Christian Long

Paul Rothemund: Casts a Spell with DNA

In TED Talks on May 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Reflection by RYAN S.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Paul Rothemund:  Casts a Spell with DNA

Words have Power.  The idea has been with us from the beginning of time. The idea that words more than describe or label something, but in fact are the thing. The idea of true names, of other natural forces somehow derive from this single idea. Our society is based around this idea, voice command technology, new devices that are designed to connect directly to the brain, all of this is designed to allow our mere words to have power.

This idea, as Paul said, lead to the design of computers.

He then applied this idea to Biology, and the idea that by using the “code” of genetics, we can gain our desired result. That we can make our words have meaning. Paul’s idea of using DNA as a code to create complex structures, are interesting and fun, but despite my repeated thoughts on the matter I cannot for the life of me find a practical use for the technology. Then again, does it really need one? Most ideas out in the world are designed purely for the enjoyment of others, with no practical use at all, so to speak. So what exactly would be the target audience for this product. I feel like it’s a business, that is designed to make those key chains with your name on it. Except all the key chains you make have names like, “Sephilosh” or “Zeflahack”. It’s target audience would be limited to the nerd basis of the world, and even then unless you could do this on a huge scale, or sell it for incredibly cheap, I doubt all too many people would be interested in buying it.

While its a clever idea, and has the potential to be both fascinating and fun, it’s small size, and lack of fan basis would make it a useless product. My advice would be to wait ten years, establish the idea, increase the size and scale, and then mass produce the idea. As I said before It’s a great idea, with plenty of potential. If someone knew how to make it work. And if things get to bad, you could always use a few magic words…


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