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Artificial life 'likely' discovered in next ten years


08:31, June 24, 2013

Recent reports from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) say that major scientific breakthroughs, including the discovery of artificial and extraterrestrial life, are "likely" within the next ten years.

"Vision 2020: The Emerging Trends in Science and Technology and Strategic Options in China," recently published by CAS, addresses the ten fields (energy, resources, materials and manufacturing, information, agriculture, population health, biology and the environment, space, oceans and "cutting edge" sciences) it considers most likely to see groundbreaking achievement in the next ten years. The book also predicts that China will play a major role in 19 of the 22 anticipated discoveries and includes a blueprint for China’s scientific development. According to the book, the US biologists succeeded in synthesizing the genomic sequencing of mycoplasma in 2010, creating bacterial cells that can be controlled and replicated by the sequencing.

Artificial life is one such predicted discovery. In 2010, American biologists successfully synthesized a mycoplasma, which the book says bodes well for the eventual discovery of artificial life. The mycoplasma synthesis, according to "Vision," implies the possibility of "synthetic molecules, cell organelles and eukaryotic cell chromosomes that are pivotal in artificial life."

"Vision" also anticipates significant extraterrestrial discoveries in the coming decade, citing as evidence NASA’s recent Martian exploration, during which traces of water reserves were found. "The discovery [of extraterrestrial life] will greatly expand people’s scope in understanding the life phenomena and its ultimate rules," according to "Vision."

According to Bai Chunli, the president of CAS and the head of the book’s editorial group, current scientific trends are being driven by the desire for sustainable development and by the economic incentive to cash in on new discoveries.

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