TWEET: blurred lines between biology and technology

This appears to be yet another example of playfulness resulting in a technological breakthrough.  The author of this article “remembers the scientists getting so frustrated by the expense and limitations of conventional computing technology that they started kidding about sci-fi alternatives. We thought, ‘What’s to stop us using DNA to store information?  Then the laughter stopped. It was a light bulb moment”.

My first laptop computer had an forty megabytes of hard hard drive storage that held all of the operating system, application and my user files (other than those I chose to save onto a 1.44MB floppy disk.  Today the Windows 10 wallpaper options alone would take up more than that amount of disk space.

I’ve found it fascinating the way that the data capacity of hard disk drives and now solid state storage has increased exponentially over the years.  I can now buy a tiny high density SD card that stores sixty-four gigabytes of data, that costs just a few pounds and would enable me to carry around vast amounts of data.

For the average technology user I guess there’s a limit to the amount of data we storage we could usefully use in a lifetime but the idea of being able to store it in an organic medium brings with it some intriguing prospects.  How long before we can directly insert data into our brains for instance?  Could Neo’s instant learning of piloting or Kung Fu skills ever become a reality?

Borrowed from i.kinja-img.com

Despite sensational headlines early last year about research conducted by California research facility, HRL Laboratories, we would appear to be a way off from developing such technology just yet.

Meanwhile, back in the current world,  I believe the limitations for the average technology user, including our students, appear to be not in data capacity, but in our ability to curate data in a way that enables us to access again when we need it. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, some of that still relies on the mushy stuff in our heads…and maybe Google.

 

Leave a Reply