In this case synthetic also means organic…would Mary Shelley be proud?
Yes that’s right artificial intelligence (AI) and biology (BioTech) have avoided natural selection and accelerated evolution, maybe even broken moral and religious codes to create the world’s first ‘living robots’ or synthetic life forms.
Just think for a moment — not human, not animal they are small organisms that can organise, grow and divide and also produce progeny. Each synthetic cell can do different things and can be organised to create artificial life on their terms.
From a human stand point the theory remains that it is the ‘Higgs’ sub atomic particle that prevents humans from being a pile of goo, water, fat and carbon on the ground. The ‘H’ is thought to give the body structure, as we start to understand how the world around us and the universe is organised.
It was one of Alan Turin’s greatest questions in my view — he asked the question — how do cells know what to do? All cells are formed equal and uniform yet they merge and conjoin to make different body parts — bone, skin, hair etc also refereed to as Microgenesis.
Although Xenobots (an unfortunate name) are tiny less than 1mm they comprise of upto 1000 cells creating synthetic organisms that has significant implications for improving the health and lives of people, but also weaponised to create havoc.
An unnatural evolution.
Rather than finding their way Xenobots are synthetic and their evolution is pre-programmed. Programmed by human guided AI the Xenobots can form useful; structures that can act like surgical tools and help support and perform various clinical procedures.
Although synthetic by design — they are organic, alive, or the body would attack them with an auto-immune response. Because it is cell based and not a molecule.
“I was astounded by it,” said Michael Levin, a professor of biology and director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University who was co-lead author of the new research.
“Frogs have a way of reproducing that they normally use but when you … liberate (the cells) from the rest of the embryo and you give them a chance to figure out…