Saturday, 20 October 2012

SF - a new species or not!

 A new species of Human

Its the season for catching colds and flu. If you are over 65 in the UK you will be offered a flu jab. A school was closed for 2 days last week because of an outbreak of shigella. Wouldn't it be wonderful if humans could be infection free? However, what if it required creating an entirely new species incapable of inter-breeding with us or even sharing our food?
This could be the result of experiments in synthetic biology, a rapidly emerging field that is reprogramming the genetic code to create organisms and functions not found in nature. This could result in producing endless supplies of renewable energy, increased longevity and the return of long extinct species. Scientists working in this field could speed up evolution and direct it to meet humanities needs.
All this could introduce a variety of dysfunctions or handicaps and even produce super viruses more dangerous than chemical or nuclear weapons.

Sound fantastic? The product of an Asimov, Wyndham or Wells? Not at all these are ideas from a book by Church and Regis who have carried out work on the emerging synthetic biology. It actually raises numerous moral and philosophical quandaries but what a great wealth of stimuli for the SF writers amongst our clan. Let your imagination run wild eg.

1. If endless and renewable energy were produced what would happen to the oil sheikhs, massive oil companies and the motor car?
2. A new species of human with whom us ordinary folk couldn't mate or share a meal. What about racism and discrimination in those circumstances.

Just a couple of ideas.


Homo Supersapiens

Disease resistant
Icily unknowable
Theirs is the future
©David L Atkinson October 2012

God Bless