Doug Vining Blurring world boundaries

Online worlds such as Second Life in which users create almost everything that furnishes and populates the place are harbingers of a future where the line between the real and virtual becomes almost impossible to draw.

"Cyberspace will be leaking into the real world," said science-fiction visionary Vernor Vinge during a session at the Siggraph conference that discussed whether the rise of user-generated worlds was a fad or the start of something more profound.

Posted: 14 August 2007 at 22:00

Doug Vining Biofabs booming

“Biofabs” produce made-to-order genes, the stretches of DNA that contain the instructions for living creatures. The foundries take orders over the Internet from pharmaceutical companies or academic scientists and ship back the finished genes in as little as a week or two. The genes can be used to genetically engineer bacteria or other cells to make proteins, or in various types of biological research.
Posted: 14 September 2007 at 07:07

Doug Vining Online worlds to be AI incubators

Online worlds such as Second Life will soon become training grounds for artificial intelligences.

Researchers at US firm Novamente have created software that learns by controlling avatars in virtual worlds.

Initially the AIs will be embodied in pets that will get smarter by interacting with the avatars controlled by their human owners.
Posted: 14 September 2007 at 07:09

Doug Vining I am creating artificial life

Craig Venter, the controversial DNA researcher involved in the race to decipher the human genetic code, has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth.

The announcement, which is expected within weeks and could come as early as Monday at the annual meeting of his scientific institute in San Diego, California, will herald a giant leap forward in the development of designer genomes. It is certain to provoke heated debate about the ethics of creating new species and could unlock the door to new energy sources and techniques to combat global warming.
Posted: 7 October 2007 at 19:27

Doug Vining Designer babies

Embryo work sparks 'designer babies' row
New Zealand Herald - 14 May 2008
News that scientists have for the first time genetically altered a human embryo is drawing fire from some watchdog groups that say it's a step toward creating "designer babies".
Posted: 16 May 2008 at 10:18

Doug Vining First artificial DNA

First DNA molecule made almost entirely of artificial parts:

Chemists in Japan report development of the world's first DNA molecule made almost entirely of artificial parts. The finding could lead to improvements in gene therapy, futuristic nano-sized computers, and other high-tech advances, they say.
Posted: 8 July 2008 at 12:41

Doug Vining From virtual world to the real one in 3D

Long ago (in 2007) before the iPad, we published a MindBullet which contained seemingly preposterous news from the future. It speculated that one day, we would be able to create artificial life forms, pets if you like, from online game characters designed by players.

Now that might be a little far-fetched, or not, depending on how quickly Craig Venter gets his artificial bacteria and algae to do his bidding. But long before that, in fact right now, you can take your (inanimate) designs from an online game called Minecraft, and print them out in 3D.

Just like that, news from the future becomes news from today. Well almost.
A FuturesForum post (titled: "From virtual world to the real one in 3D") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 8 August 2011 at 15:44

Doug Vining Synthetic life

When we published this MindBullet in 2007, we thought that it would be decades before people started churning out artificial life forms from computer designs. But this report of a computer-designed chromosome surviving replication in a yeast cell makes it look like a scenario that has come a whole lot closer.

Of course, it's going to be some time before we can manufacture dragons and orcs, but just think of the possibilities, possibly a bit scary?
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Synthetic life") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 2 April 2014 at 12:58

Doug Vining Bio-hacking the future

Should we make glow-in-the-dark pets and hornless rhinos? There are arguments for and against this idea. What about eradicating malaria mosquitoes using synthetic genetics? Most Africans would be in favour, but some greenies would oppose it as interfering with nature. There could be unintended consequences to deleting a species.

Whatever your view on the ethics or wisdom of synthetic organisms and life forms, the fact is it's becoming increasingly easier to contemplate these choices, as synthetic biology advances in the lab. One day we might be faced with the possibility of creating mythical creatures that live and breathe straight from a 3D printer!

But in the nearer future, we could synthesize microbes and living organisms like yeast and bacteria that revolutionize industry, for example eating sawdust and excreting diesel, or removing heavy metals from water effluent. Do the obvious benefits outweigh the risk of creating superbugs?
A FuturesForum post (titled: "Bio-hacking the future") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 7 January 2015 at 11:30

Doug Vining Synthetic biology is the new IT

Matt McKnight - CCO, Ginkgo Bioworks (updated)

A FuturesForum post (titled: "Synthetic biology is the new IT") refers to this MindBullet. The full FuturesForum post can be read here:
Posted: 11 September 2018 at 18:21
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