Artificial life, should we create it?

An Italian scientist believes that within the next three to ten years, experts should be able to create completely synthetic life from scratch. These first cells of synthetic life will be made from the basic chemicals in DNA and will have untold possibilities for life as we know it. In fact, according to Mark Bedau, chief operating officer of ProtoLife, "We're talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways—in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict." That leads me to my question - should we be trying to create something that will fundamentally change the world in ways that we cannot predict?

If you think about it, if something has a completely unpredictable outcome, I could come up with any kind of possible outcome and they would all be just as viable as the next. So this artificial life could:

  • Fight/cure disease
  • Become an unstoppable deadly virus
  • Lock up greenhouse gases
  • Become some sort of organic parasite that blankets every living thing on the face of the Eart
  • Eat toxic waste
See? Either way, this venture might sustain life or completely eradicate it. So my question then to the rest of you is whether or not you think we should try to create artificial life. Why or why not? Also, does this pose a moral dilema for you?

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