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Leonardo

The Antibiotics Timebomb

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Leonardo
A terrible future could be on the horizon, a future which rips one of the greatest tools of medicine out of the hands of doctors.

A simple cut to your finger could leave you fighting for your life. Luck will play a bigger role in your future than any doctor could.

The most basic operations - getting an appendix removed or a hip replacement - could become deadly.

Cancer treatments and organ transplants could kill you. Childbirth could once again become a deadly moment in a woman's life.

It's a future without antibiotics.

source

Nothing is certain, but the future of antibiotic use in medicine is looking grim, particularly due to the fact that no new class of antibiotics has been discovered for over 30 years which means there are no new "weapons" that medicine can use in the war against bacterial infection.

Modern medicine has done so much for so many. It has improved our quality of life drastically - but now nature is catching up and the consequences could be more devastating than any war. It's a chilling possibility that might emerge within our own lifetimes.

Edited by Leonardo
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Lucas Cooper Merrin

This will be an on going battle for ever, as our antibiotics evolve so do the bacteria and viruses, there is going to come a point where the germs will win and planet earth will be brought back down to a balanced population!

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Mikko-kun

Has anyone ever thought about that the more advanced antibiotics you make, the more reason you give for the bacteria to evolve? Because that's what seems to be happening. Is it money talking over survival of majority again?

Oh well, at least Mr. Gates got it covered with his Antarctic base.

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bubblykiss

Well we have a magic bullet and abused it.

Now we get to face the consequences of outpacing the world's carrying capacity.

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TheGreatBeliever

Nanobots to the rescue!

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Infernal Gnu

Every fertile person on the planet needs to start making babies like crazy so we can stay ahead of these damn killer bugs.

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aquatus1

Antibiotics are certainly a fantastic discovery, but let's not assume they are the ultimate in medical research. They are basically just GMO'd existing biologics. They will be made better, but frankly, they will also likely be replaced, probably by nanobots. Biology takes generations to advance and relies on random innovations. Computer tech advances ridiculously fast, robotics is zooming up right next to it, and miniaturization has always been a goal. Nanobots that can physically destroy a virus or a bacteria will serve as both vaccinations and cures. As long as we can avoid the gray ooze problem, we'll be good.

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Mikko-kun

Tech is one thing, nature's evolution another. Human understanding of how the world works is one thing, how the world actually works is another.

Keeping this in mind, you will never convince me that we're safe. Especially if you take a stance that gives too much emphasis to one factor over another. Everything has its place.

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aquatus1

Nature's place is substantially below human technology. The biggest advantage it has always had is sheer quantity, and we are rapidly showing dominance over that as well. In a competition between nature and technology, tech wins every time.

But yeah, we will never be completely safe.

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Mikko-kun

That's an opinion, assertion that you know future, not a fact. "tech", machines made by creations of nature, didn't make themselves from tech. Those who make tech, didn't make nature, life, from nothinglessness like they made tech.

Nature doesn't have the competition mentality the same way you've adopted it. It has big picture, adaptation mentality. It's not a separate entity from you where you at least try to assure yourself you experience yourself a separate entity from it. Separation allows competition, mere concepts, only partly factual at best.

You can turn a blind eye to things as much as you want, but it will not stop them from being there. You can say whatever you want, but that will not necessarily be true no matter how much how strongly you try to assert it. To not realize this is self-centeredness.

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Leonardo

Antibiotics are certainly a fantastic discovery, but let's not assume they are the ultimate in medical research. They are basically just GMO'd existing biologics. They will be made better, but frankly, they will also likely be replaced, probably by nanobots. Biology takes generations to advance and relies on random innovations. Computer tech advances ridiculously fast, robotics is zooming up right next to it, and miniaturization has always been a goal. Nanobots that can physically destroy a virus or a bacteria will serve as both vaccinations and cures. As long as we can avoid the gray ooze problem, we'll be good.

I doubt nanotechnology can be successfully employed in such a way. There are so many species of microbiota in the gut, which are beneficial and necessary to proper digestion, that it is unlikely nanotechnology can be made so expertly as to avoid attacking them - as well as the harmful pathogens they would be supposed to target.

And that is aside from considering whether the "grey ooze" issue can be resolved, as you pointed out. My own opinion is nanotechnology cannot be made to either replace or compliment our immune system and pharmaceutical solutions to supporting it in it's fight against invasive and harmful pathogens.

Edited by Leonardo

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aquatus1

That's an opinion, assertion that you know future, not a fact.

Actually it is neither. It is a prediction based on how technology and nature have interacted in the past 500 years.

"tech", machines made by creations of nature, didn't make themselves from tech. Those who make tech, didn't make nature, life, from nothinglessness like they made tech.

:huh:

um...okay?

Nature doesn't have the competition mentality the same way you've adopted it.

Are you kidding?

Nature is ALL about competition. It is literally the foundation of the diversity of nature. Every single living thing is in competition for resources. Some more than others, some less, but there is not a single part of nature that stands alone, without affect or without being affected, by others.

It has big picture, adaptation mentality.

Nah, that's anthropomorphic thinking. The idea that nature has some sort of overall plan, some intentional scheme for balance, that's fine for romantic literature, but in the real world, nature is only balance by the abilities of the individuals within. Push it off-balance, and the chances of it self-correcting to its original state are slim to none. It will continue until it finds a new balance, sometimes affecting little, sometimes affecting major, changes.

It's not a separate entity from you where you at least try to assure yourself you experience yourself a separate entity from it. Separation allows competition, mere concepts, only partly factual at best.

Nature is not some singular entity either. Nature is a catch-all. It is a word we use to avoid having to list out all the individual creatures and their behaviours. They are inherently seperated and intertwined. Trying to use human concepts to describe it is doomed to failure.

You can turn a blind eye to things as much as you want, but it will not stop them from being there. You can say whatever you want, but that will not necessarily be true no matter how much how strongly you try to assert it. To not realize this is self-centeredness.

To pretend nature is anything other than what it is is arrogance. It is a denial of nature in place of romance. I would call it an insult, but frankly, nature doesn't really care what you think of it. Nature does what nature has done since the first living thing evolved.

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aquatus1

I doubt nanotechnology can be successfully employed in such a way. There are so many species of microbiota in the gut, which are beneficial and necessary to proper digestion, that it is unlikely nanotechnology can be made so expertly as to avoid attacking them - as well as the harmful pathogens they would be supposed to target.

Really? Frankly, that sounds more like a lack of imagination than anything else. Even at the most base level of minimalist intervention, if humans can successfully identify pathogens, why would nanomachines be incapable of eventually accomplishing the same feat? Even at that, we can simply ask why nanomachines couldn't mimic nature's own methods and use the chemical markers of bacteria and viruses to recognize them. Beyond that, we can even go to the opposite extreme, and simply ask why nanomachines could eventually replicate whatever function of whatever bacteria we wish, replace it in that manner (and likely with a much higher rate of efficiency and effectiveness), and simply remove all foreign bacteria and viruses altogether (something which, obviously, is farther in the future).

It is fine and dandy to say you can't see a manner in which it could be done, but as a counterpoint, I proposed four ways off the top of my head in which it could, and could probably think of several other strategies of necessary. It simply doesn't feel like a very strong argument against.

And that is aside from considering whether the "grey ooze" issue can be resolved, as you pointed out.

That is my primary concern. Frankly, I would just as soon wait for the singularity and have the AI program the nanos.

My own opinion is nanotechnology cannot be made to either replace or compliment our immune system and pharmaceutical solutions to supporting it in it's fight against invasive and harmful pathogens.

My opinion is that a nanomachine that can physically dismember a pathogen is a relatively easy task, bearing in mind that the technology is only at its infancy.

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Frank Merton

Actually the scare tactics are rather misleading. Diseases germs evolve resistance, sometimes sooner, sometimes later, sometimes never. When it does happen it is generally because large number of people do not finish out the prescribed course and instead stop as soon as symptoms go away, allowing any with slight resistance to survive. Better public education about this is needed.

For diseases where there is fear of resistance, treatment should involve several treatments at once, as this makes resistance and its evolution far more unlikely.

Of course people need to be discouraged from taking things willy-nilly, but that is for many, many reasons, the appearance of resistance is in fact generally not because of this.

The fact is that the development of new drugs is keeping up pretty well and in fact generally gaining ground.

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