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The 21st century will challenge everything we think we know about nature and technology. Thanks to new tools and swift advances in our ability to read, write, and edit DNA, we’re gaining a much deeper understanding of — and control over — how life works. Scientists are cataloguing the trillions of microbes living in and around us that we depend on, while so-called synthetic biologists are engineering new ones to do and make things for us. The more we learn, the more we’ll be able to use biology as a tool to, say, treat diseases, improve agricultural yields, even develop new kinds of cosmetics.
At the same time, our machines are becoming more biological. They can think and communicate with one another. They can sense and react to the world around them. And thanks to the ubiquity of wireless networks, our gadgets can now connect into new kinds of ecosystems that turn our cities and homes into smart, responsive environments.
In short: The line between biology and technology is beginning to blur, and it could mean the beginning of a new industrial revolution.
We’ve learned a lot in the past century — not just about how to build things, but also about how those things affect us and the rest of the planet. Decades of rampant development have shown us that just because we can do something, doesn’t mean that we should — and that the industrial revolution, while awesome, was not something that we can get away with again.
Read full, original post: Nature and technology are merging. What does that mean for sustainability?