11 December 2006

Towards the Bio-Fabber

One of the reasons I think copyright issues regarding text, images, music etc. are important is that they are a foretaste of when things will get really interesting, in two quite separate spheres.

The first is that of virtual worlds, where everything is digital, and therefore potentially able to be copied. The CopyBot incident in Second Life was a hint of what is to come there. Perhaps even more disturbing is the second: once three-dimensional fabbers are perfected and become cheap, and you can start copying physical objects, so-called real-world economies are going to have a lot of problems.

But it looks like there's a stage even beyond that. New Scientist reports that a kind of Bio-Fabber is already in the early stages of development:

An inkjet device that prints tiny “bio-ink” patterns has been used to simultaneously grow two different tissues from the stem cells of adult mice. Surgeons could one day use the technology to repair various damaged tissues at the same time, the researchers say.

Now, put together copyright with issues of privacy and identity....

Update: Here's a rather deeper meditation on the same subject, with a rather wittier title: "Bioprinters vs. the Meatrix".

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