Imagine two geeks, after one nine-hour flight from Heathrow, two trips through customs, three checked bags, two Coronas and one missed flight back home to San Francisco, stuck in the Calgary airport. Someone, inevitably, brings up programmable nanotech.
Me: “But we can already program bacteria to do all that stuff.”
Gary: “Bacteria are too slow!”
Me: “Well do you want it done fast or do you want it done right?”
Or something like that. I don’t really remember, having been both drunk and deliriously jet lagged at the time, but a conclusion was reached that I should read more of the existing literature on programmable nanotech. (Yes, from the 80s. Psh.)
There’s another point to be made here, though, now that I’m home, sober, and have caught up on my New Scientist RSS feed. I may have mentioned in a previous post that I’m a huge biology nerd. DNA is an amazing, self-replicating machine, with a brilliant mechanism for dealing with a constantly changing universe built in. If there is a way to solve a problem, biology has probably already done it.
Life, as it turns out, is the ultimate user experience.