BSC-1005 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Synthetic Biology

Biological Science
Course Code
G.Bates, G.Erickson, S.Lenhert, C.Schultz, H.Tang, C.Schultz

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Florida State University
Textbook Chapter 9 Notes
Chapter 9:
Societal Implications
Societal Implications
Intelligence is a property generally thought of to be uniquely associated with
human life, and possibly some other animals.
Artificial intelligence is a subject with a variety of societal implications.
Computers can be thought of as intelligent, since it can come up with
solutions unknown to humans and can out beat human minds when it comes
to mathematical games such as chess.
Similar to computers, a vast amount of science fiction deals with scenarios
by which intelligent machines take over the world.
Reality is that computers generally tend to make people’s lives different
but better in too many ways to describe.
Law and ethics
Law is another field that must continuously adapt in response to technological
advancements such as synthetic biology. Law is influenced by public
perception and the ethics (morality) of those people to be governed by laws.
Example, the patent law. Inventors who create new ideas can protect
those ideas in the form of patents. Idea is to courage innovation. They
aren’t typically granted to objects found in nature, exceptions can be made
to those that are truly human-made, or synthetic. Can slow technological
Another important example of the role of law in technological developments
involves regulations to ensure safety.
In the case of nanomaterials, the molecular structures or atomic elements
present in a certain type of material may be non-toxic in their bulk form,
but it is also known that their physical and biological properties may
change when structured at the nanoscale.
God can be considered the creator of life and the question therefore arises as
to whether creating life synthetically is “playing God.” Debates in the past
includes GMOs and stem cell research.
Synthetic biology has not reached the goal of creating a completely synthetic
life form, yet it is likely to happen at some point in the future.
With our current technologies, our current rates of development and
standards of life aren’t sustainable.
Approach to solving the problem is led by the environmental protection
agency (EPA) to continue to advance science and technology so that we
can live more efficiently without destroying the environment.
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