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Journal d'un nomade

Journal d'un nomade

Restless, shifting, fugacious as time itself is a certain vast bulk of the population of the red brick district of the lower West Side. Homeless, they have a hundred homes. They flit from furnished room to furnished room, transients forever - transients in abode, transients in heart and mind. They sing "Home, Sweet Home" in ragtime; they carry their lares et penates in a bandbox; their vine is entwined about a picture hat; a rubber plant is their fig tree. (O. Henry)

The miracle of Karma

The first virtual baby is born in Japan

"Seven decades ago, China and Japan were making war, now they are making love", commented ironically the AI (*) expert Max Trickbaum after he had read the amazing news coming from a barely known Chinese-Japanese AI laboratory in Fukuoka: The first virtual human baby is born! The "parents" of the baby are a real couple in their early thirties: Kayato Kimura and Huan Xin Zhong. He is Japanese, she is Chinese. They met on the campus of the University of Osaka. They have but one passion in life: the conversion of biological life into digital life.

It took them about 9 years to understand how the biological code (DNA) could be converted into a digital code. But even this was not enough to imitate nature. Life has two main characteristics: randomness and continuous change, like growth and aging. This change has but one direction. Physicists call it "the arrow of time". Hence, Kayato and Huan had to take this crucial information into account and make the artificial DNA code evolve and adapt to its environment. The task seemed impossible because they had to introduce a factor of randomness in linear software based on Laplace’s law of absolute predictability!

When the two researchers were overwhelmed by doubt and felt discouraged, they remembered Einstein’s famous words: "God is subtle but he is not malicious" and " The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility." Kayato and Huan needed an additional team of six biologists and six IT engineers to work together on the deciphering and imitation of human reproduction. At the end of 2008, the whole team jumped for joy and sang Pythagore’s legendary song: "Eureka! "

But the task was far from being finished. The couple had to provide the laboratory with a fresh-laid ovum and 200 million spermatozoa. Then the artificial reproduction could begin. A single sperm cell was "elected’ randomly by a special sorting machine. The next step was to collect the DNA data from the ovum and the sperm cell and mix them in a virtual mixer. This mixture would evolve "naturally" into a human foetus. The only difference between a biological and a digital baby is that the virtual foetus doesn’t grow in a womb but inside a super-calculator. Nevertheless, both of them need 9 months to be ready for their first cry.

The birth of Karma, a female baby, a few weeks ago in Fukuoka had been kept secret until yesterday. Kayato Kimura and Huan Xin Zhong are now the happiest parents in the world. Their “holographic” baby is in good shape, sleeps well and never wakes up or cries in the middle of the night. In addition to that, Karma needs no diapers and her clothes never get dirty. Although Karma could live without any food or drink, her mother insisted in breast-feeding her with her virtual milk. According to a trustworthy source, Karma inherited her brown eyes from her father but she looks rather like her mother. To protect their privacy, the couple didn’t disclose any picture of Karma. Journalists and paparazzi have to wait until Karma visits the kindergarten to steal a picture of her angelic face…

*) AI = Artificial Intelligence

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