Scientists are creating a “new way of life”

Their creators They call them “xenobots” They claim to be a new way of life. Biological machines that can move on their own, organize themselves into swarms, self-heal, and have a rudimentary memory capacity. A new organism created by man, according to some experts, It will change our definition of life itself In the not-too-distant future.

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Researcher and biologist Michael Levine And Joshua Bongard, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Vermont, They just introduced it in the studio Show how Make them out of frog cells. In January 2020, these two researchers did They actually introduced a more primitive way of life (Below these lines) using the same principles. Now, a year on, your Xenobots 2.0 can do much more than that. They are, according to Levine, Door to a new galaxy of strange things.

Xenobot 1.0, the first 100% organic robot (Tufts / Vermont)

A being without a mind seems to be thinking

Unlike other experiments creating organic robots, Levine and Bongard claim that these new organisms weren’t created with cellular scaffolds or were programmed to perform a specific function, but rather It has grown “shaped” by visual, surgical, chemical and genetic stimuli.

The result is small, multicellular robots that are completely autonomous and able to move on their own using cilia, the thread-like organelles that generate movement. These organisms are not only able to move in liquid media but also exhibit unusual properties of their own.

And one of them is that they are able to repair themselves. The other thing, most surprisingly, is that they organize themselves in flocks independently, and demonstrate the principles of “group behavior” without any outside instruction.

Not only that: Levin and Bongard claim to be demonstrating that they can write to a “molecular memory” using a phototransformable protein that changes when exposed to a specific frequency in the light spectrum.

Ultimately, they say, these organic machines could be “a platform for studying many aspects of self-assembly, group behaviors, and synthetic bioengineering, as well as” [método para] Providing versatile living machines made of fabric Numerous practical applications in biomedicine [como reparar el organismo humano] And the natural environment. ”

Xenobots can be remembered thanks to the photosensitive protein (Tufts / Vermont)

Pandora’s Box

According to Eva Jablonka, evolutionary biologist at Tel Aviv University He evaluated Levine and Bongard’s work and had nothing to do with the investigation. xenobots are a “new way of life”. And create a new way of life – How to shoot University of Melbourne Kobe Linz digital ethics researcher – opens the way to many ethical issues. “Scientists like to do things but don’t necessarily think about the repercussions,” Linz says.

Levine – who says that since childhood he has always been fascinated by the fact that cells can interconnect and organize without having a “brain” to direct – confirms that this is only the beginning. Xenobots will become more advanced and exhibit more complex behaviors until, ultimately, the life of our generation is surrounded by A large number of new hybrids, cyborgs and robots with strange organic tissues vice versa.

Sooner rather than later, he asserts, we will face the challenge Think about what life is like, Redefine our idea of ​​perception and define what rights these future xenobots should have.

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