Friday, 22 November 2013

Doctor Who and Transhumanism... . And why The Doctor is the ideal we should strive for.

       Today marks the Day of Doctor 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, the longest running science fiction show and the best show ever in the history of mankind.  I like superheroes films but The Doctor is completely another level of hero. While other superheroes resort to their superpowers, which are just glorified form of brute force and violence, in order to save a city or the earth, The Doctor simply uses his intelligence to save  not just the earth, but the planets and the solar systems, or even the entire universe from time to time, rebooting it when necessary. Best of all he did it without the use of any fire-power, he even refuse to hold any kind of weaponry in all of 50 years. It is not just about the good defeating the evil, the important thing is how it is done. Do we want our children to believe that the only way to defeat a bad super monster is to counter with a more badass power or a more disastrous weapon? This portrayal does not dissuade people from the culture of war and brutality, it propagates that. But Doctor Who shows us the alternative, you can be benevolent and win the day simultaneously.  The greatest message of the show is this: The greatest weapon you can find in the whole universe, in all of space and time is your Mind.

"You want weapons? We are in the library. Books, the best weapon in the world"~The Doctor



The show is "an argument for diplomacy over war, for peace in the face of the unlikeliest of odds".The Doctor is a benevolent one who forgives and tries to help his arch-enemies not once or twice, but over and over. Especially when Russell T Davies was the head writer, the episodes usually don't even have a clear antagonist. Those supposed bad guys were acting that way just because of their biological imperative. This is somewhat aligns with my view of transhumanism, that is how an enlightened being would perceive its environment. Humans ,for example, have killed dangerous animals that are only acting on their biological imperative, that in turn only shows that we, humans are also acting on our biological programming or evolutionary directive which is simply: "Survive". This survival and mindless multiplication ( reproduction) ,without regard to others and most often resulting in suffering of others, is the purpose of life transcending all the living things from the simplest RNA viruses to us, Homo Sapiens.
Only if we could rise above these basal instincts, humanity will be fully liberated and we can achieve a better civilization. For me, to be a posthuman is to be enlightened, to understand the true zero-sum game nature of our ecosystem(which in our case is the Earth) and to be a guardian and a gardener of it , by charting out a course that would result in minimum sufferings of all those in the ecosystem , like how The Doctor usually practices. 

The only area I disagree with the Doctor is in his mistrust and disliking of the robots and the show's continuous vilification of un-emotionalizing the human being and genetic engineering. This is partly understandable as it's written by artists who rely on emotional brain. But, the Doctor himself being super-intelligent pan-dimensional entity would know that emotions are nothing more than chemical reactions taking place in our brain. For the human brain to perceive and comprehend more abstract and pan-dimensional thinking would never possible without the brain implants or the total integration of our brain with computing network around the world (like the villainous Cybermen did). In my opinion, the greater intelligence would enable human to become liberated from their biological programming and enlightened, that is, we would be closer to the Doctor than villains.
The arch-enemy of the Doctor , daleks are genetically engineered as killing machines, but what exactly are human and other animals programmed to do? It is simply to survive and reproduce without the regard of others(if you don't want to look at yourself look at the life of animals and ask how much are we different?). In the process we have killed off many species and are destroying the ecosystem that host us. The future is clear, either heaven or hell. i.e. Either we achieve transhumanist enlightening and create a sustainable civilization and technologically fulfilled our needs (heaven on earth) or face societal collapse and dystopia (hell).

Here are some of the clips that shows the Doctor's various personalties and great quote .

Unstable? Unstable? Unstable? This is me, Peri! Right now I am as stable as you will ever see me! You must forget how I used to be. I'm a Time Lord. A man of science, temperament, and *passion*!"

"Amy Pond, there's something you better understand about me 'cause it's important and one day your life may depend on it...I am definitely a mad man with a box."

A sweet music video a fan made.
"I’ll be a story in your head, but that’s okay, because we’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? Because it was, you know. It was the best. A daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away. Did I ever tell you that I stole it? Well, I borrowed it. I always meant to take it back. Oh, that box, Amy, you’ll dream about that box. It’ll never leave you. Big and little at the same time. Brand-new and ancient and the bluest blue ever. And the times we had, eh? Would had…Never had. In your dreams, they’ll still be there. The Doctor and Amy Pond and the days that never came."~The Doctor

"The man who can turn an army around at the mention of his name? Doctor? The word for healer and wise man, throughout the universe."~Professor River Song 

Google celebrates the anniversary on their homepage with a game which is more than Whovarians are wishing for. You can still play the game at

Credit of gif photos go to

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Will Google give us Immortality ?

Will Google give us immortality?

Maybe not. But with the announcement of Calico and its stated mission of "tackling ageing and illness", Google is bringing us one step closer to humanity's inevitable future of immortality and singularity. Although my concept of Engineering The Cure is bigger than the simple immortality, it certainly is an important part in curing the humanity. Even doubling a healthy lifespan towards a hundred years would result in great societal change by encouraging people to think long term ,removing time constraint of our lives and increasing productivity. Google as a technology company is best positioned to do this. In  past few decades, technology companies has dramatically altered or exterminated many old business models on many areas from newspaper to retail. Healthcare is an exception to that. It is still being controlled by the old gate keepers and run by the old mindset. The time is ripe for change.
TIME pointed out correctly that medicine is becoming an information science While we still do not know Calico's plans, here is a short wishlist of mine as a biomedical engineer:

  1. Predicting the disease risk from lifestyle, genetics and wearable sensors. Google could do that easily, it is basically the same thing with its search and Ads.
  2. Suggestion for lifestyle changes through a service like Google Now.
  3. Smartphones and Augmented Reality devices as not only personal computer/assistant but also as medical adviser, through data from sensors and Google-ish processing power.
  4. Personal sensor system including  wearable devices continuously monitoring body activities, ECG, EEG, blood glucose, cholesterol level, bio-impedance and environmental gas and temperature coupled with camera and audio recording from Google Glass. As an example, Glass or any other AR system should recognize the content and frequency of food and drink we are taking (through image processing) and use body activity data to suggest amount of exercise and medication. AR devices could even teach you how to do a specific exercise and monitor whether you are doing correctly through the gyroscope and accelerometers.
  5. Developing Medicine targeting cell and tissue ageing effects at molecular level.
  6. Highly personalized medicine based on genetics and lifestyle data.
  7. IBM's Watson like AI on web that can give medical advice. Or put it at least in the hospital as a clinical decision support system reducing doctors' time.
  8. Finally, a complete AI doctor, who can know you more than any doctor could with the help of continuous monitoring sensors and have the experience of treating billions of people.

Another good news is that Art Levinsona PhD in biochemistry and former CEO of Genetech, would be leading the company. For sure, technocrat would always be a much better choice than businesspeople in this kind of project.
Aung Thiha

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Behind the haze...

It has been several days since the haze have blanketed Southeast Asian nations like Singapore and Malaysia. Last night, Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) of singapore pass over 300 and have reached hazardous pollution level. People rightfully are angry and upset.

However, there is a bigger ecological problem looming behind the sense that nobody seems to care about. The haze are the resultant of burning down the forests in neighbouring Indonesian islands to make cultivation ,mainly,  the palm oil. Most of the companies engaging these activities are foreign companies , some from Singapore and Malaysia themselves.

These island tropical rainforests held the multitude of species of flora and fauna with many left undiscovered and many of them are unique to the particular island. With the increased logging and plantations, these species have not only lost their natural habitat but also seriously endangered. One of them is the Orangutans , one of the most intelligent species in the world, which numbered around 50,000 (UN, 2007) and are rapidly dwindling [1,2].

One thing that upset me is that millions of people in the region are angry with the smoke but no one has ever been spoken about these plants and animals who has lost their lives to man-made fires. We all should remember that The world is not only for humans. 

1. Say No to Palm oil

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Geek Alarm and Clock

I started this app for pi day and using it for a couple months.

The daily life is sometimes a bit dull for those of us living inside our brain or in the future. 
This app is intended for those of us who need to be mentally stimulated to start a new day. But don't worry, you can always go physical if you are unable to solve it , since it also includes shake alarm.
Questions are chosen so that they can be solved mentally without pen and paper. Most questions should not take you more than a minute. Solutions to the problems are also provided.


Math alarm (Math and logic puzzles that need to be mentally calculated)
Shake alarm (Shake the phone to snooze or dismiss the alarm with adjustable count and vibration feedback on shake)
Widgets (Unlike most of the widgets out there, the size of widget can be adjusted by long pressing on it.)
Lockscreen widget (only for  android 4.2)
No Ads

This is the adaptation of stock clock app from android 4.1.  The app is open-sourced under Apache 2.0 License. Images of clock widgets and graphics here are under GPL. You can contribute the application on GitHub ( or help adding new questions at this public Google Doc (

PS: In case you are wondering about the equations and images in the background of banner graphics, they all are related to the relativistic and gravitational time dilation. In one sentence, they mean the higher relativistic velocity or the lower gravitational potential would slow down our time. We all want to become a Time Lord , aren't we?

Sunday, 21 April 2013

In honour of Earth Day 2013

"When the last tree is cut, the last river poisoned, and the last fish dead, we will discover that we can't eat money..."

~Native Indian Proverb 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Project Atspindyz

Today 1st Jan 2013 marks the inception of Project Atspindyz*.

I don't usually make new year resolutions for I only make resolutions at my birthday. But this year I'll make one for an idea that struck me last Christmas and for which I spent a better part of last week to contemplate and critique. 

Currently I have nothing to share about my project except that it's a game I am designing that would establish a completely new genre in gaming. We'll look back in a couple of year how did it go. It would be really slow since I am doing my full time PhD in the field of BioMEMS .

 I am weighting on various approaches like web or native, platforms to target, and client/server architecture etc. I have not much knowledge in any of them yet. Building a team will start only after 6 months later when I can talk in terms of programming.

*Atspindys means "reflection" in Lithuanian. 
Project Aspindyz (alternative name)