One Step Closer to Blade Runner: DARPA Budget *Goes There*

on Thursday, Apr. 3rd

Every day we wake up to find that we’re living in the cyberpunk dystopia we were promised in our youth. Except for the part about replicants.

Fear not, True Believer! The technowizards at the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, grandfathers of the Internet, have that dream on tap as well. It all starts with the latest DARPA budget, which puts an emphasis on synthetic biology. Motherboard’s Meghan Neal explains:

The agency is betting that the next generation of defense tech will be take a cue from natural life, and as such one of the major focuses of the new unit will be on synthetic biology. It’ll ramp up research into manufacturing biomaterials, turning living cells, proteins, and DNA into a sort of genetic factory.

The goal is to create man-made, living supermaterials that can be used for next-gen mechanical and electrical products, self-repairing materials, renewable fuels, solar cells, and so on. It’s not a new initiative; DARPA announced its Living Foundries synthetic biology program three years ago to transform modern-day manufacturing. Now the 2015 budget will bump the program’s funding up from $18 to $28 million.

Neal asks the question: “Why bother with mechanical robots when you can engineer fake humans (sic) replicants to fight your battles?”

Why indeed!

Via: George Dvorksy/io9


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