It’s easy to hear the word “artificial” and just assume that whatever pretentious professor you’re listening to is just rambling on about how artificial intelligence will never quite match actual intelligence. I have to admit that’s almost what I did, until I read an article chronicling Harvard scientists’ creation of artificial life.
Neal Devaraj and Itay Budin have essentially created a consuming organism from only raw materials found on the Earth. What this means is they may have uncovered the mystery behind how life originated on this planet. Pretty cool, huh? Of course, this is something very new, but according to the scientists its also very simple.
In our system, we use a sort of primitive catalyst, a very simple metal ion. The reaction itself is completely artificial. There’s no biological equivalent of this chemical reaction. This is how you could have a de novo formation of membranes.
It’s trivial and can be done in a day. New people who join the lab can make membranes from day one.
The simplicity of the process is huge. That they case easily integrate new doctors into their research who can easily learn this base technique and expand from there will certainly make for some interesting discoveries in the near future. My first thought was, “Can I have my very own Bishop (Aliens).” But that would be that easily confused artificial intelligence. It sounds like this is the beginning or the growth of actual human beings. Think more along the lines of Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) in Moon.
Like faster-than-light neutrinos, this is a discovery that will be scrutinized by every scientist on the planet just to verify that no one made any mistakes and that the process can be replicated. But if this pans out, big things will be happening in the future. Read the doctor-talk version over at Physorg if you want a more detailed description of the actual process. It’s way over my head.