Birth of the Xenobots

Tufts University biologists Douglas Blackiston and Michael Levin have created all programmable organisms called xenobots — golems dreamed in silicon and then written into flesh.

Biologists at Tufts University, Douglas Blackiston and Michael Levin have created all programmable organisms called xenobots — golems dreamed in silicon and then written into flesh. The implications of their existence could spill from artificial-intelligence research to fundamental questions in biology and ethics. Jeff and Anthony discuss how these new entities came to be and what they could mean for the future. And new footage has revealed a trailing ribbon of conjoined tentacled clones sweeping the ocean off the coast of Australia. Known in some regions as the “long stringy stingy thingy”, siphonophores blur the line between organ and organism. They somehow manage to be both at once. Anthony and Jeff decide if these is one creature and a series of connected ones, and how they contribute to our understanding of the bizarre ecosystem of the deep.

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Today’s stories were sent in by Geoff Englestein: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/science/xenobots-robots-frogs-xenopus.html?referringSource=articleShare and Mark Nuhfer: https://www.sciencealert.com/researchers-filmed-the-longest-known-stringy-stingy-thingy-floating-in-the-ocean?fbclid=IwAR0If_SxjEgCr7v-DpqxV9QnUNxCLj0vjy7b6HpfVvAL8LN0RR1qexNicsk

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