Instructions

The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

Nature has all along yielded her flesh to humans. First, we took nature’s materials as food, fibers, and shelter. Then we learned to extract raw materials from her biosphere to create our own new synthetic materials. Now Bios is yielding us her mind—we are taking her logic.

Clockwork logic—the logic of the machines—will only build simple contraptions. Truly complex systems such as a cell, a meadow, an economy, or a brain (natural or artificial) require a rigorous nontechnological logic. We now see that no logic except bio-logic can assemble a thinking device, or even a workable system of any magnitude.

It is an astounding discovery that one can extract the logic of Bios out of biology and have something useful. Although many philosophers in the past have suspected one could abstract the laws of life and apply them elsewhere, it wasn’t until the complexity of computers and human-made systems became as complicated as living things, that it was possible to prove this. It’s eerie how much of life can be transferred. So far, some of the traits of the living that have successfully been transported to mechanical systems are: self-replication, self-governance, limited self-repair, mild evolution, and partial learning.

We have reason to believe yet more can be synthesized and made into something new. Yet at the same time that the logic of Bios is being imported into machines, the logic of Technos is being imported into life. The root of bioengineering is the desire to control the organic long enough to improve it. Domesticated plants and animals are examples of technos-logic applied to life. The wild aromatic root of the Queen Anne’s lace weed has been fine-tuned over generations by selective herb gatherers until it has evolved into a sweet carrot of the garden; the udders of wild bovines have been selectively enlarged in an “unnatural” way to satisfy humans rather than calves. Milk cows and carrots, therefore, are human inventions as much as steam engines and gunpowder are. But milk cows and carrots are more indicative of the kind of inventions humans will make in the future: products that are grown rather than manufactured.

Genetic engineering is precisely what cattle breeders do when they select better strains ofHolsteins, only bioengineers employ more precise and powerful control. While carrot and milk cow breeders had to rely on diffuse organic evolution, modern genetic engineers can use directed artificial evolution—purposeful design—which greatly accelerates improvements.

The overlap of the mechanical and the lifelike increases year by year. Part of this bionic convergence is a matter of words. The meanings of “mechanical” and “life” are both stretching until all complicated things can be perceived as machines, and all self-sustaining machines can be perceived as alive. Yet beyond semantics, two concrete trends are happening: (1)Human-made things are behaving more lifelike, and (2) Life is becoming more engineered. The apparent veil between the organic and the manufactured has crumpled to reveal that the two really are, and have always been, of one being.

Question 9

Which one of the following sets of words/phrases best serves as keywords to thepassage?

Solution

The starting two paragraphs discuss the complexity of the biosphere and how it is impossible to build a thinking device without bio-logic. In the next paragraphs, the author describes how with the increasing complexity of human-made systems(not until it was comparable to living things), it has become possible to transfer these traits into mechanical systems. Examples of these are bioengineering and genetic engineering. Then in the concluding paragraph, the author discusses about the convergence of these two logics(Biologic and Techno logic).

Options B and C do not talk about the conclusion of the passage(convergence of the logics), and hence can be eliminated. Out of options A and D, we should select the option with bio-logic and techno-logic instead of carrots and cows, because the broader idea is about bio and techno, not carrots and cows.

Thus, the correct option is D.

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