Do-It-Yourself Genetic Engineering

From CBC News, this article appeared today: Synbiota biohacking kits let you do genetic engineering at home.

From the article:

A Canadian company is trying to make it possible for anyone to be a “biohacker” and make custom genetically modified organisms in their home kitchen.

Homemade GMOs may sound scary to some, but Toronto-based Synbiota thinks making genetic engineering technology available to ordinary people will lead to new products that we haven’t yet dreamed of.

When Will Man Become Machine?

submitted by Michael Lerner, PhD
President, Commonweal

Professor Stephen Hawking’s verdict on AI in a recent BBC interview wasn’t exactly good news for the rest of us.

“Once humans develop AI it will take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded,” he said.

Machines can already “outlive” the humble human many times over, according to tech editor, investor and author Michael S Malone who grew up in Silicon Valley.

Continue reading the article on the BBC website.

Mind Control and the Internet of Things

Two news articles this week fit our Brave New World posting category: artificial people on an artificial planet. Michael Lerner and Ted Schettler submitted these.

  1. Mind-control device lets people alter genes in mice through power of thought: The approach fuses the latest advances in cybernetics with those in synthetic biology by connecting a wireless headset that monitors brainwaves to an implant in the mouse that can change the rodent’s genes. The experiment could lead to the development of a radical new approach to the treatment of diseases. Scientists hope it is a first step towards the development of a system that will monitor brainwaves for signs of illnesses and automatically release medicines into the body to treat them.
  2. The creepy new wave of the Internet: The Internet of Things (IoT) will connect every thing with everyone in an integrated global network. People, machines, natural resources, production lines, logistics networks, consumption habits, recycling flows, and virtually every other aspect of economic and social life will be linked via sensors and software to the IoT platform, continually feeding Big Data to every node—businesses, homes, vehicles—moment to moment, in real time. One analysis believes that this IoT may be poised to “not merely redefine our relationship to machines and their relationship to one another, but to overtake and overthrow capitalism once the efficiencies of the Internet of Things undermine the market system.”