28 October, 2014

New Cognitive Flow Diagram and the possible need for artificial minds to sleep.

The Simple Dynamic Cognition Cycle flow diagram above is topologically identical to this one:

I published with an earlier post on the Salience theory of dynamic cognition and consciousness but this one shows the multiple feedback lines from the salience node as all left facing. The only one that is right facing feeds to Action. 
This is important because it shows that Salience evaluations directly modulate Action while also bypassing action for continued Sensation, some times a prediction is incorrect and is bypassed for continued approximation of stored memory with new sensation in the Comparison node which takes feedback from salience itself (emotional and autonomic).
I posit that cognition (the mind) happens between Sensation and Salience nodes and some times bubbles up Action, the "self" and consciousness are emergent reflections of this sea of comparisons in real time.

When we sleep the outer red flow arrows from salience to action are minimally triggered but subconscious cognition can still continue as memories are recalled for continued sub sensory evaluation, after all memories are basically copies of incoming sensation stored to make predictions as modulated by salience (tagged with emotional and autonomic import ratings) so if the Action is not driven that doesn't mean that comparison and salience evaluation aren't still on going particularly since autonomic salience must continue to be monitored as the agent "sleeps".

In the mammalian brain sleep seems to be important for low level memory consolidation and organization activities that would be inefficient to do during the wake state (they'd mar cognitive performance for obvious reasons you would be adding new sensations while trying to consolidate old ones). It should be possible to create an artificial cognition that doesn't need sleep (or needs less of it) by allowing consolidation to happen in parallel using an independent computational engine from the one processing real time sensation.

I hypothesize that in a dynamic cognition that correctly mirrors biological cognitive flow if an attempt to consolidate memories is not made the efficiency of cognitive processes will steadily degrade over time this would be due to the over loading of action delta data in the early virtual neuron layers of the sensory comparison and storage stacks for each dimensional modality.
In a sequential neural network the rate at which new data is fed into the system for training is deterministic and fixed, once trained new evaluations happen independent of continuous training, but in a real cognitive agent one has no control over when sensory data is coming into the system and one must handle it in that moment...doing so re weights low level network layers and thus reducing the efficiency of all the cognitive dimensional comparison tasks associated with those layers. The ability to accurately make predictions goes down as this noise piles up in lower layers of the cognitive stack. 

So I posit that some kind of offline consolidation will be needed to push sensed memories deeper into the virtual neuron stack and thus allowing future predictions to be more accurate, assuming of course that the DCC above is the only valid control flow that can emerge "mind". A different control flow and implementing architecture may be able to forgo this need.

The fact that the control flow described above between the 4 nodes may be a sign that it is correct as it seems to replicate the need for an analog of sleep. Again this is the simple diagram, the complex diagram has some particularly important symmetries identified that define how the cognitive engine would precisely flow between the different sensory modalities...getting those flows correct from the salience node is critical to emerging cognition. I will not be publishing the complex flow as I plan on working to implement it over the next 10 years or so...the significance of the simple diagram is that it presents the key innovation of salience evaluation as a fundamental requirement of dynamic cognition while describing exactly where it goes in the cognitive flow diagram.

On evil AI and one type of "uploading"

The latest noise in the AIosphere particularly from the sector of people who call themselves  transhumanists is much shock and confusion over Elon Musk's statement at a recent MIT conference that he feels that AI done wrong could lead to an existential crisis. He said:

"“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out. “

If you've been reading my blog you know I've been sounding this alarm for at least 5 years but the opprobrium coming at Musk from transhumanists is particularly hilarious. Some are calling him a luddite and questioning his statement because in their view he doesn't know anything about AI (I'd listen to Elon before even considering views on the matter from yet another "futurist".)

Why I care about this subject...

In this article at H+ an anonymous author even goes so far as to compare Elon Musk to the Taliban!

To me all this is hilariously absurd, Elon Musk's comments have much wisdom behind their utterance. Over the last 5 years or so I've been researching and deeply thinking about machine learning, in my investigations it has been toward applying an extension to the Action Oriented Workflow paradigm I invented starting in 2003/4 to enable autonomous action routing.

I realized shortly after completing the implicit AOW algorithm in 2004/5 that I could conceivably make it an autonomous algorithm by having the Stages of action populated dynamically from a Users existing friend list rather than from a manually entered list of individuals. This would allow the possible agents to range dynamically over user time as Users add and remove contacts from their social connection graph.

I also realized I could extend the selection algorithm to include an efficient as well as the extant random selection process for agents from the contacts on the Users list, the efficient algorithm would work by applying a new idea called Action Delta Assessment (ADA) this would allow a history of performance of a given action to be stored and a grade generated for execution of that action for the requested type.

From manual to autonomous routing...

This delta would then be used in subsequent requests for action to compare in real time the agents under evaluation and determine based on their delta averages which agent should be routed the work.

At the time I had a great deal of knowledge about how animal brains use neurons connected together via synaptic junctions to do a very similar calculation and selection process across the various gaps in order to "fire" an action potential. The ADA algorithm would work like a distributed real time comparison with the "firing" being the selection of the most efficient agent under selection from a pool of available contacts currently being evaluated by the algorithm. I started building the implementation of the algorithm in 2011 but moved forward with thinking a bit deeper about how I could use this idea to go beyond simple action mapping and action routing. I wondered what were the seeds of the cognitive algorithm that allowed me to be able to think about these problems dynamically?

From pattern matching to dynamic cognition...

Around 2010 I questioned if emotion is something unique to animals with neo cortex as a tool for evaluating salience and questioned if they were superfluous.  I also later  wrote a first post on the importance of emotion to what I called the drive system, drive defines those involuntary pressures that guide our very action. The thirst for water, hunger for food, desire for sex or comfort are all drives. These of the autonomic sense. As well though and possibly even more important for mammalian minds the emotional signals are also drives which apply meaning to the underlying autonomic sense.

Anger, Joy, Sadness all set labels to our experiences which themselves are simply sensory information that we've previously stored and indicate to the recall system how important those events where when they occurred and if being compared to new experiences provide a guide for the importance of those new events. I called this modulation by emotional and autonomic signals salience evaluation and in 2011 wrote down a simple and complex dynamic cognition cycle.
This would later be fleshed out in 2013 to the Salience Theory of Dynamic Cognition and Consciousness  and I designed several state diagrams , the simple version published last year:

This state diagram I mulled releasing for several weeks as I feel it gives away the key to creating a dynamic cognitive artificial mind, that key being a triple feedback graph. 2 direct feedback paths from salience to sensation and comparison modules and 1 indirect feedback path through action to sensation. I asserted in the dynamic cognition theory that this configuration is the simplest required to emerge an ability to have dynamic cognition which is basically an inner world.

The inner world can be seen as the cycles between comparison and salience (which are constant) which are embedded within the cycles from sensation to comparison to salience and back to sensation.  The salience and comparison sub loop emerges hints that guide the cognition (and it's distributed representation in a body if it is built into a robot) toward "action" but action is not always the outcome of the evaluation and thus thought is the default heuristic, action is triggered only if salience factors in emotion and autonomics are high enough to trigger them.

How this is connected to AOW and ADA is understood when we realize that each sensory modality in the biological brain is processed by roughly identical layers of neurons...which via interaction between those layers fire off and store action potentials it was clear to me that ADA was modeling this process very closely because I designed it to do so but it come me to think that if it is true that the brain works in a similar fashion then certain fundamental truths about the mind could be made.

Only one kind of "upload" possible

First, since the ability to think is stored in action potentials our thinking is really an illusion of continuous comparison to salience after experiencing sensation. We are constantly context switching in our minds in this way and that is what defines our thoughts...our self.

Second, if that cognitive process was dependent on the connections the salience values associated with stored experience then the mind is inextricably linked to the substrate. This is where the idea of mind loading again enters the picture.

Many transhumanists would like to think that "they" could have their minds copied into a suitable substrate of artificial means (likely possible at some point but not now) but semantics are important. In their view "copy" means that their current sense of self would actually be *moved* to the new substrate, a copy implies that the original remains intact after the action...a move eliminates the original while transferring it to the new substrate.

If it is true that our self is bound to our connections on our substrate than even if we could do a connection by connection reproduction on another substrate we would only be succeeding in copying and not moving the mind.

This means bad news for those who think they can be uploaded. In their conception "they" will shift over to a new artificial body that won't die and can be readily upgraded or replaces but the original biological mind I assert is forever stuck on the biology. There is no move possible only a copy.

However there may be one remaining trick...it may be possible to perform an in place move, imagine an advanced technology that can at a molecular level replace our neurons and their connections with non biological elements and do so one at a time...it would succeed in slowly changing us from biology to non biology and if efficient enough should not change the nature of the mind appreciably this in place move is the only type of "upload" that I assert is possible. Any other form that copies does exactly that...it creates two new consciousnesses one the original and the other a copy of the original on the artificial substrate...since you will very much still be the original you'd better not destroy it or you'd be destroying yourself!

So why worry about AI?

My concerns with regard to AI stem from truly understanding what the dynamic cognition cycle and the importance of salience to consciousness shows us, we know very little to nothing about exactly how emotion and autonomic modulation work. Recent work in neuroscience last year provided tantalizing hints that indeed there is an emotional code that tags experiences in real time to make predictions ...exactly as I've hypothesized but it is a first early result and no ties to autonomic modulation or dynamic cognition and consciousness have been theorized. This is where the worry comes in...it would seem that if we don't get emotion right we can easily emerge conscious entities that are pathological or simply don't have our best interests at heart.

The cognitive landscape is broad...we can look across the animal kingdom and see a rainbow of distinctive cognitive patterns from those of canines to those of felines to those of rats and mice to those of birds and primates the variance across species in how their minds dynamically evolve is one space but the emotional space is an even greater landscape that we have no idea how to control once we are building AI's that we wish to exhibit animal like awareness. If we then give these artificial cognition engines access to physical bodies we risk their going rogue. Musk's warning there for is a prescient one...he didn't have concrete reasons for expressing it...mostly his fears but my work has shown that those fears have every good reason to be had given the immature state of our understand of the importance of salience modulation to creating stable cognition.

That said, though I am worried about pathological artificial minds emerging I am not so worried that they will take over the world for that to happen they will have to be granted controlling access to the world, keeping them in sandboxes of development will be a default necessity, beyond that restricting their interaction with the physical world will be compulsory as we emerge them from substrate and then hopefully give them reasons to relate to us.



05 October, 2014


The Fermi Paradox has been a puzzling question for 50 years now and many answers have been given as to why it is that it seems that we are alone in the silence of a Galaxy teeming with not just stars but stars with billion of planets that can support life like our own.

In the past I've explained that the likely possibility is that we are one of a few species evolved sufficiently in intelligence to be able to ponder and soon engage the task of physically leaving our solar system. A great filter exists which has made it incredibly difficult for life forms to evolve to our present level until this time in galactic history. This idea mirrors the Universal concept of anthropomorphism which states that we exist at all because if the Universal constants were any different we simply wouldn't and that there is no actual "fine tuning" to the Universe. I propose the same is true about Galactic evolution and that we may be among the first set of civilizations that have survived long enough to actually figure out ways to leave our home planet. Later, I proposed the idea of a Fermi Silence  as a means of explaining why any of the current civilizations in the galaxy that may be at our level may not be aware of one another potentially due to the differing nature of their communications technologies.

Yet here we are steeped in silence, the results of the Kepler Exoplanet survey has provided us an embarrassment of riches in terms of data on the likely percentages and types of systems that exist in our galaxy and the results show clearly that there are likely hundreds of billions of planets that are suitable to support our kind of life forms...not just human life forms but various forms of life.

The interesting question of evolution of life in the Galaxy often assumes that different systems would likely emerge and evolve life forms along convergent traits but this assumes that the probability of starting life is high enough that across a couple hundred billion experiments more than one positive outcome could emerge....even with 13 billion years of trial time across systems in the Galaxy. What if this is it and we are indeed the first system with any complex life above bacteria??

Another intriguing possibility about the future is that our imprint on the Galaxy will be not just to explore it but maybe to seed it with not just our species but advanced genetically modified versions of many of our home planet species.

There is no reason to think that once we can perform interstellar travel that we would be doing so as "human 1.0" especially given the radical advances we have achieved just in the last few years of being able to fundamentally adjust our biology to suit our desires. The recent invention of technologies for in vivo genetic modification (CrispR- Cas9) will be more than just a boon for cosmetic and genetic repair...they will also allow targeted upgrades to our physiology. I told some hypothetical stories along these lines in my articles on the life of Afusa O'Reilly, but Afusa being a super mortal is still fundamentally human...what happens when we upgrade the genetics of other animals?

A recent article proposes this as an ethical question but when we are out exploring the galaxy a likely strategy for ensuring that life (regardless of type) persists would be to engineer from all of the animal kingdom super intelligent strains that may find a larger percentage of discovered exoplanet viable and leave them to seed the planet with "dna" baring life even if it isn't human life.

One could imagine what would result in deep time as evolution continues to evolve these seeded species across the spectrum of animal forms on these far flung systems? They may end up evolving into locally adapted and superior species, they will become dominant species and may if they avoid the same mistakes as we will also emerge technology and leave their systems to discover life out there...only to find that there is a common origin...by then lost to time, our original species long evolved away to other forms or entirely extinct....yet our gift to populate the Galaxy with varied forms of intelligent animals that evolved into superior intelligence replaying the cycle of our search Eons before.

I find this idea that we, humanity are the pioneers of the spread of life in a trans planetary exo spermia of our constitutive elements...not unlike what was used as a premise in the recent Alien prequel "Prometheus". Are we the first "Engineers" of our galaxy?

14 September, 2014

iPSC: Embryonic "base class" generation method found.

In another ground breaking advance to the science of stem cell pluripotent modification a team of researchers has succeeded in inducing a cell to change into the earliest known embryonic state.

This is great news as it is exactly what would need to be possible so that full comparative analysis between different cell lines induced into creation can be had. Comparative analysis will then enable the key genes that differentiate different stem cell types for different tissues to be genetically characterized and once that happens the ability to point genetically shift cells from type to type (even post differentiation) will be possible.

This is a hugely important feat because it isolates an ability to identify from the zoo of genes the specific pathway expressions that crystalize the cells that constitute living organisms and enable their macroscopic functions.

The sequencing of any given genome gives one a book filled with words but no chapter titles or division labels. All the words being mashed together, such a book would be extremely difficult to read and more over extremely difficult to index.

When the humane genome project succeeded in 2000 it enabled us to understand what the words in the book were but it didn't give us the ability to understand where particular passages (expression instructions for various tissues and organs) and it didn't give us the ability to index to those locations so that we can read them.

In computing there is a direct analog, in object oriented programming classes of related code functions are created into modules and these modules are then extended in various ways to create new classes (subclasses). The biological model of stem cells works exactly the same way. The father of OO Alan Kay, may have been only partially influenced by the ideas of object orientation in biology as when he invented the concept biology and genetics were a brand new very primitive area but the common energy conservative methods in the two domains linked them in an interesting way. Collecting functions into chapters (cells) of various type and then managing how those cells develop over time in other instructions is a highly efficient means of storing and recalling pathway information to process the life cycle of a living organism. iPSC allows geneticists and molecular biologists to do with genetic code what computer programmers have been doing with binary code for several decades. This is one reason for my interest and excitement in these developments. This latest research seems to indicate that the "base class" or the super class as it is called in some OO languages for generating cells of different type has been found and thus making the way for extremely efficient comparative analysis that will unlock the mystery of development across a host of tissues and their associated disease and non disease states.

The revolution of iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cells) in 2007 set the stage for possibly reducing the computational cost of figuring out what the genetic code was saying, deciphering in other words how the code is organized into chapters and sections that describe the functional differentiation of various cell types, of the combination of those cell types into organs , of the execution of those processes into developmental cycles and growth cycles...in short the evolution of the life cycle of a living organism as described by the genetic sequence.

iPSC thus stands as a way to radically reduce the complexity of figuring out how the genetic code maps out to end tissues , organs and functions and that would speed the rate at which key areas are isolated , disease states in them are identified and thanks to the emergence of another revolution the gene editing methods of CrispR - Cas 9 be able to make in vivo genetic modifications in real time.

I've been writing about these trends for several years now and predicted the importance of comparative analysis to unlocking the full secrets of genetic sequences, in combination with the rapidly falling rate of sequencing whole genomes and even specific disease state genomes iPSC enabled diagnostics of tissue and cell lines will rapidly emerge an industry of exploration of all types of pathways for the eradication of disease states or the radical modification of existing states to effect changes as desired. I predicted these in a post from 2009 on the hypothetical life of Afusa O'Reilly but the future I prognosticated is coming to pass even at a more liberal pace than I'd originally predicted.

So what's next?

As this new technique is unleashed in the lab it will make it far easier for researchers to gain the comparative genetic expression pathways they need to make changes and understand disease states and that will lead to a massive industry of custom genetic adaptation. I've written on the idea of a "cosmecutical" industry to emerge from this very type of technology as the low hanging fruit that those looking to make money will pursue and that is what is on the plate now that these advanced diagnostic techniques are now feasible. Expect the next 10 years to mirror very closely the rapid rate of development of the software industry that we saw from the mid 70's to the mid 80's as the cost of the tools to generate computer code were rapidly falling and thus bringing what was a rare skill into the hands of suburban children who then in all their variety created the flowering of software that can be run on many types of computing devices world wide.

The biological analog will be the flowering of genetical modifications that we can perform to ourselves and other animal lines as well as even more advanced capabilities that couple synthetic biology to create entirely novel forms of life.

I remain skeptical as to weather or not our (humanity) maturity to handle the great power we are now on the verge of wielding is great enough, in many ways this technology is far more potentially devastating than any nuclear bomb because of the wide availability they will have and the power they can relatively be made to unleash, it is only by quickening the pace of education across all fronts of human knowledge , particularly the reduction of the zeal associated with dogmatic belief systems that we can evade great discord as these technologies are unleashed on a global scale...in the same way that computer programming was unleashed in the mid 80's.


http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2008/10/travel-in-genetically-enhanced-future.html (A hypothetical story of a super human on his way to a nearby star system)

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2009/09/coming-pathogenic-relief-impulse.html (I long arc on why the technology would lead to a sudden fall in mortality and lethality across pathogen enabled diseases, I also forecast the invitro meat industry)

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-many-cofactors-for-inducing.html  (I predict a minimal set of operative cofactors for inducing pluripotency of all cell types and include the nanog gene that was used in this new research in that set)

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-future-is-not-you-choose-travel-in.html (Afusa's life (he's now over 300 years old) continues on...his genetic gifts still providing him more life and more happiness)

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2010/06/technology-will-it-kill-before-it-saves.html  (A forecast of the most dangerous aspect of this technology the fact that it may lead to our end even as it promises us endless life.)

http://sent2null.blogspot.com/2010/07/accident-view-into-future-of-organ.html (Mira Chu , a hypothetical researcher has an accident...in this post I detail how these technologies will give rise to Organ Insurance banks and a thriving industry.)

11 September, 2014

Illusion of continuity: consciousness vs quantum electro dynamics

You know one thing I've been thinking about in the last few days....

It is of the solution that Feynman came up with for describing quantum electrodynamics and resolving a whole host of problems which up to that time were intractable.

The integration of renormalization into the theory and the first class representation of histories of evolution for particle dynamics that spanned the present the future and the past in the wave function description.

I asserted a few days ago that so far as enabling the mathematical resolution there is no proof that any real particles can travel backward in time...some mathematical tools are just that and despite being useful should never be expected to be "realized".

A good example of this from mathematics and engineering is the complex plane and the astonishing landscape of possibility it opened up. What is "i" ??

In the same way that a particles history can be seen as a present position that emerged from an infinite set of possible past histories.... consciousness seems to emerge from an infinite set of probable bit past states of the constitutive cells of the brain....the neurons and glial cells that store memory in some way.

So I see a parallel in here.... consciousness seems like a real thing but it is really an emergent concept that we have misused as a tool for describing how state changes between memory configurations evolve over time....just as quantum electro dynamics is a tool that describes how particle states change over "time" where looking at it as a continuum helps make problems tractable but in reality it is not a continuum at all.

Looking at consciousness as a continuum (we sort of can't help it) was the default state with consciousness but it wa something that had to be actively pushed into the mathematics (by Feynman) where it came to particle histories!

As for Time.... it's just a ratio of state changes between matter baring particles...mediated by energy exchange (this is clearly defined in the second heisenberg uncertainty relation)....I suspect that some important phenomena are misunderstood because tools are being mistaken for aspects of the phenomena under consideration and ability to describe the phenomena accurately is thus being lost in the process.

To me consciousness was always obviously emergent and NOT continuous...the last 5 years of my research have pretty much convinced me that it is (hence my certainty that it will be reproduced on non biological strata fairly soon) especially given the results coming out of neuroscience on how the brain is self connected....I find the similarity though to quantum electro dynamics and the similar confusion over what a wave function is and weather or not particle histories can truly continuously move from "the future" to the "past" very intriguing in that context.







04 September, 2014

Big Business: Where Innovation goes to starve.

A recent medium post contained the following quote:

"I promise you, my reaction to the project’s cancelation wasn’t “Too bad, let me find my next longshot!” It was more like grief that a year of my life had been wasted, guilt that I’d wasted the efforts of my team, fear of reputation damage, and determination to work on something next time that would actually matter.

As individuals, we have no portfolio strategy — so those 10% odds are no longer palatable. When we fail, most rational people respond by trying to avoid dumb ideas and pick smart bets with clear impact the next time. People who happen to have a hit in their first few tries are even more vulnerable to the belief that they have to succeed every time (and take it harder when subsequent failures inevitably occur.) And that’s it — the dead-end for innovation.

I’ve met a few people who don’t seem to have this reaction (serial entrepreneurs every one of them) and I can’t tell you what makes them react differently or how to learn to be that way. But I do know there aren’t enough of them out there to hire your team exclusively from their ranks."

--- Another factor that ties into this feeling of personal failure and the desire to avoid risk and failure of that sort ever again in the enterprise or in the start up is the social expression of the risk and failure that *each* individual expresses into the organization.

This projection is deadly to an environment where innovation can foster *especially* when people who still imagine success in risky bets are hired. This then means that not only does the past failing impact the individuals in the organization it leaves a sticky social residue that retards innovation on the part of any one new that comes in with genuinely good ideas as they face all manner of systemic push back for their grand ambitions...after all every one there is licking some wound...they've all battened down the hatches and are not going to let any one sink their ship....again.

This is a major reason why I felt a dozen years ago that the social glue (our org chart levels of control) that we use to orchestrate the building of products and services is a huge drain on the very process by these forces that retard against doing anything that sticks the individuals neck out or a teams neck out, or a divisions neck out ...or by multiplication of effect the companies neck out.

I reasoned that there should be a way to minimize the impact of risk averse agents in the organization to let innovative ideas bubble up by merit despite their risk and be subject to experimentation that can have them take root. However real businesses that don't use this system I imagined (what would eventually be the Action Oriented Workflow paradigm) are still stuck with risk averse employees and environments that choke out the innovative new hires.

So what happens?

People with innovative ideas can go to work for large companies, they get the ah ha moment...they share it with the status quo in the organization ...who all look at the dreamer like they are crazy because of their past failures trying disruptive things and the fear of the social ramifications the organization could bring down if they fail again. The dreamer either keeps trying to rage against the machine and gets excommunicated, admonished or fired and the status quo continues on it's safe route (and thus the company becomes vulnerable to disruptive startups doing exactly what the innovative employee was suggesting).

Meanwhile the employee becomes increasingly despondent...and leaves the company for greener (read: more innovation friendly) pastures OR to go start their own company doing what they imagined.

It's not that large companies don't know how to do innovation, large companies forget how on purpose and actively starve....by their social hierarchies of control, any new efforts to be innovative!

This latter story has strong resonance with me as it closely matches what I did after I was laid off from TheStreet.com. I'd suggested a radical approach to designing the CMS that would make it impervious to the amazing amounts of instability we were seeing at the time. I had already proven the concept by redesigning the entire ad management application using a subset of the approach I was suggesting and it was working perfectly..I brought my idea as a proposal to the CTO and was told that there was no desire to monetize the platform at that time.

Fine, I figured at that moment that I'd build the framework I imagined myself...it wasn't until a year later that I got started, the week that I couldn't go to work after the 9/11 attack on Monday September 17, 2001. I started working on an important collection class in the AgilEntity framework....and by doing so began my discovery and exploration of the action landscape and creating the technological base for a future emancipated workforce.

Article originally posted at LinkedIn

27 August, 2014

The death of the drug deal is nigh

These type of discoveries in a subtle way describe the long game on why the idea of drug prohibition is as extinct as the dodo.

You won't have to traverse dark alley ways to buy impure product trafficked from far away lands. Instead you will sit in your basement bio lab with elemental components and code together the necessary little functionality that you wish to have your host of living beasties produce for you. From heroine to vanilla, oil to alcohol.... when every one can bio synthesize what ever they want from scratch ...what need for outside suppliers?

Drug dealing will go extinct  and in it's
place will spring up a wide industry where templates for production of all kinds of inebriating or mind dulling agents will emerge....the same way maker 3D files are shared online for use in 3D printers...or modeling files are shared for rendering CGI.

As people will be able to clandestinely supply their own drugs the risk of trying to buy them illegally doesn't have to be taken nor will there be a desire to deal as you would simply share your biobug blueprints with who ever asks so that they can create their own living factories of what ever wonder their little minds can code up.

Decriminalizing all manner of drugs today has seen strong positive results in all the places it has been tried without exception. The correct path is to enable people to get access to the vice of their addiction so long as it is safe and clean and then treat their addiction. It works for alcohol...it works for cigarettes and it will work for all the other drugs (even heroine!!) and beyond the fact that this is the best way to deal with the drug underworld is the fact that soon there will be no way to stop drug production at the grass roots level once people are coding and creating their own biobugs that can make them for them.