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Progress in synthetic biology and genetic engineering promise to bring advancements in human health sciences by curing disease, augmenting human capabilities, and even reversing aging. At the same time, such technology could be used to unleash novel diseases and biological agents which could pose global catastrophic and existential risks to life on Earth. George Church, a titan of synthetic biology, joins us on this episode of the FLI Podcast to discuss the benefits and risks of our growing knowledge of synthetic biology, its role in the future of life, and what we can do to make sure it remains beneficial. Will our wisdom keep pace with our expanding capabilities? Topics discussed in this episode include: -Existential risk -Computational substrates and AGI -Genetics and aging -Risks of synthetic biology -Obstacles to space colonization -Great Filters, consciousness, and eliminating suffering You can find the page for this podcast here: https://futureoflife.org/2020/05/15/on-the-future-of-computation-synthetic-biology-and-life-with-george-church/ You can take a survey about the podcast here: www.surveymonkey.com/r/W8YLYD3 You can submit a nominee for the Future of Life Award here: https://futureoflife.org/future-of-life-award-unsung-hero-search/ Timestamps:  0:00 Intro 3:58 What are the most important issues in the world? 12:20 Collective intelligence, AI, and the evolution of computational systems 33:06 Where we are with genetics 38:20 Timeline on progress for anti-aging technology 39:29 Synthetic biology risk 46:19 George's thoughts on COVID-19 49:44 Obstacles to overcome for space colonization 56:36 Possibilities for "Great Filters" 59:57 Genetic engineering for combating climate change 01:02:00 George's thoughts on the topic of "consciousness" 01:08:40 Using genetic engineering to phase out voluntary suffering 01:12:17 Where to find and follow George This podcast is possible because of the support of listeners like you. If you found this conversation to be meaningful or valuable consider supporting it directly by donating at futureoflife.org/donate. Contributions like yours make these conversations possible.

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