December 16, 2011
The field of ‘synthetic biology’ is in its infancy. We can ‘tweak’ the genetics of life forms – but billionaire entrepreneur Craig Venter only created ‘artificial life’ for the first time last year, christening his life form ‘Synthia’.
But experts working within the field believe that our expertise is out-accelerating natural evolution by a factor of millions of years – and some warn that synthetic biology could spin out of control.
It could lead, says Andrew Hessel of Singularity University, on Nasa’s research campus, to a world where hackers could engineer viruses or bacteria to control human minds.
Hessel believes that genetic engineering is the next frontier of computing.