Why a new era of synthetic biology could make the dangers of the atomic age seem quaint.
It’s not hard to understand why our lives are increasingly wrapped up in the latest twists and turns of the cyberworld. That supercomputer you are carrying in your pocket (when its tiny colorful screen isn’t parked six inches in front of your eyes) is a synthesizer of all the world’s knowledge, photography, art, music, and data. It is also a kind of X-ray machine that can provide insights into the deepest recesses of our personal lives: our preferences, choices, intimate moments, health, purchases, and indeed our character.
Yet the impact of all that information and data pales in comparison to what is heading our way in the world of biology. Biological, not cybernetic, developments will determine the course of the 21st century. Ebola, Zika, and the emergence of antibiotic-impervious superbugs are just previews of the coming challenges. Continue reading