Woolly Mammoth De-Extinction: Beyond Pokémon Fantasies

Given the current state of the world and the ever-growing population, some people see de-extinction as a solution to many of the world’s problems. Through Colossal Biosciences, people can bring back extinct species like mammoths, thylacines ( Tasmanian tigers ), and dodos. People are excited about this because it offers an opportunity to learn more about our past and help preserve important biodiversity.

Lamm’s pivot from space exploration and national defense to resuscitating long-dead mammals and birds is actually very rational, as the work they’re doing now will actually help prevent other species from following in the footsteps of the animals it’s trying to bring back. For example, if one species of mammal were to be resuscitated and then release a virus which killed many other members of its own kind, Lamm’s team could use their technology to create vaccines that would protect against this type of threat. Additionally, because Lamm is sharing their technologies freely with others in an effort to prevent such accidents from happening again in the future, they are essentially helping save everything – including human lives – by working on this project.

Despite all of the skepticism and criticism directed at Colossal, the startup definitely isn’t interested in producing animals to satisfy the unusual appetites of the bored rich – unlike maybe some other companies out there. But one person’s passion is another person’s nemesis, and while Lamm says that creating live, synthetically-generated animals is not currently on Colossal’s product roadmap, I’m curious to see whether or not this changes in the future.

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Max Chen

Max Chen is an AI expert and journalist with a focus on the ethical and societal implications of emerging technologies. He has a background in computer science and is known for his clear and concise writing on complex technical topics. He has also written extensively on the potential risks and benefits of AI, and is a frequent speaker on the subject at industry conferences and events.

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