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« Is Privacy Overrated? | Main | Early Bird Reminder »

July 17, 2007

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Tom Mazanec

I have a feeling MNT by 2020 will give us the other three (and perhaps others as well) by 2030.

Tom Craver

Synthetic biology seems to be moving rapidly toward reality. It might create a discontinuity sooner than nanotechnology, since it can take advantage of billions of years of evolutionary design solutions.

Early work with artificial micro-organisms will have tight regulatory controls. But the work will move on up to creating whole artificial creatures. The military would likely finance that, as a way around public objections to wiring up the brains of natural animals to use as warbots.

A synthetic organism might be just the thing for rapidly growing replacement organs that are fully compatible with a particular person's immune system, and eventually replacement limbs. Work in growing and attaching new body parts would likely lead to a means of stimulating in-place regeneration of brain and spinal nerve damage, allowing significant lifespan extension.

Beyond that, the creation of improved or *new* organs would become possible - e.g. skin that can change color, or an organ to better control weight, or intelligence augmentation, or eyeballs able to see much better at night and able to feed in electronic imagery.

Eventually someone will produce a cute artificial pet (unable to reproduce outside the factory or live without artificial vitamins). It'd be quickly followed by more pets, then utilitarian housekeeping creatures, and eventually "androids" - near human in intelligence, but hardwired to be happy living to serve.

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