The What If Machine - Halo
- Oct 29, 2012
What is it that makes Master Chief so good at soldiering? Cam turns the What If Machine back 'on' for a second series to find out!
This week our experts are:
Dr. Anders Sandberg - Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University.
I would think that if gamespot would mess up on of these videos, it would be on the science part, not in the video game part. Spartans II were NOT GM, they were chosen based on their genetic make up so that they had better chance of surviving augmentation, but all augmentation was cybernetic and biological.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the Spartans from the Spartan II program received biological augmentations to their bones, tissues etc to make them super strong, super fast and super agile. Isn't it mentioned in the books? I don't recall reading anything about genetic modifications being done to the Spartans. If you've read Ghosts of Onyx, then you'll be familiar with the Spartan IIIs, and even they didn't receive genetic modifications. They were augmentations, including one that helped them perform better under highly stressful conditions. Even though it was probably beneficial to cover the subject of genetic modifications, it doesn't really apply to the Halo Universe. Then again, please correct me if I'm mistaken...
You did a good job at this but I think you should also look at how the scenario is in the halo universe in context.
Just started playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution this week. This show could not have come back for a new season at a better time. This kind of thing is all I can think about lately.
Excellent stuff, keep it up!
I would marry a woman that is in the same side as i am and we would have unprotected sex giving these children till they nail the formula just right to where the future will be better. Ill be like "those are my boys/girls"
I think I'd volunteer for it...but knowing I probably wouldn't survive idk how I could explain that to people. Even though it would be easier to say that in the future once everything is safer and people stop caring about the "ethical" thing to do.
I am also generally in favour of genetic modifications, however it would need to be approached very hesitantly with the utmost caution. One area of concern is the control that private companies would have in the industry, with deus ex being a good example of what may occur as these companies would inevitably become some of the largest in the world. The GMO food industry is a perfect real-life example, where select companies are given free whim to mess with life willy-nilly and then own that organism like they built it from scratch, coupled with an army of lawyers and lobbyists to exert their whims. Also, unless the modification is simply to replace a defective gene with a healthy one, I am opposed to modification of embryos or children. Such a choice should be made by a competent adult, not their parents. In the end though I agree that these things are inevitable and I support them as they will result in the next evolution of humanity
I really missed these videos. Anyway, I agree with genetic modifications when they are used to improve life quality (helping overcome diseases or dissabiities for example). Nevertheless, its important to take care of certain matters such as people's willingness to use these methods, I would not agree on imposing someone to be modified against his/her will.
Master Chief's armour basic makes him near invincible. I use the word invincible because the Spartans were originally intended to be unleashed on the Insurrectionists who would have been hard pressed to kill a Spartan.
There is only one scenario I've read about in the Halo Universe where the Spartans could have been killed by Innies and that was due in part to wrong intel, fortunately Kurt 051 saved the day :).
Anyway, in regards to the Covenant, the Mjolnir armour does not make Master Chief invincible but it does give him the added strength and power he needs, to go hand to hand with an Elite, Brute or Hunter.
Any UNSC soldier can attempt close quarters combat with an Elite or Brute providing they're armed with a knife but even then they'd have to be tremendously tactical and lucky to avoid losing a limb every time an Elite or Brutes simply swung one of theirs. So in effect, a Spartan without its armour could go hand to hand with an Elite or Brute but without its suit, it would not have the luxury of snapping a Brute's head back (as done by Naomi 101) with a single punch or even have the dexterity when exchanging blows.
As the Spartans are responsible for taking our thousands of Covenant throughout their careers, it pretty obvious they only overcame impossible odds due to their armour (and sometimes that wasn't enough).
Read Fall of Reach and pay attention to the Improvised/Modified Halo jump performed by about 20 + Spartans without parachutes. Yeah... without parachutes. The armour has something called a gel layer which gives the suit abilities which I doubt would have even been foreseen when creating it.
The addition of the energy shielding is an obvious life saver and we we can safely say without this, the Spartans would have been wiped out in many fire fights with the Covenant. Talk about added protection X10 .
The other attributes are really the most popular, stamina, speed, life support, technological (infared and the many future devolpements of that) as well as temperature compensation. The suit is also powered by a mini Nuclear reactor if I remember right.
The suit does a lot. One of the most interesting things is that it's nano fibres upgrade the suit during cryo-sleep.
Something which paralells the nano suit in crysis and it's symbiotic nature.
Without the suit, 117 would still be as dangerous to Humans as he is with the armour but to Covenant, he'd need to pick his battles.
Let me know if I've missed some things out.
they made a fair point in the video without making it. how much does Chief's armour do, and how much is him? He does I believe have at least one neuro-implant. Is the armour now providing essential life support for him in addition to enhancing his natural abilities.
Myostatin is the protein your body produces to inhibit your muscle growth, yes inhibit. Follistatin suppresses myostatin (surpresses the surpressor). When these guys talk about people with mutations making humans stronger they likely are referring to a mutation in myostatin making it non-functional. Some people have double mutations meaning they produce no myostatin. A baby has been recorded recently with this double mutation recently, he was born with irregular muscle mass. Since genetic sequencing is relatively new there isn't many conclusive records about other humans with this trait. However that baby's father had a single mutation and has had personal accounts of people saying he exhibited superhuman strength, moving blocks of concrete with ease.
I'm a biotec undergrad and this has been a long time interest of mine that I have looked into here and there on my personal time. However that being said I have come to realize getting anything approved with humans is just ridiculous, something like this isn't likely to be public in our time. It would not be publicly accepted, and the approval process if it ever did go wide spread would cost billions (a drug costs 800 million on average in clinical trials and development to be approved).
P.S. For those smart cookies that caught on to my mention of follistatin and how it represses the repressor. Yes you can supplement it, and it does not require genetic modification so it is much easier to use. I'd see it being a far more likely route than messing with DNA, cheaper too.
This was very interesting. Another game that deals heavily and even more complex and indepth about GM or cloning is Metal gear Solid, would love to see a What if episode on that one as well.
Excellent, excellent work as usual Mr. Cam. I can't get enough of these. I see you're sticking with "Way Up High" as your unofficial theme then?
As a scientist myself, I would love to see true GM be developed. Even though my field of work is in chemistry and chemical synthesis, I definitely have enough background in genetics, biochemistry, and evolution to understand the cost and gain of attempting GM.
Modify a human gene to eliminate sickle-cell or cancer specific genes from human population may seem like a great idea, but modifying a human to be a super-soldier is no longer a great idea because at that point the human is a somatic cell... pre-defined destiny. This human would have his or her fate chosen at the state of a zygote and would not be able to make their own choice. So if we're talking about super soldiers using GM, we're talking about breeding humans. What state would the world need to be in order for human breeding to be considering justified ?
Exoskeletons and/or implants seems more practical and probable as a scientist. Why? It would be much easier to get it approved. Why? Because the test subject, human, would have the choice whether or not to participate.
@tenz01 I still don't understand why a supersoldier would have to be made at the fetal stage. Can't you just inject the the gene mods into the bone marrow of an adult and let the enhancements spread from there?
@The_Syzygy At the fertilization stage, it is 1 cell. Once you alter that DNA, it is 1 cell of the DNA of choice. That 1 cell will then split to 2, then 4... and eventually trillions. So now you have an entire person with every cell in the body having the improved DNA.
If you just injected gene mods to a specific organ, it could take as much as 25+ years for EVERY cell in that specific bone or organ to be replaced. Some cells, such as neurological cells, do not regenerate so that would make improving nerve and brain cells by "injection" impossible. In terms of bone marrow, you would have to alter the DNA of red blood cells in order for that to work... which means making changes to every red blood cell in the body. The body could easily reject and the person would die instantly of a heart attack.... or you can go through the route of infection.
Infection-DNA-Modification is the use of bacteria or viruses used to alter animal cell DNA. Viruses work by infecting host cells and replacing host DNA with the DNA the virus wants to implant. Huge downside to this is that viruses are living creatures capable of mutating and evolving. Viruses evolve quickly which is why its impossible to be immune to cold/flu.. and why HIV is not curable right now. So even if we develop a virus to "infect" a person's kidney's cells to replace the DNA with what we want on the person. The virus itself is capable of doing its own mutating and could possibly create a brand new disease. So scientifically, injections is possible. However theres the unknown if we use viruses or bacteria for quicker turnarounds, then theres the ethical questions if you do use these methods. At what point does a person turn into just a "host" body for the virus? If we do not want quicker turn arounds we could implant a new cell in a kidney, and wait years in hope that these new cells duplicated and every cell in the kidney is now made up of these new cells.
The biggest major downfall to infection or injection method is the body's immune system would reject it. Antigens and Antibodies are programmed to attack any foreign cell in the body. So how do you prevent the immune system from attacking the cells you want to implant? Use medications to "pause" the immune system of the body... which can lead to high fatality rates.
All this complications I talked about. Long turnaround of injections, unknown of viral/bacterial infections, and immune systems would be easily eliminated if the gene mods were done at the fertilized egg.
@tenz01 Yeah, you certainly know more about this than I do O_o.Damn it, that's not fair to those of us born BEFORE cool artificial super genes were perfected.Well, we can always hope that we can make up for those deficiencies with cybernetics, right? Robot laser eyes look cooler than natural eyes anyway!
@tenz01 hey cancer the disease is bad. cancer the phenomena is actually rather interesting and usefull... imagine if you could program a type of cancer to affect certain cells and make them reproduce at high rates... you could imprive muscular mass, bone density and wait... the nirvana of microbioloigy and biochemistry... imagine neuronal totipotency... never ending stream of neurons... returning to reality... you could make a supersoldier not only by genetic engineering but also by exposure to manufactures, cell affecting viruses and controlled cancer like in the example above. of course it would be controversial... yet it remains a viable posibility.
do a what if machine on Gravity Monipulation i saw that in the game Inversion and it was pretty cool
Genetic Modifications sounds great and all, until you think about what they can change in your brain. You want to be smarter, eh? We can do that but you will be compelled to buy Pepsi even if you don't like it.
And lets say they end up finding out how to make people immortal. Just go watch In Time, because that is likely what the world would be like. This world can't have people living forever, it just won't work.
Want super solders? You will be sure they will have some sort of kill switch in them just in case they go AWAL or get captured with delicate information. If they do that who is to say they won't "add" that to civilian GMs.
I'm sure the people working on genetics have all but the best intentions, but some of the worse things in history have there foundations in good intentions.
@phoenix_crow Fair point dude. That's what scares me about genetic manipulation, it's the "unknown unknowns", as Donald Rumsfeld would say. You have to imagine that the human cost and resultant abominations (humans with 2 heads attached at the mouth, etc...) would be tremendous...at least in the beginning. It would take a massive impetus (World War III?) to get over that initial hurdle.
Not sure what they're doing with genetics, but I did once see this report from DARPA saying the Master Chief fascinated them. Apparently the US considers urban warfare the most likely kind of war in the future, so they like the idea of a heavily armored soldier that can bust through doors and draw enemy fire during forced entry while the rest of the team formulates a counter response.
In other words, they want the real world equivalent of the RPG genre's tank to draw aggro.
People asking about the trailer need to check out Halo:Legends. Was some shorts based in the halo universe and cover a lot if not more than what is in the new trailers.
Genetically modified humans almost seems inevitable. We're much closer at making humans immortal, than we are of traveling outside of our solar system. By the time we're a multi solar system species (like halo) humans will not be human anymore.
@monleon It's actually surprisingly easy. Stop consuming crap food, allow your body to replace all the bad cells with nothing but good ones, throw in the odd genetic/radiation cleanse from a certain medical procedure currently in development that I've forgotten (it was on an episode of Curiosity), and you could easily get into the 200's. Modification really isn't necessary. Just get some really healthy and strong people together, breed them for a couple generations, and you'll end up with titans in no time.
Humans will be taller, more intelligent,live longer,stronger..
Genetically Modify Semen is the future of supersoldiers?..
Owh my!, im allready scared of what the future holds for my future children with wrong intentions if so..
Genetic Modding, Cybernetics or even power Armour, it's all good ideas. for our future people and for the world. but I just think that today is not the day to do that on humans, maybe on something else like animals, I don't know. but the idea is great it'll avoid deaths and deceases, and who doesn't want super strength or improved mental abilities? you can work more or help others more. The only thing that's stopping us from doing so is: humans doesn't have stronger enemies to face other than ourselves, but It's good to prepare. but if one country does it then it's going to be the most powerful country and the world is not one yet? so if people are deciding to make some super soldiers, make sure that the world is united no other countries but only one. and that country is called Humanity. if we're are not one yet and the country with the super soldier is very powerful, then if that country decides to go to war with the others then, we're all gonna be just rubble. my opinion is let's make super soldiers when we expect to face another sentient life, for now we fight for our so called Nationalism which separates us from the others. We are not yet ready. maybe in the future we will be ready.
@kierwinyoung No, we're not ready for that,and I doubt we will be any time soon.Admit it,we are all in the wrong state of mind right now. "Conquer this,take over that so WE can control and TAKE OVER THE WORLD!". We're still pretty much self centered with the "I,me,mine" mentality and so few of us even know what "self sacrifice" means,even though we claim we do.And if the Mayans were right about the absolute change in the world on 12,21,12 we're really in big trouble.We'll be so busy trying to survive and will kill anybody that gets in our way BECAUSE we're so self centered that mankind will pretty much destroy itself and they don't want to help others,they just want to help themselves.And they won't care who they hurt or how they go about doing it.No, we're not ready for something like that right now and I doubt we will be in my lifetime, or anybodies next 10 generations or so.
Cybernetic implants can be a dangerous tools at wrong hands.Just like in movies.Genetic modifications would definitely be an important breakthrough in the field of science.Talk about longer and healthier lives.Less chances of deaths caused by diseases.But that still may not avoid other causes including violent attacks or accidents.Cybernetics may solve this problem but you will end up being more machine that man.Immortality is never guaranteed.
I'm all for genetic modifications enhancing human lives, but we don't need any real life Master Chiefs. War's scary enough. Unless, of course, we are attacked by aliens and need some super soldiers. But frankly, I find this whole humans killing humans thing rather stupid and juvenile, and creating more weapons can only make it worse.
@Renoo27 Well the Spartans werent created to fight Aliens. They were created to help fight the insurgents during the civil war. Imagine instead of commiting 60,000 marines to fighting small groups of guerilla terrorists, reducing the relations o fthe countries you are operating in and destabalizing the region. We can use smaller specialized elite commandos like the master chief, who can get in, get the job done, and get out, requireing little resources and support.