s interpretation of the experimental-theoretical nexus of quantum mechanics is crucial to understanding how observations and agencies of observation cannot be independent. ‘Agencies of observation’ are not liberal opinion-bearers, but situated entities made up of humans and non-humans in specific relationship. Reality is not independent of our explorations of it; and reality is not a matter of opinion, but of the material consequences of some cuts and not others made in the fabric of the world. As Barad reminds us, identities are always formed in intra-action. Ethical practices and consequences are intrinsic to the web. These issues are at the heart of debates about ‘constructivism,’ ‘realism,’ and the import of science studies, including feminist science studies, for configuring the nature of objective knowledge and the kinds of authorized actors in public worlds deeply shaped by science and technology.”—Donna Haraway

      OK, well there is good and bad there. As far as physics is concerned, it’s pretty bad, because it’s what I call the Prehistoric Approach. It assumes that reality depends upon human observation. That’s unfortunately all too true in social sciences (including economics)… But that’s precisely the error CI fell into, and it is also precisely what physics was supposed to be NOT a model of!

      As I said in replying to Alexi, about Tipler, it’s really bad practice for physicists to present as fact, what we truly don’t know (Matt Strassler is careful about that one now, in relation with the Big Bang!). Niels Bohr was a great physicists, but, to present as fact what he did not know was no example to follow…

      Barad’s book may have other qualities, god knows. I’m always suspicious when jargon comes first, though (“agential” realism)

      The Marissa Mayer-Obama circus has been a much better show, all those years. Celebrities feeding off each other, how cute. Beats ideas, any day. Funny how obvious all those things are… Meanwhile Musk, another good looking specimen, has lost some money, last quarter with Tesla, maybe Barack should fork some more cash over there?

  6. Nature Quantum Tunneling | Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] I have argued in “ULTRABIOLOGY”, the 2,500 year old notion of computing has become obsolete. It turns out that Nature is a […]

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