The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies hosts the Center for Revolutionary Scientific Thought (CReST), which harbors individuals from a variety of backgrounds to ensure a complete outlook on the futures of science and technology from an academic and policy perspective. CReST intends to inform the public and government officials, alike, about the most pressing issues and concerns regarding the future of science and technology. See one of our latest CReST blogs below:
Asleep At The Wheel
by Dr. Charles Mueller
We are blindly directing the evolution of this planet. Last week I came across an article discussing the discovery of a new bacterium that digests PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastics. The authors of the article discovered the microbes by examining the trash we are continually filling up the world with. These microbes evolved on their own to digest plastic because we created an environment where the only thing they had to eat was PET plastic.
This is blindly directing evolution. We are responsible for this, yet at no point in time was this ever our intent. It is just a side effect of the choices we’ve blindly made as we continue to take more and more control over how the world evolves. At least with things like GMOs we are consciously making these choices on how certain organisms “evolve”. While in many ways this was a really cool discovery that could help us deal with things like trash pollution, it just makes me wonder what other kinds of ways life on this planet are evolving due to our visionless choices. It is likely that for every cool accident we create like this there is an equally bad one right around the corner.
Find the entire blog here.