Genetics & Nano-materials (p. 155 – 156)
Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil said “humans will become hybrids in the 2030s“. “Man and machine”, will “gradually merge, and [we’ll] enhance ourselves”. “Our thinking then will be a hybrid of biological and non-biological thinking.”
Academic conferences feature experts keen to share experimental data on the observed behavior of graphene in its interactions with cells. At a 2016 conference hosted by the European Foundation for Clinical Nanomedicine, Sandra Vranic, Lecturer in Nano-Cell Biology, discussed the potential for GO to serve the purposes of new therapeutic applications, such as bio-devices, biosensors, tissue scaffolds, drug delivery, and gene therapy vectors. She admits that exposure to this material in vitro and in vivo as well as potential adverse health effects are unknown. Serving, also, as a principal investigator in the EU-funded Horizon 2020 project BIORIMA, Vranic notes that it is, nevertheless, important to “understand aspects of interactions of this material with cells in order to be able to exploit to the maximum the potential that these materials give”.
The public-private partnerships that have emerged in recent years are proof that the prospect of long-term profits electrify the pursuit of all things graphene. In 2018, for example, the European Union launched its “Horizon 2020 Graphene Flagship “project. The initiative integrates the expertise of 170 academic and industry partners and seeks to, “bring graphene innovation out of the lab and into commercial applications, … accelerating the timeline for industry acceptance of graphene technologies.” The project’s website notes that, “the Graphene Flagship is part of the European Union’s biggest scientific research initiative. With a budget of €1 billion, the project represents a new form of joint, coordinated research initiative on an unprecedented scale”
Readers may wonder, are the mRNA platforms developed by Big Pharma and Big Tech serving multiple purposes? Graphene, for example, is particularly suited to genetic engineering in a bio-nano age. It may be clear, by now, to the casual observer that speed and efficiency, at the cost of ethical imperatives, are central aims in the industry move to deliver profitable solutions, at all costs, to humankind’s most vexing problem.