Patty Durongwong. Week 4. Pushing the limits in Biology and Technology.

This weeks guest speaker lecture was in some ways rather disturbing to me. Although I tried to level with the idea that a GFP bunny is art but as I think about it more, I still cannot completely accept it as art. I feel that considering the GFP bunny as art is pushing it…just a tad. It’s still science to me and I don’t see the purpose of a genetically turning a bunny green anyway other than perhaps changing skin pigment color. I do not intend to sound epistemically naive but I just cannot see the art behind a green bunny. Although, I do applaud the concept of a genetically engineering a green bunny on a scientific stand point. It is rather amazing that science – but more specifically – biotechnology have advanced thus far. However, it does make me question the purpose of some of these advacements – is it really necessary or are we just working towards some unknown goal to be the most advanced? Perhaps some things may simply serve the purpose to entertain civilization.

On another note, something that really sparked my interest was the concept of Swarm Intelligence. I decided to research more on SI and found a new sub catogory called Swarm Robotics. Swarm robotics is similar to swarm intelligence in that it studies the collective behavior in a self organized system but is more specifically geered towards robots and the developement of interaction between the robots. Swarm intelligence reminds me much of a busy city. Hundreds of people walk along one five foot sidewalk in both directions without (for the most part) running into each other – we turn slightly or walk faster or slower so that we can get to our destination without letting one person walk along the sidewalk at a time. There is not director telling us to move to the left or walk towards the side and most of us do it without using much thought process at all. We simply walk and our body seems to naturally pave a path towards our destinations. Can we use biomimicry to apply this to traffic? It seems rather outrageous if cars can think on its own and instead of traffic lights – go at will and be able to get to a destination without crashing. However, is it really impossible? Perhaps cars can operate without traffic lights or stop signs and have the ability to drive on its own intelligence. Although it seems unthinkable now but just a few years ago wasn’t cars that can parallel park on its own unthinkable? Although rather cliche to say, it seems nothing is impossible. Maybe right now, it may be but with the emergence of nanotechnology and advacements in technology as a whole – we may be able to reach the “impossibles” in the future…and there is no harm in imagining them today.

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