Cory Doctorow: "I, Row-Boat; Talk of the Nation: Constructing Life Creates Questions of Ethics
Just when I thought my course long research and teaching of the history of Science Fiction short stories this semester was leaving me somewhat jaded... I came across Cory Doctorow's fascinating short story "I, Row-Boat" (2006), originally published in the first issue of Flurb, and which I found in Gardner Dozois's The Year's Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection. Robbie the Row-Boat is one of my all-time favorite characters and Doctorow's story through it's vision of uniquely uplifted sentiences, AI avatars and downloaded humans gives us another opportunity to ponder the meaning of it all.
Then I popped online to do some research and I come across this report:
Constructing Life Creates Questions of Ethics
Talk of the Nation (NPR)
Scientists are getting closer to creating artificial life in the lab. But is society ready for custom-made organisms? Synthetic biology has the potential to dramatically change fields from agriculture to medicine to zoology. But how will society cope with the ability for a lone researcher to — for example — build a polio virus from scratch in a private lab?
Paul Rabinow, author of Making PCR: A Story of Biotechnology, and Drew Endy, an MIT professor of biological engineering, talk with guest host Joe Palca about the promise and potential perils of synthetic biology. What protections need to be in place as research proceeds?
To Listen to the Episode
A good, warm night for thinking...