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Artificial life will revolutionize our world
02-17-2010, 11:57 PM,
Artificial life will revolutionize our world
Artificial life will revolutionize our world

Say goodbye to global warming, toxic waste, and dependency on fossil fuels; and get ready to enjoy perfect health with exotic drugs that could one day cure every human disease, including aging.

These are just some of the possibilities researchers envision as they attempt to copy how nature gathers non-living matter and transforms it into life.

Life is generally not thought of as being mechanical, but a cell basically is a miniature machine which rearranges non-living atoms to create parts that "bring it to life." Genetic pioneer Craig Venter predicts that the first artificial life form will be a simple bacterium that proves the technology works, which he expects to see later this year.

This breakthrough will then be followed by more complex bacteria that can turn coal into clean natural gas, create algae that can soak up carbon dioxide and convert it into fuels, and develop low-cost drugs that will help doctors achieve a healthier and longer lifespan for everyone.

Exxon Mobil recently signed a $600-million project with Dr. Venter's Synthetic Genomics to make biofuel from algae. Executives predict that this venture could lower our dependency on oil, clean up environmental pollution, and reduce global warming.

"Creating artificial life has the potential to shed new light on our place in the universe," says Mark Bedau, COO of ProtoLife in Venice, Italy. This amazing breakthrough will remove the fundamental mystery about human creation and our role in the world, he said.

Although most people see this technology as providing mankind with virtually unlimited commercial and medical benefits, others worry about the ethical and moral issues of human-made life.

"The first artificial life form is likely to shock people's religious and cultural beliefs," said Bedau.

It's true, we are tinkering with something very powerful, adds Steen Rasmussen of the NASA-supported Protocell project at Los Alamos National Labs, "but there's no difference in what we're doing here and what humans did when they invented fire, designed the transistor and split the atom," he said.

Harvard Nobel Laureate Jack Szostak predicts his lab will create an artificial cell-housing within the next couple of years, and by 2015, develop nucleotides to form a complete cellular system. He believes once this happens, Darwinian evolution will take over, revealing how modern cells arose from their simpler ancestors.

This knowledge will help us understand how humans evolved in the past, and provide guidance towards a future human evolution driven, not by nature, but by tomorrow's technologies. We will see tiny self-reproducing factories, disease-killing machines, and exotic creations performing many useful functions. Experts believe that by 2020, artificial life creations will eliminate, or make manageable, most human diseases.

Could artificial life forms ever run amok and destroy our world? "When these things are created, they'll be so weak, we'll be lucky if they remain alive for an hour in the lab," Bedau said. "Breaking out and taking over the world - never in our wildest imagination could this happen - plus, potential life-saving benefits of this technology are enormous."

Positive futurists predict that by mid-2020s, human-made life forms will provide us with an affordable, ageless and forever healthy body fashioned from newly-created 'designer genes.' Go "magical future."
02-18-2010, 01:27 AM,
RE: Artificial life will revolutionize our world
do you want to live forever ?
&Alice laughed, &There's no use trying,& she said: &one can't believe impossible things.& &I daresay you haven't had much practice,& said the Queen. &When I was your age I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.&
- Lewis Carroll

&Things are seldom as they seem ... Skim milk masquerades as cream.&
- Gilbert and Sullivan (Pinafore)

At NASA, it really is rocket science, and the decision makers really are rocket scientists.
But a body of research that is getting more and more attention points to the ways that smart people working collectively can be dumber than the sum of their parts. .. Irwin Janis? &Groupthink:& is a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' striving for unanimity override realistic appraisals ? It is the triumph of concurrence over good sense, and authority over expertise.&
-John Schwartz & Matthew L. Wade

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