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Category Archives: Human Genetic Engineering

5 things we know about the jobs of the future – World Economic Forum

As the labour market rapidly changes, new, nearly real-time data and metrics give us better insight than ever before into what the jobs of the future will look like.

The kinds of jobs emerging in the global economy span a wide range of professions and skills, reflecting the opportunities for workers of all backgrounds and educational levels to take advantage of emerging jobs and the new economy. Identifying emerging jobs and the skills that they require provides valuable insights to inform training investments, and paves the way for a Reskilling Revolution, as individuals seek new skills to keep pace with change.

But for all of the opportunities that the new economy will bring, there are stark skills gaps and gender gaps that must be addressed. If we dont, they will continue to widen in the future.

Here are five things we can learn from this new data:

Not every emerging job requires hard tech skills, but every emerging job does require basic tech skills such as digital literacy, web development or graphic design. Three of the jobs in the World Economic Forum's Jobs of Tomorrow report cloud, engineering and data clusters, which are also among the fastest-growing overall require disruptive tech skills like artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, or cloud computing. Because technologies like AI are so pervasive, many roles in areas like sales and marketing will require a basic understanding of AI.

These disruptive tech skills are in high demand across the board. Blockchain, cloud computing, analytical reasoning and AI are among the most in-demand tech skills we see on LinkedIn.

While they arent growing as quickly as tech-dominated jobs, new sales, content production and HR roles are also emerging as a complement to the rapidly growing tech industry. Our research shows talent acquisition specialists, customer success specialists and social media assistants among the fastest growing professions all roles that rely on more diverse skills sets, especially soft skills.

Share of skills clusters by selected professional cluster

Image: World Economic Forum

Demand for soft skills is likely to continue to increase as automation becomes more widespread. Our latest Global Talent Trends Report shows that HR professionals are identifying the demand for soft skills as the most important trend globally. Skills like creativity, persuasion, and collaboration which all top our list of most in-demand soft skills are all virtually impossible to automate, which means if you have these skills youll be even more valuable to organizations in the future.

While the data reflects a diversity of opportunities for workers of all backgrounds and educational levels, further analysis shows a worrying imbalance in those obtaining the latest skills. In our ongoing research on gender with the World Economic Forum, we found that the largest gender gaps among emerging jobs are in roles that rely heavily on disruptive tech skills, with the share of women represented across cloud, engineering and data jobs below 30% (for cloud computing its as low as 12%). Its critical to close this gap because these disruptive tech skills will have an outsized impact on the direction of society and the economy.

While there is certainly room to improve gender parity by embracing greater diversity in hiring and more inclusive managerial practices, our data suggests that those gains, while important, will not be sufficient to achieve parity.

We have to think creatively about ways to fill these emerging skills and roles so that we prevent these gaps from intensifying in the future. Our research to understand these issues has uncovered some very achievable, scalable solutions.

Firstly, taking advantage of existing and adjacent talent can make a massive contribution to the rapid expansion of talent pipelines. Our research reveals that training and up-skilling near AI talent could double the pipeline of AI talent in Europe.

Opportunities by selected professional cluster and occupation, 2014-2019

Image: World Economic Forum

Taking a similar approach with the gender gap, weve found that sub-groups of disruptive tech skills where women have higher representation genetic engineering, data science, nanotechnology and human-computer interaction could expand the pipeline of talent for the broader set of tech roles that rely heavily on disruptive tech skills.

While both of these approaches can help us make meaningful progress, closing the skills and gender gaps depends on a lot more than just making sure talent has the right skills. Its a simple truth that who you know matters, so we also have to close the network gap the advantage some people have over others based purely on who they know.

Our research on the network gap shows that living in a high-income neighbourhood, going to a top school and working at a top company can lead to a 12x advantage in accessing opportunities. This means that two people with the exact same skills, but who were born into different neighbourhoods, may be worlds apart when it comes to the opportunities afforded them.

All of these new metrics and insights can help us pinpoint the skills and jobs of the future, but its going to take more than data to ensure that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is an equitable one. If we are going to make meaningful change, we need businesses and political leaders to re-evaluate the norms through which we shape policy, make hiring decisions and ultimately level the playing field for those who face barriers to opportunity.

As we convene at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Im asking leaders to join us in making progress towards closing these gaps. It will create better, more innovative businesses, stronger economies and ultimately help create fairer societies.

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with our Terms of Use.

Written by

Allen Blue, Co-Founder and Vice President, Product Management, LinkedIn

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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5 things we know about the jobs of the future - World Economic Forum

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ASC20 Finals to be Held in Shenzhen, Tasks Include Quantum Computing Simulation and AI Language Exam January 21, 2020 – Quantaneo, the Quantum…

ASC20 set up Quantum Computing tasks for the first time. Teams are going to use the QuEST (Quantum Exact Simulation Toolkit) running on supercomputers to simulate 30 qubits in two cases: quantum random circuits (random.c), and quantum fast Fourier transform circuits (GHZ_QFT.c). Quantum computing is a disruptive technology, considered to be the next generation high performance computing. However the R&D of quantum computers is lagging behind due to the unique properties of quantum. It adds extra difficulties for scientists to use real quantum computers to solve some of the most pressing problems such as particle physics modeling, cryptography, genetic engineering, and quantum machine learning. From this perspective, the quantum computing task presented in the ASC20 challenge, hopefully, will inspire new algorithms and architectures in this field.

The other task revealed is Language Exam Challenge. Teams will take on the challenge to train AI models on an English Cloze Test dataset, vying to achieve the highest test scores. The dataset covers multiple levels of English language tests in China, including the college entrance examination, College English Test Band 4 and Band 6, and others. Teaching the machines to understand human language is one of the most elusive and long-standing challenges in the field of AI. The ASC20 AI task signifies such a challenge, by using human-oriented problems to evaluate the performance of neural networks.

Wang Endong, ASC Challenge initiator, member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Chief Scientist at Inspur Group, said that through these tasks, students from all over the world get to access and learn the most cutting-edge computing technologies. ASC strives to foster supercomputing & AI talents of global vision, inspiring technical innovation.

Dr. Lu Chun, Vice President of SUSTech host of the ASC20 Finals, commented that supercomputers are important infrastructure for scientific innovation and economic development. SUSTech makes focused efforts on developing supercomputing and hosting ASC20, hoping to drive the training of supercomputing talent, international exchange and cooperation, as well as inter discipline development at SUSTech.

Furthermore, during January 15-16, 2020, the ASC20 organizing committee held a competition training camp in Beijing to help student teams prepare for the ongoing competition. HPC and AI experts from the State Key Laboratory of High-end Server and Storage Technology, Inspur, Intel, NVIDIA, Mellanox, Peng Cheng Laboratory and the Institute of Acoustics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences gathered to provide on-site coaching and guidance. Previous ASC winning teams also shared their successful experiences.

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An Interview with Ginkgo Bioworks Reshma Shetty On Co-Founding Synthetic Biologys First Unicorn – Forbes

In co-founding Ginkgo Bioworks, Reshma Shetty has helped enable the entire synthetic biology ... [+] industry while inspiring a generation of new biological engineers. Heres what she told me about starting a biotech company.

Dr. Reshma Shetty is no stranger within the synthetic biology community. In 2008 she co-founded Ginkgo Bioworksa company youll definitely hear about if you havent alreadyalong with fellow MIT grad students Austin Che, Barry Canton, and Jason Kelly, and their graduate adviser, Professor Tom Knight. They started with a simple but revolutionary goal: help people design and build organisms. A decade later, Ginkgo achieved unicorn statusa private company valued at over $1 billionand it finds itself at the fore of the synthetic biology revolution with customers seeking to build organisms for use in fields as diverse as health, food, agriculture, cosmetics and materials.

Shetty has been through the whole journey and has been a major influence in the synthetic biology community. She had a major role in the first International Genetic Engineering Machine (iGEM) Competition with her co-founders. In 2008, she was named one of Eight People Inventing the Future by Forbes and, in 2011, one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.

Shetty is an upbeat talker. If theres any stress or jadedness from navigating a company from birth to unicorn over a decade, it doesnt show. There is a sincere enthusiasm in her voice, especially when we discuss the science. When I caught up with her a few weeks back, one of things I wanted to know was: what do you do when you realize youre riding a biotech unicorn?

What was the moment when you realized that Ginkgo was going to be big?

It was when we closed our Series B financing. It was a $45 million round or roughly speaking, so that was more dollars dumped into our bank account at one instance than we ever had before.

My thought was, well pretty serious people withserious capital are choosing to take a bet on us.

This was confirmed for her in 2017 when Bayer chose to work with Ginkgo on engineering biologicals for agriculture, proving the intrinsic value of their platform and cementing Ginkgo as a platform company.

It proved three things at the time. One, that engineered microbes in the environment could be a thing, that [they] could be a product category. There are serious people taking serious bets that we're going to be able to release engineered microbes in the future. Two, that Ginkgos platform had value even in areas that we hadn't previously been in. Three, it proved to the world that Ginkgo was really a platform company, that we weren't simply going after a few products in the industrial biotech market.

It wasnt easy sailing for Gingko from the start though. Right after the company was founded, the global economy took a nosedive.

I think we incorporated in July of 2008 and, like literally, within the next month or two, the fiscal crisis hit, says Shetty.

In many ways this was not the ideal time to be starting a business and looking for investment, leading to creative thinking in getting the company going.

What did you learn in those early days that biotech companies could benefit from?

At the time everybody said that the way to start a biotech start-up is to go raise money immediately because you need some amount of money to be able to start a lab and get going. The thing I had to learn and realize was that no, actually, it is possible. If you're creative enough, savvy enough and patient enough, then you can in fact bootstrap even a biotech start-up.

Shetty stresses the importance of having the space to figure out their technology platform and business model and ask themselves how to take it forward. Having Knight and his wealth of experience on the team certainly helped.

Tom always said Oh, its a good idea to bootstrap in the early years regardless, based on his prior experience starting companies. But circumstances certainly reinforced that and I think that was really helpful that we spent the first few years bootstrapping the company.

Was it natural having your former advisor on the team?

Yeah, very natural. Tom, hes a pretty low-key guy, but he's also been very ahead of his time when it comes to thinking about the technology and technology trends. Early on it was great because Tom has started and run a company before and there were some obvious pitfalls that he could help us avoid and talk a bit about options.

And your other co-founders, what is it about them that makes them special?

I think probably for me the biggest thing is that we've now been working together for almost 20 years, says Shetty, referencing their time at MIT in the years before Ginkgo.

And even now, if I'm struggling with something or I'm trying to dig through how to solve a problem, I would want to talk to Tom, Barry, Austin, and Jason. I always come away having learned something or clarified my thinking or somehow changed how I was approaching a problem. To me, that is the real hallmark of excellence.

Despite all those shared experiences, they still learn from one another and solve problems together. Shetty considers her colleagues to be mentors too, saying shes benefitted from them as much as from her supervisors through the years.

Anybody can be a mentor, she says.

They are all engineers at heart, so the most exciting things for the Ginkgo team are around potentially world-changing technologies that can jump quickly from dream to reality.

What are the engineering challenges youre most excited about these days?

Bayer and Ginkgo, through our joint venture in Joyn, are going after nitrogen fixation. It has long been a dream of folks. Could we reduce fertilizer usage by using biological nitrogen fixation instead?

This project has been close to Shetty since her academic days, but therapeutics and Ginkgos collaboration with Synlogic, who develop bacteria as living medicines, has also piqued her interest.

There's all these areas of metabolism that lead to devastating diseases and the idea that you could engineer microbes to basically treat them is a cool idea!

Is there any particular problem youd like to solve through engineering biology?

How do you think about leveraging biology to make a positive impact on the environment? That's one I think has been on our wish list for a while.

Enabling the future of synthetic biology is a big part of how Ginkgo operates, even since the early days. The founders were involved in establishing iGEM and their platform is well suited to collaborative efforts.

How do you see Ginkgos role to give back and enable the next generation of synthetic biology?

I think one thing that has been a longstanding ask from folks in the community is how are we going to open up our cell programming platform to more people? Early on, that seemed crazy to even think about, she says, citing the skill set required to use and build it. I think we've come a long way since then so we can say actually maybe we get started thinking about opening up the platform to more folks.

Shetty says initial collaborations like Joyn, (Ginkgo spin-out) Motif, and Synlogic mean they can learn how to open their platform better. Relationships with accelerators like YCombinator and Petri are the next steps. They acknowledge that opening their platform will only benefit and accelerate biological engineering.

Our conversation then moves onto a more human element of running a company, a reminder that its never all about the science.

Do you have any mistakes or regrets in how youve done things?

The biggest regret I have is actually not thinking consciously about diversity and inclusion issues earlier in Ginkgos history. We started thinking about them seriously in about 2015 or so, when we were still relatively small, about 30 people. But we could have thought about diversity and inclusion even earlier.

Shetty reveals its easier to change the balance in a company when its just a handful of people.

Can we be doing better on diversity as a whole?

I would say that synthetic biology as a field has always been pretty good in that it thought about issues outside of just the science and engineering itself. I think the field always fosters that broader perspective. So I think it's been more natural and more normal to think about diversity and inclusion issues in the synthetic biology community as a result, says Shetty, We're by no means beyond reproach but there's more of a willingness to talk about these issues and really try to take proactive steps.

Do you have any advice for those starting a company?

The thing I like to tell people is that, if you're going to start a company, don't do it for the money. There are a lot of easier ways to make money in the world. Start a company because you think a company is really the best way to go tackle a problem that you're passionate about.

Any final thoughts?

I think that we've come a long way in terms of our ability to engineer biology, but we still have a long way to go. Fundamentally, biology is still not yet a predictable engineering discipline and its important to remember that. Because its still not yet predictable, we have to iterate through different designs and search for a functional design whenever we're trying to engineer a GMO. We have more work to yet do to bring down the cost of doing genetic engineering so that we can explore more and more of design space.

Follow me on twitter at @johncumbers and @synbiobeta. Subscribe to my weekly newsletters in synthetic biology and space settlement.

Thank you to David Kirk and Kevin Costa for additional research and reporting in this article. Im the founder of SynBioBeta, and some of the companies that I write about including Ginkgo Bioworks are sponsors of the SynBioBeta conference and weekly digest heres the full list of SynBioBeta sponsors.

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An Interview with Ginkgo Bioworks Reshma Shetty On Co-Founding Synthetic Biologys First Unicorn - Forbes

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Scientists Combine AI With Biology to Create Xenobots, the World’s First ‘Living Robots’ – EcoWatch

This biological fact, combined with overfishing, pollution, and habitat degradation, has resulted in their plight today. An estimated 15 million sturgeon used to exist in the Great Lakes, with fishers bringing in upwards of four million pounds per year between 1879 and 1900. The trade took a serious toll on the species. By 1929, commercial sturgeon fishing had closed in Lake Michigan due to too few fish. And by the end of the century, fishers had taken 80 percent of the sturgeon out of Lake Erie. Meanwhile, dams and development ruined habitat and kept the fish from reaching key spawning grounds. In response to the population crash, most states instituted protections and mandated hunting limits in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Today, only 1 percent of the lake sturgeon's population remains. In addition to the states that list them as threatened, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced in August that it would study whether to list the fish as federally threatened or endangered.

The Right Thing for the Great Lakes

Ryan Koenigs, a fisheries biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is among those dedicated to bringing the lake sturgeon back. He's part of a team that keeps track of every individual caught, and he helps run the registration stations where fishers who spear a sturgeon in Lake Winnebago must go before taking their catch home. Koenigs and his colleagues look for a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag, which offers information about the fish. These tags are implanted in each fish reared or caught and released by the agency. Some individuals caught in the past few years were tagged decades ago. "I'm reaping the benefits right now of what the biologists two generations before me did in the 1970s," Koenigs says.

Restoration efforts also exist in many other states bordering the Great Lakes. In New York, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe harvest sturgeon eggs from the St. Lawrence River and send them to hatcheries in the central part of the state and in Wisconsin. In Michigan, fisheries biologists, researchers, and state agencies successfully protected the sturgeon population in Black Lake and now use the data collected from their efforts to guide their restocking of nearby lakes and streams.

These types of projects replenish waterways with the fish, but the species' recovery has a long way to go. Should conservationists succeed, the fish could end up benefiting the entire ecosystem, notes Ed Baker, a fisheries biologist in Michigan. "If we have a native species fish community that's been degraded, that's a sign that its environment is no longer healthy," he says. "If we can restore lake sturgeon to their prominence, or at least somewhat close to what their prominence was before we started harvesting them, that's a sign that we're doing the right thing for the Great Lakes."

As the lake sturgeon populations rebound, they could help biologists beat back some new threats, too. Notably, they eat invasive zebra and quagga mussels that now blanket the lake beds. They also eat invasive round gobies. All three of these marine species hail from faraway waters and snuck their way in through the ballast water used to balance ships' hulls.

Mysteries Unsolved

In 1995, Baker was tasked with finishing and implementing Michigan's new sturgeon rehabilitation plan. He observed reach after reach, finding only a few places were the fish still existed. One of those was the Upper Peninsula's Black Lake. Locals still spearfished sturgeon, and the population appeared to be falling. In 2001 Baker and Kim Scribner of Michigan State University set out to study the fish and get a rough population estimate. They concluded that over a 25-year period, sturgeon numbers had declined by more than 60 percent.

The state's Department of Natural Resources decided sturgeon spearfishing could continue, but fishers could harvest no more than five fish a year. Baker and his team stocked the lake, too, and the sturgeon population grew. The limit is now up to 14. Still, the population isn't recovering as quickly as expected.

To figure out why, Baker and Scribner continue their research. They also use the information they collect on basic sturgeon biology, genetics, and behavior to inform conservation efforts in other Michigan water bodies.

One major question they hope to answer concerns the timing of the sturgeon's reproduction. As with steelhead and salmon, it appears that the river where sturgeon spend the first summer of life, between May and October, is imprinted on the fish, and they come back to that place to spawn. Confirming this would help in their stocking effortsespecially in reaches where the fish haven't swum for decades.

In addition to the hatchling adopt-and-release program that takes place in September in Milwaukee, Wisconsonites get another opportunity to help biologists in April, when Koenigs does his stock assessments. On the Wolf River near Lake Winnebago, hundreds of thousands of sturgeon ranging in size from four to seven feet long swim along the waterline. Koenigs and his team stand at the ready with nets to pull the fish out of the water, then weigh, measure, and tag them.

When the team finds fish with those tags implanted during the February spearfishing season, they track the data to get a tagged to non-tagged fish ratio, which is then used to set harvest limits. The data collected at each event helps inform how best to manage the species.

"We're on the right path," says Koenigs, who is now prepping for the spearfishing season that begins on Feb. 8. "The work that's being done through these various efforts seems to be showing some pretty promising signs."

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Blade Runner: 10 Facts About Replicants From The Books The Movies Leave Out – Screen Rant

When Ridley Scott set about making Philip K. Dick's novelDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?into a film, he knew there'd be some changes that had to be made to properly adapt it to the silver screen.One of the main alterations had to do with the "androids" in the novel, which Scott feared would be too similar to the Ash character he'd created forAlien.His daughter, studying biology at the time suggested something to do with "replication" and thus the term "Replicants" was born.

RELATED:Blade Runner: 5 Fan Theories That Have Been Debunked (& 5 That Have Been Confirmed)

WhenBlade Runnerwas released, it changed the state of the science fiction genre with its ideas on artificial intelligence, futurism, and empathy. And while several aspects where altered from the concepts of the novel, as the "blade runner" Deckard hunted the rogue Replicants, he discovered what it meant to truly be human in both. Philip K. Dick died shortly before the film was released, but K.W. Jeter wrote several sequels to both the novel and the film. Below you'll find 10 facts about Replicants from the books the movies leave out.

The theatrical version ofBlade Runnerincluded much more exposition in the preamble, as well as a voice-over narration provided by Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard to make sure the plot wasn't too convoluted for viewers to follow. Much of that was lost in theDirector's Cut, so was the extent to which Replicants were mistreated.

One of the main reasons that Roy Batty, Pris, and the other four Replicants escaped the Martian colonies were because they were slaves. They were made as slaves to serve humans, and mistreated egregiously as "skin jobs".Their abuse was largely dropped from the film for making them too sympathetic.

Though it isn't shown in the films, replicant aging can be slowed if the subject is placed into stasis before they begin to shut down, like the Roy Batty unit. This comes up inBlade Runner 2: The Edge of Human,when Rachael is placed into a Tyrell Corp transport container by Deckard after they leave the city at the end of theBlade Runner.

In the book, Deckard lives in a shack outside the city with Rachael, who had to be put into the container to slow her aging process. As long as she's kept inside, she's frozen in time exactly as she was, until Deckard can find a way to permanently keep her from aging. Her ability to reproduce isn't mentioned as a part of her model untilBlade Runner 2049,and is taken fromBlade Runner 3: Replicant Night.

When the Replicants are introduced in Blade Runner,audiences aren't informed about the creative process behind their conception, or why they were created to look the way they do. In the bookBlade Runner 2: The Edge of Human, Deckard meets Sarah, Eldon Tyrell's niece and the template used for Rachael, when she tasks him with finding the "missing" sixth replicant.

RELATED:Rutger Hauer's 10 Most Memorable Roles, Ranked

He also meets the template for Roy Batty, who also desires to find the sixth Replicant. He believe sit to be Deckard. The Batty template has the same superior physical stamina and ruthless intelligence as his Replicant, which begs the question - is he just another improved model?

While Eldon Tyrell is said to be the genius behind the Replicant, other corporations initially created similar synthetic beings, Tyrell Corp simply had a monopoly on the market. Th origins of Tyrell isn't explored inBlade Runner, Blade Runner 2049,or any of the books untilBlade Runner 4: Eye and Talon.

A female blade runner named Iris is given an explanation that the UN destroyed the other manufacturers of replicants in order to create the Tyrell Corp artificially. Eldon Tyrell had simply discovered a way to manufacture them the best, and even help them house the gestalt of a human's consciousness, allowing them to transfer their mind into a new "body" every four years.

InBlade Runner 2: The Edge of Humanand its supplicant sequel novels, it's revealed that a Replicants' personality could be stored in the event that the host unit was destroyed. Rick Deckard kept Roy Batty's personality tucked away in his briefcase.

RELATED:10 Best Sci-Fi Movies About Artificial Intelligence, Ranked

InBlade Runner 4: Eye and Talon, it's revealed that Eldon Tyrell's personality was stored inside the mysterious replicant owl that always fluttered around Tyrell Corp inBlade Runner.Taking the owl and a suitable replicant host body, Eldon Tyrell could be "brought back to life".

In the fourth novel,Blade Runner 4: Eye and Talon,in which a female blade runner Iris searches for the Replicant owl that observed so much in the glory days of Tyrell Corp, readers are introduced to the concept of Replicants as a means to ensure immortality.

RELATED:Master of Sci-Fi: 10 Ways Philip K. Dick Influenced Sci-Fi Movies & TV

Iris finds several Eldon Tyrell Replicants, each with no eyes. This is to reflect when Roy Batty gouged out the eyes of the real Eldon Tyrell. They're waiting for Tyrell's personality (stored in the owl) to be merged, allowing Tyrell to live forever via Replicants.

Something that may not come across inBlade Runneris that humans are encouraged to go Off World by the UN in order to preserve the "genetic integrity" of humans. To entice them to move away from Earth, humans are given Replicants to assist them in their new life on an Off World colony.

These Replicants are called "andys" (short for android) are created by The Rosen Association on Mars, and are released to their human owners when they arrive. The Replicants aren't permitted to return to Earth, but assist their humans until their life span runs out (4 years).

When Deckard meets Rachael and administers the Voight-Kampff questionnaire, with 20-30 questions designed to determine whether or not she's a Replicant, she exceeds 100 questions before he determines that she is. She's been implanted with human memories to make her the most human-like Replicant in existence.

Unless you saw the theatrical version, which included a voice over, you won't have known that Rachael (and all Nexus-7's) have an open-ended life span. This was removed from theDirector's Cutto be left open ended, and in the sequel novel, Deckard is forced to put her in a Tyrell transport container to stop her aging process. InBlade Runner 2049,Nexus-9 Replicants' life spans are also open ended.

Though the preamble inBlade Runnerexplained that Replicants were created as the culmination of advanced robotics and genetic engineering, they can't be compared to the androids in Ridley Scott'sAlienfranchise. Ash and Bishop were full of tubing, wiring, and microchip processors, whereas Scott wanted Roy Batty and Pris to be full of organic tissue.

RELATED:Blade Runner: 5 Things the Movies Left Out (& 5 Things They Added In)

In essence, they needed to appear "grown" in a lab, not fabricated in a machine shop.Scott wanted it visually conveyed that they couldappear more trustworthy to humans by being similar to them. When they're injured, they bleed, and the only reason they were given empathy inhibitors was to prevent them from overriding theVoight-Kampff test. In Philip K. Dick's novel, they're described in much more robotic terms.

In the novelDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?Deckard is more a bounty hunter, less a detective. He agrees to "retire andys" because it'll make him enough money to buy a larger real animal. Since radiation killed most life on Earth, organic animals (as opposed to those that are Replicants) are highly prized for their status.

Deckard lacks any empathy for the Replicants as a contract killer, which is appropriate for his level of hypocrisy, since he rarely shows emotion for his wife or fellow humans. At some point, as in the filmBlade Runner,Deckard has to find a point of change, and learn to become more human by hunting those made in that image.

NEXT:10 Classic Science Fiction Novels That Need A Film Adaptation

NextFriends: 10 Reasons Why Monica and Joey Aren't Real Friends

Kayleena has been raised on Star Wars and Indiana Jones from the crib. A film buff, she has a Western collection of 250+ titles and counting that she's particularly proud of. When she isn't writing for ScreenRant, CBR, or The Gamer, she's working on her fiction novel, lifting weights, going to synthwave concerts, or cosplaying. With degrees in anthropology and archaeology, she plans to continue pretending to be Lara Croft as long as she can.

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This Regenerative Building Material is Made From Sand and Bacteria – Discover Magazine

(Inside Science) -- Castles made of sand could, with the help of bacteria, grow copies of themselves and become as strong as the cement that commonly holds bricks together, a new study suggests.

Such living materials could one day help people colonize Mars, scientists added.

After water, concrete is the most used material on Earth, at a rate of about 3 metric tons used per year for every person in the world. Cement, the primary component of concrete, is the oldest artificial construction material, dating back to the Roman Empire.

Cement and concrete have changed little as technology for more than a century. Now scientists are seeking inspiration from natural processes, such as the way colonies of coral polyps build reefs.

"We want to blur the boundaries between the natural world and the built environment, between what is nonliving and what is living, and create a material that displays both structural and biological functions," said materials scientist Wil Srubar, who heads the Living Materials Laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The researchers started with sand, gelatin and a kind of photosynthetic bacteria known asSynechococcusthat is widespread in ocean surface waters. The gelatin retained moisture and nutrients for the bacteria to proliferate and mineralize calcium carbonate in a way that is similar to how seashells form.

In experiments, the resulting material was roughly as strong as typical cement-based mortars.

"I have a small cube of the material on my desk that is 2 inches across that I can stand on," Srubar said.

The material not only is alive, but can reproduce. When researchers halve one of the bricks, the bacteria can help grow those halves into two complete bricks when supplied with extra sand and gelatin. Instead of manufacturing bricks one by one, the researchers showed they could grow up to eight bricks from one.

"Conventional manufacturing approaches make one widget at a time," Srubar said. "By using one brick to grow two bricks, and then four, and then so on, we can explore the idea of exponential manufacturing of building materials. Given that time is money, I think anyone involved in manufacturing would find speeding up manufacturing time very interesting."

Previous research used bacteria to repair cracks in concrete and oil and gas wells by mineralizing calcium carbonate. However, such work typically used microbes that fare very poorly in typical materials used like cement, which are highly acidic -- only 0.1 percent to 0.4 percent of such bacteria survived after 30 days. In contrast, in this new work, 9% to 14 percent of the bacteria remained viable after 30 days assuming at least 50 percent humidity was maintained.

One challenge the scientists face is that the material needs to get completely dried out to reach its maximum strength, but such drying stresses out the bacteria. To help keep the microbes alive, the researchers currently have to control the humidity surrounding the material.

"We're looking to create a desiccation-tolerant strain of bacteria so that we can get full structural capacity while also enhancing microbial viability in super-dry conditions," Srubar said.

All in all, "we're particularly excited about the possibilities of this material technology in austere environments with limited resources," Srubar said. "If you have microorganisms that can grow structural materials in remote places, that could help build everything from a military installation to human settlements on other planets."

Srubar said the current research acts as a proof of concept for the stronger compounds that could be made with the technique.

Ultimately the scientists envision using microbes that not only help build materials but impart structures with extra biological functions.

"You can imagine bacteria that provide materials with self-healing capabilities, or can sense and respond to toxins in the air, or can interact with the environment in other ways," Srubar said. "The sky's the limit with creativity."

"I find it exciting that this new work develops materials that are truly living, in that the microorganisms incorporated into their materials survived at very high rates over time periods of weeks," said Anne Meyer, a synthetic biologist at the University of Rochester in New York, who did not take part in this research. "Creating a truly living material allows the possibility of using genetic engineering techniques to add additional behaviors to the microbes living within the material. Could you incorporate a microbe that could respond to environmental cues to change the toughness or stiffness of the bacteria?"

She added that it might be possible to combine the new research with work from her lab that uses 3D printers to build shapes from bacteria.

The scientists detailedtheir findingsonline Jan. 15 in the journalMatter.

[This article originally appeared on Inside Science. Read the original here.]

Read more from the original source:
This Regenerative Building Material is Made From Sand and Bacteria - Discover Magazine

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