The Biopunk Reader

13Jan/110

Glimpses Into Our Biopunk Future

I recently received a massive amount of intelligence from my good friend, Bender. He's got a window to the future in his mud room (kind of a long story, something involving the room's hidden dog house entrance, his father's fax machine, and a paradox in the space-time continuum), and occasionally he's able to dial through for glimpses of what-may-come-to-be. Predictions can be pretty dodgy--the window seems to flicker between several different futures. He's reported one involving the Singularity, one that looks an awful lot like cyberpunk, and several varieties of dystopia.

I told him about my biopunk blogging project and asked if he's had any glimpses of future biotech. Lucky me--he caught a look at a very biopunk future several days later! Here's what he found:

In the future, computers are built of bacteria, yeast, and even our own cells. The cells act like logic gates and can be programmed for any number of activities, including patrolling our bodies for diseases--and treating them. Cancer? A thing of the past. And most medications have been rendered obsolete. Goodbye to doctor visits as we know them.

DIY science and biohacking are common. Many families keep a home lab, where they make their own observations and perform self modifications. Moms no longer teach their little girls how to apply makeup; they design them amethyst-colored eyes and perfect noses, instead.

Synthetic biology has changed the fields of medicine and agriculture--and have unintended consequences on the ecosystem, despite good intentions. Thankfully, the synthlife seems to do as much good as bad--because of microbes that eat waste sludge and scrub smog from the skies, pollution is under control.

With the development of biomimetic transistors, humans are developing into part-machine organic cyborgs. Like I said, "Goodbye to doctor visits as we know them." A physician examination is almost completely computerized; just jack into the outlet and let your body tell the medic system how you're doing. In fact, most people can do this from home--forget office visits with long waits.

That's it for now, but Bender's getting more notes to me every day. As long as this window remains stable (he's been able to keep it open for several days now), he'll be sharing more tidbits.

--Christine

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