Forecast / ideation / Technology

Forecast Friday: Spreading Life

Like we all know, pieces of SCIENCE FICTION somehow make their way into reality, and – in our rapidly changing world – at a faster and faster pace.

The teaser in my emailed newsletter (The Download) from MIT Technology Review said something about beaming life through space . Naturally, this brought images to my mind of the Star Trek transporter, and the whole notion of “sure, you can send digital information about a person to the planet’s surface, but it isn’t that person. Where is their soul? Sort of like people thinking they can clone their deceased pet and have them back. BUT IT’S NOT THE SAME ANIMAL.

That’s not what this article was about.

So far they’re only working with simple life forms (viruses, bacteria), but they can take the genetic information from the site of a disease outbreak, transmit it a distance away, and recreate that virus – reproduce it with a “digital-to-biological-converter”. The current version is the size of a car, but as with most other tech, it will become smaller. This means that you could then use those samples to create vaccines for that virus. That’s the good part.

What isn’t stated is that you could also help create a pandemic by speeding the spread of a deadly disease around the world, without it having to be physically transported through normal means. There’s some fodder for a sci-fi / suspense story.

There is also mention in the article of being able to send a probe to a distant world, find life forms there, transmit the information to Earth for replication and study. With no need to conquer the difficulties of sending humans there or bringing alien life back – the writer says “perhaps in a high-security lab.” DO YOU THINK? I saw the recent movie Life, and no, we don’t need to bring anything that didn’t originate on our planet here – talk about destroying ecosystems – what guaranteed defense would we have if something alien got out of quarantine? At least try to keep it in space…

A variation of this device could be sent to a planet (one of ours, or not) and used to produce the kind of life that the sender wants to dominate a world. Prepare a planet for colonization – invade without sending troops – just overpower with life, better than when Europeans brought their diseases to the defenseless tribes of the Americas. Even if it’s an accident, well, accidents can happen.

Ultimately, we could seed Earth-life throughout the galaxies, altering countless planets, making the universe safe for human-kind.

Or would it be?

If we were to send our own DNA to another world, would it evolve into something else and come back to bite us? Frankenstein on a planetary – or even intergallactic – scale?

We need to be careful about some of the horses that are getting ready to come out of the barn. Just saying…


BaastardsRevengeCoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing, including his most recent publication “Baastards’ Revenge” (the fourth story of his Herc Tom series), can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords:
• His Amazon Author page:
• Barnes & Noble:
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books):
• His site on WordPress:
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:
• His Goodreads author page:
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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