Ramez Naam on The Digital Biome
Exponential technologies offer the promise not only of changing the human condition, but of radically altering the face of the planet on which we dwell. Within the next 20 years we will have sequenced the genome of every known species on the earth and tremendously advanced our understanding of how to utilize those genes and reprogram those organisms to alter the biosphere. Biosphere engineering will play a major role in overcoming current environmental and resource challenges, including finite reserves of fossil fuels and looming changes to the earth’s climate. That is just the beginning. An understanding of the complete biome genome will bring tremendous agility in combating future infectious disease outbreaks, in creating new sensors and manufacturing capabilities, and in revolutionizing food. Biosphere engineering and its underlying technologies will allow us to dramatically raise the population carrying capacity of the planet to tens of billions of individuals at least. With effective technology to sculpt the planetary biome, the limits of the number of humans that can live on the planet, and the quality of life of each, at tremendously higher than they appear to be today. This talk will explore some of the lower bounds of what's possible with control of the biome.
Anthropocene - he thinks it started ten thousand years ago with early agriculture.
40,000 petagrams of carbon in the oceans.
Talks about 13,000 years ago when the ice age ended, Younger Dryas, temperatures rose 15 degrees over a few decades.
All of the climate change and global warming and peak oil needs to have the response of what we should be doing anyway to fix air pollution. Factory mass produced deep burn nuclear reactors
Fishing getting tougher -- my response is fish farming with genetic modification
Fresh water issue
Surprise pathogens - sars, resistant MRSA, NDM-1 superbug,
Defense Tools- biology as infotech
At $10 per genome by 2020, we can sequence millions of people and millions of species affordably.
Venter has been funded by Exxon ($600 million) to develop synthetic organisms for biofuels.
DARPA and the military goal is to use 50% biofuel by 2020. 2013 goal is $5/gallon for biofuel.
Tobacco mosaic virus modified to create photovoltaic cells, 10 nanometers in size.
Genetically modified eukalyptus tree (grows twice as fast)
AquAdvantage salmon grows faster.
Coccolithiophor (30% of calcification in the ocean)
Mature biotech can support 300 billion humans on earth.
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