Summary

Human performance and the nation's productivity will increase drastically if existing and new biological knowledge is exploited by statistical methods to obtain practical answers to the fundamental questions:

• How can we enhance human inherent abilities?

• How can inherent and external abilities be better integrated?

The analogy between language and biology will provide a framework for addressing these questions through convergence of computational linguistics with biological chemistry within the broader context of NBIC. The challenge is to achieve successful mapping of genome sequence to structure and function of biological molecules. It would then be possible to integrate man-made machines into the human body with interfaces at the cellular and molecular level, for example, sensors for biological, chemical, or physical changes in the environment. Artificial organs will perform traditional functions better than youthful, healthy natural organs, or be able to perform new functions. By exploiting differences in languages between different organisms, novel strategies to fight pathogenic infections will emerge. New functions will be built into organisms that lack them. The maximum benefit will be possible if all knowledge is catalogued in a way that it can be accessed efficiently via computers today and in the future by nanomachines of all kinds. The biology-language analogy provides the means to do so if an encyclopedia for vocabulary and rules of biological language can be developed.

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