The ‘informatization of the worldview’ will have profound implications for science and society as well for our own self-understanding, and will lead to new innovations such as deep learning algorithms in computer science, CRISPR in biology, prosthetic limbs in medicine and cognitive behavioral therapy in psychology.
To get access to insights into the genetic background of inhabitants and the frequency of diseases in the population, countries – including the U.K., Japan, China, U.S. and France – are trying to complete national genome projects. Genetic material seed banks provide insurance against the extinction of animals/plants by preserving genetic resources. Furthermore, both the US and China now label biotech a priority for national security and are investing heavily in research and development, while the EU seems to be taking a different path by strictly regulating new biotechnologies. Meanwhile, emerging markets such as India and Brazil will play a more important role in the global biotech industry.
The term refers to the application of the convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science to improve human performance. With this, we increasingly monitor ourselves and respond to data to work on our mental performance. We are trying to decode our eating, sleeping and activity patterns to improve our health and well-being.
Food is becoming an increasingly important resource for countries. As such, nutritional building blocks of food are now rebundled into better food products with higher yields. For example, by improving the energy efficiency of the natural process of photosynthesis in crops, or by changing certain traits to make crops more resistant to climate change, efficiency is increased at a more granular level. And food production is also moving into the realm of medicine to develop ‘neutraceuticals’: pharmaceutical-grade and standardized nutrients that produce clean protein using cellular agriculture.
The secret building block of the universe is information: cities, natural ecosystems, computers, the human brain all function as information-processing systems. This fundamentally new way of conceptualizing human being, characterizes the ‘informatization of the worldview’ in the last decades. It has had profound implications for science and society, leading to new innovations such as deep learning algorithms in computer science, CRISPR in biology, prosthetic limbs in medicine and cognitive behavioral therapy in psychology.
With information as the fundamental building block of reality, scientists try to decode nature and life in terms of information processes and analyze or manipulate this data in digital systems, before ‘reentering’ the physical realm. Think, for example, of the genetic modification of crops. The desire for immortality, enhanced human capabilities and designer babies are intrinsically linked to this trend. On a societal level, climate change demands new forms of agriculture, further fuelling the interest in synthetic biology.