“Life is a DNA software system.”–Craig Ventner
You’ve heard it all, and lately you’re hearing it more. The singularity is near. Robots are going to take our jobs. Robots are going to take over altogether. Robots are even going to take over our sex lives. Yadda yadda yadda.
I’m not saying it won’t happen; I just think it’s farther away than the impression most people are getting from all the news. What’s here right now is genetic editing, and with it, the possibility of directing human evolution. The very real and very near possibility of changing what it means to be human. Read all the artificial intelligence and future of work articles–yes. But keep your eye on the gene editing ball–it’s here right now.
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Gene editing/synthetic biology–A Japanese team has created a new genetic editing process so precise it can edit a single letter of DNA. Called MhAX, it works by combining the gene editing tool CRISPR with a DNA repair technique.
–If you thought IBM was only about information technology and business processes, think again. Researchers at the compnay are making headway in the development of synthetic molecules that might be able to replace antibiotics in the fight against drug resistant infectious organisms.
The Future of Work–Speaking of artificial intelligence, maybe it is coming to take jobs. But a new Gallup survey suggests that most Americans think it will take somebody else’s job–not theirs.
Autonomous Vehicles/Advanced Transportation–If job disruptive technology is at hand, can Luddism be far behind? Apparently not, as recent attacks on self-driving vehicles in San Franscisco demonstrate.
–If cars are ever going to be fully autonomous, every aspect of the operation needs to be designed to be human-free. Even headlights. Engineers at Mercedes Benz have now done just that, they’ve designed smart, autonomous headlights.
Energy–Elon Musk has been rather quiet lately–for him–as far as these weekly reports go. Not to worry; his latest idea is to equip 50,000 Australian homes with his Tesla solar roofing tiles and lithium ion batteries, to create a virtual power plant.
Chinese Space Station–China’s failing space station is due to come crashing back into the atmosphere within the next few weeks. Fear not, though. Your own future probably doesn’t include getting conked on the head by the falling debris. Experts have calculated your chances of being hit as a million times more remote than winning Powerball. That equates to about one in three hundered trillion.