Several days ago, largely un-noticed by the world in general due the the massive oil fuck-up by corporations gone wild (sounds like a video idea, does it not), an announcement was made which could change life on Earth forever. What portents it heralds, we know not.
The announcement to which I refer is the creation of a totally new scientific field, ushered in by an important achievement that gives us unheard of new abilities. This new field is the field of Synthetic Biology, and the achievement to which I refer is the creation of a synthetic life form. Much like a micro-sized Frankenstein, a couple of scientists inserted a completely man-made DNA sequence into a hollowed-out cell membrane, which then began to reproduce becoming the first human-created life form.
This is groundbreaking in many ways. Quite shockingly, the impact of this has been missed by many who should be concerned about the future it foretells, and what it means to many longstanding cultural and religious dogmas. In an era when many religious people are concerned about protecting unborn fetuses, what does this mean to their arguments? Is a synthetic life form somehow not alive? Can synthetic life, taken to it's highest form, have a soul? How come man can create life when only God should be able to do this? Does that mean there is no God?
I am truly shocked the religious zealots in our midst have not latched onto this. In 50 years, this is going to be huge and will completely invalidate much of their belief paradigm. Man will have taken the role of creator.
Before we start worrying about Tyrell Corporation taking over our little anarcho-capitalist dystopia, let's discuss a little about what this little scientific achievement can develop into. That future we all imagined with big clanking metal robots... It's all gone. Nope. No Star Wars. In the future, the real robots will be grown in a test tube using designer DNA. Biologically designed custom life-forms for every task. Computers and digital electronics not needed.
If you need a worker that is 3 feet tall with long fingers to get into that hard to get spot, now you are in luck, because Wal-Mart will have them. If you need workers who can perform back-breaking labor in extreme heat, well, they will sell them too. And when you have this ability, where does it end? When does life end and robot slave begin? The comparisons with Blade Runner and Gattaca have already begun, and rightly so.
Very soon, humans will be living in a far different world than we can currently imagine. With the rise of artificial intelligence and quantum computing, coupled with the ability to create designer life at will, how will humanity retain it's humanity? Imagine if you will, a post-climate change world, where humans have redesigned life to survive the hostile conditions.When this day comes, will we still be true humans? What about this new world filled with synthetic creatures, created by us, the new human gods?
Reference: Scientific Abstract about Synthetic Biology
Been Away Far Too Long...
6 years ago