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abstract

To what extent would creation of artificial life be beneficial to humans?

07/05/2023| By
Tridhaman Tridhaman Batra Walia
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Abstract

This paper discusses the potential benefits and risks of creating artificial life and raises the question of whether it would be beneficial to humans. The author explains that artificial life can be created in a lab using natural biology or engineering, and that it has the potential to revolutionize medicine and vaccine development. However, the author also acknowledges the ethical concerns surrounding artificial life, particularly the potential for it to be used as a bio-weapon or to cause environmental harm. The paper concludes that while the benefits of artificial life are significant, the risks outweigh them and that caution must be exercised to ensure that the technology is used responsibly.

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To what extent would the creation of artificial life be beneficial to humans?

Tridhaman Batra Walia

Oct 27, 20229:00 PM IST

Artificial life is using natural biology to make artificial systems or when using engineering to make living systems (“Introduction to Artificial Life for People who Like AI”). Artificial life created in a lab can grow and divide like natural bacteria. Synthetic cells can grow and divide into cells of uniform shape and size, just like the majority of natural bacterial cells, when Mycoplasma bacteria components are combined with a chemically synthesised genome. Although people have been working on it since the last century, it has started to be true to its name recently. For example, a few months ago a research team led by Prof. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz made Synthetic mouse embryos in CalTech. “Synthetic” means that it was made without using a mother’s egg and a father’s sperm. It was developed using a stem cell. The mouse embryos had both a brain and a heart (“'Synthetic mouse embryos' made in a lab, without a mom and dad”).

So the question now is, will the ability of humans to create life from non-living material have a negative impact on the value of life?

There are many discussions if artificial life is ethical or not. One possible danger is the creation of bio-weapons using the processes. Some people believe that the Coronavirus was a bio-weapon. Scientists worry that if the organism escapes from the cell, it could mutate into a deadly pathogen or it could affect the environment in a bad way. If it was true, then it is evident that artificial life poses a severe threat to humans. Safety systems should be created to prevent such things in the future. We are still trying to figure out this organism. We might be releasing it in areas of pollution (with the aim to clean it), but we will end up releasing a new type of pollution.

If these systems are managed properly, then they can lead to an immensely positive impact. A positive impact of this is that medicines and vaccines will be created using this process in the near future (“'Artificial life' breakthrough announced by scientists”).

If humans acquire the ability to create synthetic life, it will have some very important consequences. It will provide large benefits but also risks. If this technology is in the right hand then it can be used to create medicines and vaccines. However, if it is in the wrong hand then it can be used as a bio-weapon, it could form a new type of pollution, etc. To conclude, I would say although there are many advantages that this technology gives but the disadvantages outweigh them. Even if there will be many rules and regulations to make sure this technology is in the right hands, one leak will lead to something such as a cyberwar. (“Is Synthetic Life Dangerous?”).

Sources

“'Artificial life' breakthrough announced by scientists.” BBC, 20 May 2010, https://www.bbc.com/news/10132762. Accessed 26 October 2022.

“Artificial life made in lab can grow and divide like natural bacteria.” New Scientist, 29 March 2021, https://www.newscientist.com/article/2272899-artificial-life-made-in-lab-can-grow-and-divide-like-natural-bacteria/. Accessed 27 October 2022.

“Introduction to Artificial Life for People who Like AI.” The Gradient, 25 November 2019, https://thegradient.pub/an-introduction-to-artificial-life-for-people-who-like-ai/. Accessed 26 October 2022.

“Is Synthetic Life Dangerous?” Live Science, 27 May 2010, https://www.livescience.com/8296-synthetic-life-dangerous.html. Accessed 27 October 2022.

“'Synthetic mouse embryos' made in a lab, without a mom and dad.” The Economic Times, 27 August 2022, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/new-updates/synthetic-mouse-embryos-made-in-a-lab-without-a-mom-and-dad/articleshow/93822804.cms?from=mdr. Accessed 26 October 2022.

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Submitted by7 May 2023
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