A long-awaited revolution..Edible organic cutlery

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has become one of the richest people in the United States by studying software engineering. However, if he were to start the day all over again, Schmidt says he would not just target bits and pieces. The 67-year-old thinks the next successful thing is “bioeconomy”, not the internet.
This umbrella term, as Schmidt explained to me last month at the Aspen Ideas forum, describes “the use of biological processes to take advantage of the things we consume and make (…) where progress in fundamental molecular biology, as well as advances in artificial intelligence have allowed us to invent new methods and the development of new things.
And hopefully he mentions some of the innovations that this economy can include: new plastics that naturally biodegrade without polluting the water, “bio-neutral” cement that does not harm the environment, soil microbes that reduce fertilizer use, soybean-based roofing that reduces urban heat reduced, And my favorite, organic food utensils like edible thistles. In other words, bioeconomics is based on things that are cultivated with synthetic biology.
According to Walter Isaacson, a prolific biographer and former editor of Time magazine, who also attended the Aspen Forum, “Molecules are the new microchips. Molecules can be reprogrammed as our microchips are reprogrammed.”
The slight difference, Isaacson says, is that in synthetic biology “the code is not numerical, or binary with zeros and ones, but rather four letters.” For Isaacson, the key is that synthetic biology, like computers, is rooted in the “information revolution” that began in the new millennium in the field of bioeconomy when the human genome was ordered.
It sounds exciting, but there’s a catch for bioeconomists like Schmidt: Scientists have been declaring a revolution in the life sciences for decades. And while investors have put money into this sector, relatively few of these creative ideas, from edible cutlery to biofuels or anything else, have made scalable products that have changed our lives, as well as the kind of commercial success they have had. Companies like Google in the Internet world.
Already, despite the hype, investors have finally pulled out of the sector, with the world economy slowing. Last year, the total value of life sciences companies fell by more than 70 percent from its peak in 2021. Tim Obler, managing director of investment bank Torrea, told the Financial Times in June that potential bioeconomic entrepreneurs were entering a “desert” in facing. Financially because “there is no money to be found”.
Why? One problem is that science has progressed more slowly than many had hoped. The other is government regulation. There is also a fundamental problem: while a group of teenage geeks can build an internet company in the garage, founding a life sciences company requires a lot of expertise, specialized talent, manufacturing facility capacity and time. These are not things that the American venture capital industry that financed the technology revolution is used to dealing with.
Despite the obstacles, Schmidt and Isaacson insist that the long-delayed revolution is ready to accelerate. This is due in part to the scientific developments that have aided the application of artificial intelligence. “Technologies 10 years ago did not work, but it is now,” says Schmidt. For Isaacson, “these things have increased to such an extent that scientists now realize that they can not only read the DNA code, but also edit it.”
Then there is the geopolitical factor. China is currently advancing in the field of biological sciences and this is creating increasing pressure on the White House to respond. Indeed, Schmidt, who has served as a scientific advisor to Joe Biden, tells the U.S. government that financing bioeconomics can bring significant political benefits. The foundation he heads estimates that the sector could swell to $ 4 trillion over the next decade or two, which could create a million skilled jobs in disadvantaged areas.
“This is the new industrial era that is being applied to rural America,” Lee said, noting that unlike today’s technological innovation, “these jobs are not in Silicon Valley and they are not in the Northeast (…) they He’s hoping that the fact that these rural, agricultural states tend to be red rather than blue will give his words double approval.
It will, of course, be difficult to achieve this quickly or on a large scale without some public-private partnership and joint policy-making. It is extremely rare in the United States. But Schmidt remains optimistic. “We will have a number of additional unicorns and trillion-dollar companies in this bioeconomy,” he stressed.

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