The pithy comment on scientific ethics from Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum's character) in Jurassic Park -- "Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should" -- seems to be echoed by Australia-based ethicist Kobi Leins in this article from Science News on the creation of self-organizing xenobots, living machines derived from frog cells: “Scientists like to make things, and don’t necessarily think about what the repercussions are."
"Using blobs of skin cells from frog embryos, scientists have grown creatures unlike anything else on Earth, a new study reports. ... Separated from their usual spots in a growing frog embryo, the cells organized themselves into balls and grew. About three days later, the clusters, called xenobots, began to swim. ... Xenobots have no nerve cells and no brains. Yet xenobots — each about half a millimeter wide — can swim through very thin tubes and traverse curvy mazes. When put into an arena littered with small particles of iron oxide, the xenobots can sweep the debris into piles. Xenobots can even heal themselves; after being cut, the bots zipper themselves back into their spherical shapes. ... The small xenobots are fascinating in their own rights, [Tufts biologist Michael Levin] says, but they raise bigger questions, and bigger possibilities. 'It’s finding a whole galaxy of weird new things.'"
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