I am fairly certain that Myers gets that the compression would be applied to the information content of the DNA itself. It is irrelevant whether that information is compressed as the argument is that Kurzweil is drastically underestimating the complexity involved in taking DNA as a starting point and somehow ending up with a functioning brain. Compressing the input doesn’t compress the time complexity of the process, in fact it will only increase it as you’ll need to decompress the information to actually do anything with it. The process in question isn’t a direct translation of DNA into atoms or bits in a computer model. The only method about which we have any clue for getting from DNA to an organ, let alone an organism, is to “execute” the DNA which is the non-linear, emergently complex process I was talking about.

This is where Myers’ discussion of proteomics is relevant as that is what a DNA program does when executed. It produces proteins that then fold in non-trivially complex ways as they are synthesized. To get from proteins and how they fold to organs requires simulating layers on layers of complexity. We haven’t even fully mapped out the full set of proteins and necessary folding, let alone getting to the next layer up that depends on them. Simply put, there isn’t a 1:1 mapping between DNA and the neurons in a living brain and lacking that, I doubt there is any shortcut past simulating from protein expression all the way up through cellular processes and neuronal development and interaction. That is a ton more computation than just simulating the end result.

In algorithmic terms, Kurzweil wants to assume that the order of complexity for simulating a brain is a constant or lower order (linear, log-linear or logarithmic) of the assumed input, DNA. I doubt that is anywhere near correct, I would say we don’t even have a good first order approximation on the inherent complexity in producing a brain from DNA, computationally for the reasons I stated above.

Granted, once you have that result, reproducing a digital copy is trivial in theory though the practicalities at that scale of information density may be prohibitive. Bear in mind that the best general purpose lossless compression averages about 2:1. If a living brain requires yottabytes of storage, cutting that in half doesn’t make the problem of copying it any more tractable.

I would also argue that the brain is dependent on the body in which it is embedded. So I think there is a basis to reject Kurzweil’s argument even earlier on, that you could somehow separate out the portion of DNA that ultimately results in the development of a brain and have that fragment even work in any meaningful fashion.

I am not trying to say that we may never achieve machine based intelligence (either wholly synthetic or simulating existing minds), rather I reject Kurzweil’s naive predictions about how and when it will happen. In my opinion I think that Kurzweil’s folly lately is just an all too common fear of mortality leading to willfully taking on many flawed assumptions as long as they might lead to his personal wish fulfillment of practical immortality.