Friday, May 21, 2010
Weapons of mass creation
In a paper published yesterday in Science (available online), J. Craig Venter and his colleagues describe how they have successfully created the first self-replicating synthetic bacterial cell. This research has profound scientific and ethical implications. The most interesting ideas in the area of the scientific and ethical implications of synthetic life have not come from scientists, or ethicists, but rather from science fiction writers. Isaac Asimov, for instance, in his Robot series, explores many techno-ethical problems involving the interaction of humanoid robots and human beings.