Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A More Organic Future (And Maybe Not So Green)

Our brains have somehow been trained to think of the future to be this bright, cold, metallic place. What comes to my mind is flying cars, lots of glass, and robots without personalities. But that might not be the only future in store for us. Today, I want to challenge that idea. I want to offer up a different setting for the days beyond tomorrow. What if instead of becoming more metallic and cold, it gets warmer and more organic?

I came across this post while reading through io9 last week. This we've been doing for a while now: mimicking nature instead of trying to dominate over it. Somehow, when we fight against nature, she always comes out victorious and we end up cleaning up some kind of mess she leaves behind. So, perchance is it better to imitate nature and do what she does. But this got me thinking and digging a little bit more. What happens when we put the two together: when we try dominating mother nature by doing as she does?

It's called bioengineering, and I doubt it really needs an explanation. But it's already going on today. Think of all the food we eat that has been potentially genetically modified. BOOM! Bioengineered! That's not all that exciting to be honest. Changing genes and the like has been part of science fiction for the last few decades. That's nothing new. But what could be new is using organisms as our technology? Yeah, we can already do that. We have already used E. Coli as a hard drive. What happens when we start using ourselves in the technology? Like, I don't know, making memristors with human blood? What? That's already happened? What's happening to my cold and metallic future?

Please tell me that the machinery will still be just that, just machinery. Well, apparently, one of the ways scientists are are thinking to make computers in the future is by threading nerve cells with superconductors. That's just crazy. We can build technology in our image.

This is where science is leading us. It looks like the only thing that will be cold and metallic in this future are the laboratories and factories where such technology will be fabricated. I'm not scared of it though. I'm welcoming it. We're already becoming one with the machines we use everyday.

But in all honesty, I don't know what to expect, but that's the wonder about the future: we change it everyday.

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