Scientist Says "Never in Our Imagination Could This Happen." Famous Last Words?

Whenever a scientist says something like, don’t worry our new experiment could never get out of the lab, or don’t worry the miniature black hole we are going to generate couldn’t possibly swallow up the entire planet, I tend to get a little worried. The problem is that just about every time a scientist has said something is patently absurd, totally impossible or could never ever happen, it usually turns out that in fact it isn’t as impossible as they thought. Now here’s a new article about scientists creating new artificial lifeforms, based on new genetic building blocks — and once again there’s one of those statements. I’m guessing that this means that in about 10 years some synthetic life form is going to be found to have done the impossible and escaped from the lab — perhaps into our food supply, or maybe into our environment. Don’t get me wrong — I’m in favor of this kind of research into new frontiers. I just don’t think anyone can guarantee it won’t escape from the lab.

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One Response to Scientist Says "Never in Our Imagination Could This Happen." Famous Last Words?

  1. sina says:

    In my opinion, a scientist should always consider all cases, whether they seem likely or not. Escaping from a lab is what any moving object can do.
    We should probably look at it from another perspective: how can we make sure that these creatures are ‘constructive’ not only for us but for themselves and others (like plants etc.)
    A practical solution for measuring constructiveness is to find a way to decide what outputs an entity should generate to its inputs, i.e. what is good to do and what is not. But it’s not easy unless enough information is provided along with the power of processing them.
    I may be completely wrong.
    Nice blog :o)