This article was first published on 5 February 2013.
I’ve included this article just so we don’t lose sight of the quiet revolution going on in relation to biology at the moment. Just as 3d printing of physical matter is imbuing physical matter with the properties of information technologies, so too is the transformation extending into the world of biological and living matter.
It’s hard to understate the significance of this as a development for a range of industries and businesses. To get a sense for what some of this means you only need to look back at the way the world has been transformed over the past thirty years by the digitisation of information technology and the way in which concepts such as time and space have been completely rewritten. It’s still early days in terms of physical and biological matter but there’s no reason to expect that the impact won’t be just as significant.
Importantly, this article specifically makes the point that the tools of experimentation in relation to the digitisation of the biological world are increasingly being democratised so that students around the world, backyard scientists etc. can do things that were once the domain solely of big research laboratories. The last time that type of democratisation happened it led two guys in a garage to form a small company called Apple Computer – and the rest is, as they say, history.