Computational Life and Industrial Design Erode the Boundaries of Our Being – Synthetic Pretenders Part 7

This is the seventh installment in the Synthetic Pretenders series examining the proposed CaliforniaTrust Framework within the context of synthetic biology, eugenics, and the Spanish mission system. 

Part One: Scientific Management, Robo-Bees, and Digital Babies

Part Two: Apocalypse, Mind Files, and Interplanetary Promises

Part Three: The “Magic” of Radio-Eugenics and Holographic Twins

Part Four: Ritual Gaming and Berggruen’s Transformation of the Human

(Follow-Up Interview with Leo Saraceno, Silicon Icarus’ 53 Degree Podcast)

Part Five: Elite Views on Automated Law and Vending Machine Democracy

Part Six: Reject Scientific Management, Celebrate “Weeds”

Source: Google Maps Berkeley

The office for the “Transformations of the Human” (TofTH) initiative is 2225 Fifth Street, a few miles from downtown Berkeley and about three blocks north of a 46-acre Bayer campus being upgraded for cutting edge biopharmaceutical research.

Stanford and Berkeley along with UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, and Caltech host five of the fifteen research centers funded by the Kavli Science Foundation based in Oxnard, CA in Ventura County north of Robert Hertzberg’s district. In 2008, the Kavli Foundation began awarding prizes for research into astrophysics, neuroscience, and nanoscience. As seen in its logo, Metatron’s Cube and the Flower of Life, the organization is interested emerging technologies that can be leveraged to understand and engineer slices of existence across all sectors of the universe – as above, so below.

Kavli Nano Energy Science UC Berkeley

Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology Stanford

Kavli Center for Theoretical Physics UC Santa Barbara

Kavli Nano-science Institute Caltech 2003

Kavli Institute for the Brain and Mind UC San Diego

Source: Kavli Foundation homepage, note geometry and logo (no sound)

Fred Kavli was a Norwegian immigrant whose father had spent time in the Bay area as a young man. Fred started out as an engineer working on cybernetic feedback systems for Atlas missiles, set up his own company in Los Angeles, and made a fortune developing sensor technologies during the Cold War for defense and automotive applications. Major Kavli clients included NASA, GE, and Ford. In his later years Kavli was a trustee of UC Santa Barbara, which sponsors research into nanotechnology, gamification, brain science, emotion, and theoretical physics. The Kavli Center for Theoretical Physics has brought together thousands of physicists from all over the world to collaborate on interdisciplinary projects since 1979.

Source: UC Santa Barbara research map

Gabriel Coren, a recently minted-PhD in anthropology from UC Berkeley who co-directs h. Earth at Transformations of the Human (TofTH), aims to break down conceptual barriers between living and non-living materials through investigations into bio-geo-chemistry and novel forms of matter. He spins a story in this clip from a February 2021 lecture that positions synthetic biology as a preferred “natural” alternative to harmful petrochemical industries.

Source: Biotech from a h. Earth Point of View

In the lecture, Coren lays out planned partnerships with three California companies: Twist Bioscience, artificial DNA for specialty chemical compounds; MycoWorks, fungal-based materials; and Antheia, bio-inspired medicine. We are meant to envision a future where mechanized industrial-era technologies are replaced by engineered biological systems. The climate narrative is being used to shift public acceptance towards bio-reactor fabrication and nanotechnological products that center “local production” and assert their “greenness” through claims of biomimicry.

Coren also speaks of a project featuring TofTH fellow and Harvard comparative literature PhD Nina Begus who holds a postdoc position at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Eoin Brodie lab. Brodie’s research centers the dynamics of biogeochemistry with a particular emphasis on climate change.

In the spring of 2022, Brodie and the US Department of Energy broke ground on BioEpic (Biological and Environmental Program Integration Center), a unique 77,000 square foot facility that will co-locate researchers in biosciences and earth sciences to examine the activities of microbial communities. All this work is unfolding against the backdrop of emerging technologies. Remember, the US Department of Energy is an active partner in the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s Moonshot Project where Goal 1 is Cyborg Avatar Life / Society 5.0 by 2050.

Source: Carnegie Endowment for Peace – Examples of US-Japan Science Collaboration: High Energy Density Science and AI

A 2021 paper in Nature Nanotechnology, “Bioelectrical Control Of A Microbial Community Using Surface-assembled Electrogenetic Cells to Route Signals,” discusses the development of BioLAN where bioelectronics interface with living cells plugged into external electronics systems that regulate biological function in real time. The research, which was done with the support of the Army and Naval Research Laboratories, uses free-floating planktonic bacteria to interpret the signaling.

Pivot Bio has developed a “biological fertilizer,” PROVEN, that uses genetically modified KV137 bacteria that can have their genetic content selectively “turned on” to enhance nitrogen-fixing capacity in the cultivation of cereal and corn crops. Because of the expense and energy involved in manufacturing traditional fertilizers, it is easy to imagine these bio-electric synthetic biology “solutions” being used as social impact cost offsets for UN Sustainable Development Goal 2, Hunger. Trials of this technology expanded from 250,000 acres of corn in 2020 to millions of acres in 2021. These developments will be positioned as “organic,” natural, and pro-biotic. This is narrative warfare, the battle for our minds. They need for us to accept that BioLANs created by military interests are the new form that life will take. We don’t have to agree with that story.

I was unsettled to discover years ago that the Gates Foundation had developed implantable remote-control birth control with scientists at MIT, but this is a whole other level of intervention. It is difficult to fathom how the scientists developing these “solutions” are not aware of their potential to be weaponized against every being on this planet from microbe to elephant.

The people featured in the BioEpic ground-breaking photo provide insight into the scope of the work now underway.

Source: Groundbreaking for BioEpic with Susan Hubbard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Trent Northern, DOE Joint Genome Institute; Peter Nico, Berkeley Lab geologic science; Margaret Torn, climate and ecosystem sciences Berkeley Lab; Paul Adams, bioimaging, crystallography, and macromolecular structure design; and  Adam Arkin, Arkin Labs Bioengineering / ENIGMA Program assessing microbial communities in Oak Ridge Lab’s radiologically damaged watershed.

Adam Arkin’s interests range from biomedicine to bioremediation to bioenergy to space. His faculty profile says the purpose of the Arkin Lab at Berkeley is to:

 “…uncover the evolutionary design principles of cellular networks and populations and exploit them for applications. To do so they are developing a framework to effectively combine comparative functional genomics, quantitative measurement of cellular dynamics, biophysical modelling of cellular networks, and cellular circuit design to ultimately facilitate applications in health, the environment, and bioenergy.”

Note the choice of the word “exploit.” This pattern of domination is shown clearly in a January 2021 paper, “Sensing the Future of Bioinformational Engineering,” published by three scientists from Macquarie University in New South Wales in Nature Communications journal. I think it’s worth spending some time with it in order to grasp the head space in which these mad scientists are operating. The three Australian co-authors aspire to a future dominated by cyber-physical systems where the distinction between living beings and machines is no longer relevant. The boundaries of our thoughts and physiology are meant to become totally permeable, able to be joined and disconnected with other information substrates depending on circumstance.

Source: Internet of Nanothings and Bio-nanothings, Ian Akyildiz, Georgia Tech

The idea is that in the not-too-distant future the biochemical information storage systems of living beings will be remade to communicate with electrically engineered systems through redox, ionic currents, and electromagnetic radiation, including various forms of communication through light. Upon reflection, I can see that this the premise of bio-digital convergent communication was illustrated in the above slide from Ian Akyildiz’s 2017 depiction of telepathy-enabled “internet of everything life.

“Biological devices are being reimagined as advanced cyber-physical systems through their integration with digital and mechanical length scales. Engineering biology is moving beyond mechanical biomimicry, and next-generation biological devices are beginning to make use of life’s multi-scale information architectures. We use the term multi-scale here to describe the integration of different engineering length scales (10x metres) into one design and solution. This perspective is primarily focused on the opportunities and challenges arising from engineering across length scales that bootstrap biological functionality – that is, electrical, chemical, and optical scales of existence. We call this bio-informational engineering, because biological devices are finely tuned sensor arrays optimized for translating non-traditional information into the digital world. Importantly, we anticipate that the global research and development response to the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate the advance of bio-information engineering across the coming years.”

The paper goes on to state there is a need for standardization in modular biosensor architecture to better manage input and output communications. Biosensors translate biological data into a digital format to enable bi-directional communication. Light is an area of intense investigation for facilitating this communication through photo-regulated protein coding and CRISPR. Poke around and see what you uncover when you search for “bio-photonic communication” and “photonic edge computing.” I think we must give careful consideration to possible intersections of remote monitoring of healthy people through wearables and in vivo deployment of nano-sensors, bio-photonic communications, edge computing, and alternative energy generation, storage, and accounting on blockchain.

In order for this new quantum internet of everything to function as imagined, the transmission rates of data need to be far beyond our current technologies. It is the need for speed and the immense scope of ubiquitous computing, the takeover of natural bioelectrical systems, that is driving the shift from the age of electrons to the age of photons. The authors mention Voight Lab as a leader in the synthetic biology programming needed to adapt biology so that is can interface with electrical engineering. Voight Lab is an initiative of the MIT-Broad Foundry, funded by LA-based housing and insurance billionaire Eli Broad who is also active in predatory philanthropy targeting education privatization and ed-tech and served on Berggruen’s California Blueprint committee in 2011.

Before arriving at MIT, lab director Christopher Voigt earned his PhD in biophysics at Caltech, did post-doc work at UC Berkeley, and was a professor at UC San Francisco. He helped develop Cello, automated circuit design in cells for use in therapeutics and “other applications.” Cello 2.0 expanded the function beyond Escherichia coli plasmids to “new organisms and other genetic context, including the genome.” Voigt’s research uses biotechnology to scale systems of manufacture where the cellular processes of host organisms like yeast can be reengineered to produce desired industrial products like synthetic spider silk. Ginkgo BioWorks, spun out of MIT in 2008, is an example of this frontier in biological design. The company currently has a contract to carry out K12 Covid testing in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Health through its subsidiary Concentric. Again, note the rainbow coloring and wave patterns used in the branding – optics / photonics.

Source: Ginkgo Bioworks Concentric

According to a feature on the company in a 2009 MIT Technology Review article:

“Synthetic biology is the quest to systematically design and build novel organisms that perform useful functions, such as producing chemicals, using genetic engineering tools. The field is often considered the next step beyond metabolic engineering, because it aims to completely overhaul existing systems to create new functionality rather than improve an existing process with a number of genetic tweaks.”

Once you cross the line from using bioengineering to address serious health issues and begin to use it for in vivo industrial processes, you are dealing with eugenics masquerading as some sort of Soylent green future that is anything but sustainable. It’s not just human lives at risk, it’s the molecular make-up of everything on the planet. The whole spectacle is a sale pitch for the unbelievable, and the quote shows the degree to which the full spectrum dominance of synthetic biology agenda depends on public acceptance.

“Anti-vaccination sentiment could be a forerunner for oppositional sentiment to multiscale bio-informational monitoring via environmental surveillance systems and the IoBT. It will be critical from the outset that governments communicate the value of these programs in ways that bring all publics along. The impact on biofoundaries and next-generation biomanufacturing platforms arising from poorly executed science and public health communication is likely to be acute.”

Battalions of public health enforcers and behavioral psychologists have been summoned to create a narrative framework that will attempt to pin us down and force us to give in to their post-human nightmare. Six weeks after the “pandemic” was announced forty-two academics had already signed on as co-authors of this paper published in Nature Human Behavior, “Using Social and Behavioral Science to Support COVID-19 Pandemic Response.”

Many of the institutions represented are leaders in the fields of impact investing and artificial intelligence/machine learning. Among the authors was Cass Sunstein who, along with University of Chicago’s Richard Thaler, practically created the field of nudging. The techniques described may count as “scientific,” but they are incredibly manipulative and demonstrate how professionals are used to advance the interests of power. The paper goes so far as to assert the efficacy of “pre-bunking,” where people are exposed to weakened versions of persuasive arguments, like inoculations, in order to get their senses accustomed to the desired mindset. It’s incredible and shows that we are in a pitched battle for hearts and minds in this arena of the Internet of Bodies masquerading as public “health.”

Source: Using Social and Behavioral Science to Support Covid-19 Pandemic Response

Does the yeast have the right to NOT be remade as a bioreactor? If lower beings are subject to this synthetic predation what assurances can be made that humans will not be re-made as bioreactors to produce alternative energy products and nano-materials, too? It seems to me a line has been crossed over the past two years as rights to bodily autonomy have been strategically undermined.

These developments raise serious ethical issues, especially in light of our eugenics history.

  1. Who gets to determine what an optimal life form is?
  2. Will we allow companies poised to reap profit from assertions of our feebleness decide?
  3. Will we cede boundaries between our own biology and demands for collective computation?
  4. Should living beings have the right to live the lives they choose?
  5. Or must they submit to a full bio-chemical overhaul whenever the bio-economy demands it?

Organic technology is the next big thing. Scientists at the University of Cincinnati are working on adapting biological DNA (not artificial) into optical materials for photonics, LEDs and lasers. We are supposed to embrace such developments in nano-biotechnology unquestioningly, because they are framed as a counterpoint to legacies of chemical poisoning of people and the environment.

We are not meant to notice we’ve embarked on a bullet train hurtling towards full spectrum dominance of natural life masquerading as saving the planet through bio-informational engineering. Richard Jefferson’s hologenomic theory of microbial interdependence is merging with industrialized synthetic biology fabrication, automated bioreactors, terminator genes, and social impact metrics. It is a Lamarckian organismic outlook harnessed to social efficiency, and militarized debt finance with children and the natural world caught in the crosshairs.

Most adults are either professionals who have been coopted into the predominant narrative, are struggling to make it from one day to the next, or are wandering around in some tangential storyline that has no real relevance to this unfolding immanent disaster. To the mad scientists we are just so much molecular raw material, playthings without souls lacking the sacred touch of the divine. Hyper-materialism has brought us to this degraded place. We need to join together and find the string that will walk us back out of the Minotaur’s maze.

For me the feature image for Adam Arkin’s lab at UC Berkeley tells the story. Voigt, as it turns out, was a student of Arkin’s at Berkeley. The lab affiliates in the feature image wear matching black t-shirts with cybernetic representations of trees like a cloned silicon forest of hybridized “life.” Sponsors of his Berkeley lab, beyond the US Department of Energy, include NASA, DARPA, the NSF, the Innovative Genomics Institute and qb3. The latter is one of a constellation of institutes set up to advance California’s bio-economy and life sciences research with seed funding and accelerator space. The program was initiated in 2000 by then governor Gray Davis, who went on to serve on Berggruen’s California Blueprint task force in 2011.

As someone pointed out to me, the technologists worship not at the tree of life, but rather the tree of knowledge. They’re planning a world of Merkle trees, a synthetic nature with lots of magenta and very little green.

Source: Arkin Lab Twitter

6 thoughts on “Computational Life and Industrial Design Erode the Boundaries of Our Being – Synthetic Pretenders Part 7

  1. Jeffrey+Strahl says:

    “The office for the “Transformations of the Human” (TofTH) initiative is 2225 Fifth Street, a few miles from downtown Berkeley and about three blocks north of a 46-acre Bayer campus being upgraded for cutting edge biopharmaceutical research.” This is about a mile west of my place, near Strawberry Creek Park. It’s called “bringing it home.” Thanks, Alison, we in Berkeley are the last to know about these things, though we have been hearing about the big expansion of bio-tech facilities in west Berkeley.

  2. Jeffrey Strahl says:

    This notion crossed my mind last night. What if all the vaunted “bio-weapons” labs which so much of the resistance seems completely engrossed by (because they fit the line of the resistance “establishment,” i.e. the celebrities) are actually researching bio-electronics and means of social control?

  3. Amy Harlib – 60-something artist/performer/writer/polymath/politically progressive/culture vulture.
    Amy Harlib says:


  4. Guido
    Guido says:

    Sigh, That was sure a bit of reading, to get through from part 1 to Part 7 and for some reason I am now feeling a little melancholy, … like I want to run away and live in a cave somewhere. I feel like that should be humorous, but oddly, it seems like more of a serious thought.

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