Virtual Event: Amy Webb and Andrew Hessel
The Genesis Machine:
Our Quest to Rewrite Life
in the Age of Synthetic Biology
February 25, 2022
12:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes celebrated biotechnologists AMY WEBB and ANDREW HESSELL for a discussion of co-authored book, The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology.
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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of The Genesis Machine on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About The Genesis Machine
Synthetic biology will revolutionize how we define family, how we identify disease and treat aging, where we make our homes, and how we nourish ourselves. This fast-growing field—which uses computers to modify or rewrite genetic code—has created revolutionary, groundbreaking solutions such as the mRNA COVID vaccines, IVF, and lab-grown hamburger that tastes like the real thing. It gives us options to deal with existential threats: climate change, food insecurity, and access to fuel.
But there are significant risks.
Who should decide how to engineer living organisms? Whether engineered organisms should be planted, farmed, and released into the wild? Should there be limits to human enhancements? What cyber-biological risks are looming? Could a future biological war, using engineered organisms, cause a mass extinction event?
Amy Webb and Andrew Hessel’s riveting examination of synthetic biology and the bioeconomy provide the background for thinking through the upcoming risks and moral dilemmas posed by redesigning life, as well as the vast opportunities waiting for us on the horizon.
Praise for The Genesis Machine
“We can now program biological systems like we program computers, with artificial intelligence and machine learning accelerating the speed of innovation and applications of synthetic biology. In an accessible and fascinating narrative, The Genesis Machine lays out a roadmap for this interdisciplinary field of synthetic biology that is forever reshaping life as we know it.” —Rana el Kaliouby, author of Girl Decoded: A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology
“Are latest innovations in synthetic biology simply a miracle that ends a crisis or a breakthrough to an entirely new way of living? That’s the question futurist Amy Webb and microbiologist Andrew Hessel reveal for us with this fascinating book. The history of the world is a history of unintended consequences, for better and for worse, and Webb and Hessel capture the coming fusion of tech and biology in vivid detail.” —Ian Bremmer, author of Collision Course
“The Genesis Machine is fantastic, explaining how genetic code is the alphabet in which much of the future will be written. Amy Webb and Andrew Hessel have taken the very complicated subject of synthetic biology and made it understandable with sharp prose and sharp analysis that cut through mysteries of science and twenty-first-century humanism.” —Alec Ross, author of The Industries of the Future
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