Artificial Intelligence is one of the ‘hot topics’ in science; recently, Tesla’s Elon Musk announced he was beginning a new venture, Neuralink, to “merge the human brain with AI”. But apart from visions of cyborgs dancing the heads of science fiction writers, what are the implications of Artificial Intelligence? For the general public? For researchers? And for the future of employment?
Twenty years ago, Dolly, the first sheep cloned from an adult cell, was revealed to the world. Since then, cloning and genetic manipulation technologies have advanced considerably. Should we welcome a new era of genetic science? Or is our knowledge growing faster than our wisdom? We are looking for the most well thought out answer to this question in up to 150 words: use the comment feature below the blog and please feel free to promote your research! The winner will receive an Amazon gift certificate worth £50 and a bag full of Mendeley items; competition closes April 12, 2017.
On February 22, 1997, the Roslin Institute in Scotland announced the arrival of Dolly, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell. According to the Institute, “in the week following the announcement…(we) received 3,000 phone calls from around the world”. Dolly had captured the public’s imagination about the potential of cloning, which at one point had been thought to be impossible.
Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, the 2012 winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine was intellectually stimulated by Dolly’s arrival. He subsequently investigated how the adult DNA which had been used to create Dolly had been revivified. The eventual result was “induced pluripotent stem cells”, which “have become a scientific workhorse, providing limitless supplies of differentiated cells and tissue for use in the lab” (Economist, 2017). They also are “an invaluable tool for modelling human diseases and screening drugs” (Economist, 2017).\
Cloning technologies have always been controversial. Many ethicists and public figures have questioned whether scientists have the right to “play God” and alter the building blocks of humanity. Some countries, including the United States, have implemented restrictions on this research.
Send in the Clones?
Are these concerns overblown? Or is our knowledge growing faster than our wisdom? What is the future of cloning in your view? Tell us!
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“Brexit means Brexit” according to Prime Minister Theresa May; however, this statement masks a series of complex questions. For example, what will be the future relationship between the United Kingdom and European Union? Will Britain participate in European funding programmes such as Horizon 2020? Will researchers from the European Union still flock to Britain’s globally renowned universities to do their work? How are the universities adjusting to these seismic changes?