“Rainbows and Pots of E.coli”, keynote at Renewable Futures Conference, Economia Festival 2017

Speaking at the Renewable Futures Conference (Part of Economia Festival) at Natlab, Eindhoven, 28-29 April 2017. Abstract of the talk below:

Rapid advances in biotechnology might bring evolutions of more than one kind: Not only that of artificially-evolved lifeforms, but of our perceived functions of them within society. In addition to their identity as workhorses – for the development of modern healthcare, sustainable food, energy and the environment – microbes and DNA could play compelling roles in stretching their application bases further in the context of becoming physical components of economic infrastructure. 

Despite continuing interest in the scientific community of using bacteria as microbial archetypes of trade, their implementations beyond conceptual models have not yet materialised as tangible agents in the financial industry: Encryption of their genes, along with the hosting cellular chassis, could become living currencies that are transferred, grown and exchanged through various forms of human-microbial interactions, as well as becoming a bio-sensor to forecast and warn of potential financial crisis.

This presentation will be exploring scenarios of bio-engineered finance through speculations grounded in scientific research and argues the values behind such approach. Whilst it is not intended to serve as a proposal that sets out to provide elegant solutions towards current global economic and financial challenges, it is designed to pose questions on alternative routes and their social and ethical implications.

Image copyright Rasa Smite