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Bio-architectures
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1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy
1Quantum Revolution& Advanced AI2HumanAugmentation3Eco-Regeneration& Geo-Engineering4Science& Diplomacy1.11.21.31.42.12.22.32.43.13.23.33.43.54.14.24.34.44.5HIGHEST ANTICIPATIONPOTENTIALAdvancedArtificial IntelligenceQuantumTechnologiesBrain-inspiredComputingBiologicalComputingCognitiveEnhancementHuman Applications of Genetic EngineeringRadical HealthExtensionConsciousnessAugmentation DecarbonisationWorldSimulationFuture FoodSystemsSpaceResourcesOceanStewardshipComplex Systems forSocial EnhancementScience-basedDiplomacyInnovationsin EducationSustainableEconomicsCollaborativeScience Diplomacy

Sub-Field:

1.4.1Bio-architectures

Most biocomputing research to date has sought to replicate silicon-type computation involving logic gate-based architectures, with significant success. For example, researchers from ETH Zurich have used the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool to create processors inside human cells.5 The Cas9 enzyme reads inputs in the form of guide RNA, and responds by expressing particular genes that then create certain proteins as the output. The result is that the cells effectively compare (or add) two inputs and deliver the result as two outputs.
Impressive as such proofs of concept are, a plethora of different functionalities occurs naturally in the operations of biological cells such as bacteria, and if we look, we may find a multiplicity of architectures for biological data processing. Research to date has tended to focus on programming DNA-based systems, for instance, creating “genetic circuits”. This is an issue of familiarity: we know how to perform genetic engineering operations well enough to make progress. However, alternative biological hardware, such as nerve cells or the cytoskeletons of cells may provide an even richer set of possibilities for biological information processing. There is also scope for performing “whole-cell biocomputations” that tap into the cell’s metabolism.6

Future Horizons:

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5-yearhorizon

Commercial potential begins to emerge

Standardisation of biological parts and processes is established, opening the door to commercialisation. Biological computing becomes the focus of an increasing number of venture capital-supported companies exploring the commercial potential of the field using proprietary biological hardware solutions.

10-yearhorizon

Metabolic biocomputing comes of age

Researchers establish ways to harness a cell’s metabolism to perform computations.

25-yearhorizon

Biocomputing hardware has moved beyond genetic circuits

Biocomputers based on nerve cells begin to show promise, and processing based on cell metabolism performs complex and useful routines.

Bio-architectures - Anticipation Scores

How the experts see this field in terms of the expected time to maturity, transformational effect across science and industries, current state of awareness among stakeholders and its possible impact on people, society and the planet. See methodology for more information.

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