The domesticated biotech future according to Freeman Dyson

nyrbdysonFreeman Dyson, old school physics hero conceptualized his rather philosophical thoughts on future biotechnology in a visionary essay in The New York Review of Books, Volume 54, Number 12 · July 19, 2007.

What is surprising to me that according to Dyson “our biotech future” is centered around genetic engineering only, and there is not even a hint to stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, which is a bit strange concept for me concerning state of the art biology.

Anyhow, I ask the readers to form an autonomic opinion about it. Here are some cites: Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century. Biology is also more important than physics, as measured by its economic consequences, by its ethical implications, or by its effects on human welfare….

I see a bright future for the biotechnology industry when it follows the path of the computer industry, the path that von Neumann failed to foresee, becoming small and domesticated rather than big and centralized. For biotechnology to become domesticated, the next step is to become user-friendly.

Domesticated biotechnology, once it gets into the hands of housewives and children, will give us an explosion of diversity of new living creatures, rather than the monoculture crops that the big corporations prefer.

The final step in the domestication of biotechnology will be biotech games, designed like computer games for children down to kindergarten age but played with real eggs and seeds rather than with images on a screen.