Aggiornato il: 29 mar 2019
Artificial life is no longer a sci-fi idea. Some years ago we would have seen these two words as something unrealistic and unattainable. It is in fact possible nowadays to recreate life artificially in a laboratory. Artificial life has the aim of creating life with the help of computers, robotics and biochemistry, studying the fundamental process of "living systems" artificially. In the last 50 years science has been making big steps forward in the artificial bio-chemical field.
The first work was carried out in 1965 by Arthur Kornbergha,the winner of the Nobel Prize for Science, who made the first DNA Synthesis artificially. In 2007 Graig Venter produced for the first time in history semi/artificial bacteria and, after only 2 years, he was able to control the first cell produced by a computer program in the laboratory.
In 2014 the scientists of the "Scripps Research Institute" created a first semi-synthetic organism that stored and retrieved unnatural information. They generated a bacterium with two unnatural bases, called X and Y, which could a day help them produce new molecules for medical therapies.
Scientific progress can improve human living conditions. It can change our lives for better though presenting risks. In fact even if it has the same aim as the traditional model of biological reproduction, the creation of artificial life can contrast with ethical principles.
In the health sector AL could be a very important and useful weapon against cancer and it could be used to create personalized costumes.
Moreover it could help our habitat with microorganisms (produced artificially) able to destroy carbon dioxide and clean polluted waters. On the other hand AL could be used for dangerous purposes. The virtual use of bacteria as biological weapons could bring catastrophic consequences, like the murder of millions of people in a short time.
By Federico Cimaglia, Filippo Amerio, Sara Passeri, Sara Pelliccia