Monday, 24 May 2010

The Age of Artificial Life

The broadcast media have been bizarrely quiet over the dawning of synthetic biology. As an article from the The Economist here explains, Craig Venter, Hamilton Smith and their colleagues have developed a creature without an ancestor that is capable of reproducing on its own. They have also demonstrated that information is indeed the essence of life. What it is, and how it lives, depends entirely on a design put together by scientists of the J. Craig Venter Institute and held on the institute’s computers in Rockville, Maryland, and San Diego, California.

1 comment:

wojtek said...

It also shakes the fundaments of western ontology and christianity, because the question of whether such a creature can have a soul, arises.

After all, God designed humans to be similar to him. Therefore, we should be able to create life too. And we are, as we can see now. So, logically, if we are able to create life, like God did it, we should also be able to equip this life with a soul.

Are we, or are we not able to do so, this will be a subject of the next big discussion among scholars.

And really, if we are able to produce life/soul, what else, so special, is left in the concept of God?

Not only religions, but dualists will have a problem now.

It is interesting however, how simple the creation of life could be, and how horribly obscure the truth is. We are nothing more than just a mathematical formula.

"I always knew it was going to be like that".

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I am director of the Media and Persuasive Communication (MPC) network at Bangor University where I also lecture on political-economy of the media. I am currently working on a book provisionally titled Deconstructing Privacy for Peter Lang and leading two empirical projects in connection with privacy perception and the use of new media for smoking cessation. I am author of Creativity and Advertising: Affect, Events and Process (Routledge, 2013); The Mood of Information: A Critique of Behavioural Advertising (Continuum, 2011); and Digital Advertising (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2009). Please contact me at if you are interested in Ph.D supervision or consultancy services.