Delving into the meaning of artificial life

The ability to engineer artificial biological components, and one day perhaps artificial organisms, puts a new spin on the ongoing debate about artificial life, which has been linked mainly to silicon circuits. It has been argued that when VLSI systems reach a high enough level of complexity, they will essentially be alive in the same sense that biological systems are alive.

A study that is being conducted by a consortium of companies delves into the issue of artificial life in detail, since it is fundamental to defining and classifying different branches of synthetic biology. Loosely defined as the engineering of systems using mechanisms and principles from molecular biology, synthetic biology could have a wide impact on the field of engineering and on society as a whole, according to a report of the study.

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