MindBullets 20 Years

Life gets smart

When synthetic life meets artificial intelligence

“We as humans are an intrinsically technological species,” said Mustafa Suleyman in 2024, “and everything in our world flows from intelligence and life.” The development of smart systems (artificial intelligence) and bioengineering (synthetic life) are the two most powerful technologies, ever.

And they are changing our world in basic and fundamental ways. Smart chatbots and online assistants are handling customer queries, automating news and information flows, verifying identities, and completing tax returns. More sophisticated systems are diagnosing cancer, discovering new drugs, and supercharging scientific research.

And we haven’t even mentioned how smart sensors and robotics are making driverless cars safer and giving helper robots the ability to have meaningful conversations with their humans.

But it’s in the bioengineering field where even more profound changes in the way our world works are on the brink of exploding onto the scene. Aided by AI, biotech researchers have discovered ways to go far beyond simple cut-and-paste genetic manipulation. Now we’re starting to assemble synthetic organisms and novel microbes to take over from machines and chemical processes.

We’re also developing ways to reliably alter cellular design for animals and humans, to cure diseases, suppress mutations, and encourage desirable traits. Designer babies and youthful, healthy geriatrics are just some of the potential ‘products’ coming down the tracks.

When we’re able to resurrect extinct species, or even design fantasy creatures and enable them to survive, then we truly will have entered the era of synthetic life. Aside from the ethical questions, the biggest concern is whether we can control our ‘creations’ and prevent undesirable mutations and evolution.

And then, will we be prepared to also make them smart – like us?

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer.