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Biotech
Episode 4129th May 2022 • Tech Talk with Amit & Rinat • Amit Sarkar & Rinat Malik
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The living organisms on planet Earth have been there for more than a billion years. And the most intelligent and complex of all those living organisms are humans. We have evolved to a stage where we are rapidly modifying our surrounding world with technology. And now we have the power to modify the biology of living organisms through technology. This is what Biotech is all about.

In this week's talk, Amit and Rinat talk about Biotech, what is it, what are its different applications, and a lot more!

Transcripts

Rinat Malik:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to Tech Talk, a show where Amit and I talk about various technology related topics. This week, we're going to talk about a topic which is titled biotech. Biotech is a very interesting subject but often overlooked, in my experience at least, we often underestimate how powerful biotech is. When technology is combined with anything biological. That's well from the name we can kind of figure out that's what biotech is. But when we think about biology, we think very well I don't know what you guys think but I don't think about the vast array of all the things that are available within biology. It's not just farming, it's medicine. And it's, you know, starting from genetics to even farming is quite powerful because that may you know, that makes available all the food that we eat. So yeah, I think biotech is a very powerful topic. And it's important for us to be aware of all the different facets of biotech that are making our lives as easy as it is today. So that's why we thought it would be a good idea for our audience to sort of listen to Biotech as a topic and for us to share some of the information that we know. Thank you very much Amit for coming up with this topic. And as I understand, I mean, I've always had a narrow view on biotech, but I think you've done some research and some knowledge on this topic. So let's start with the topic. What What's your thoughts on biotech?

Amit Sarkar:

Thanks Rinat for the introduction. Yeah, I think Biotech is quite important, especially in today's world. We are rapidly progressing we just had COVID We are still recovering from it. We saw the power of mRNA vaccines that was rolled out effectively across the world. And those vaccines helped recover a lot of people and saving lives. So biotech has a very important role. And I thought that it's a very important topic because we talk about technology, but how does technology affect our lives? Our biological lives? And how is it changing on a on a on a day to day basis? So that's why I picked up the topic. And when we talk about biotech, it's actually a lot a lot of things. It's a very broad topic, and we'll try to cover different aspects of it. There is bioengineering there is bioinformatics there is genetic engineering, etc, etc. So biotech has all of that. So it's biology Plus technology. And we'll look at some of the aspects of biotechnology. And it's not just technology related to biology related to human beings but biology related to plants biology related to animals. So the three things together, and then biology to prevent diseases. And then medicines. So there are a lot of all these things that encompass the biotech field.

Rinat Malik:

Yes, yes, very much so. And thank you for giving us some insight on how many different areas biotech is sort of spread across and one of the things I always thought is, whenever a discipline has a lot of conjunction or relation with other discipline and interdisciplinary knowledge, to do something with it, that usually is like a breeding ground for disruptive, disruptive new technologies where you know, it kind of changes everything, and I feel like biotech is one of those areas where there is a lot of when you need a lot of interdisciplinary knowledge for example, even if you want to do something even in farming right, and you want to come up with a like, really modern way of farming maybe in a domestic environment. You have like I've seen some of these things where it's like a column where you know, you have like various vegetables are growing in a home environment, and it's all automated and you just do like something every day. Or no, you don't even have to do it every day. You just put the things that are needed over a period of time and automated supplies that you get fresh produce for your meals. Every day. And for these to make something like that you need mechanical engineering knowledge. You need farming knowledge, you know plant and that kind of knowledge. And you need automation so IT and sort of programming knowledge which could automate this whole thing. So yeah, whenever there is interdisciplinary knowledge, and there is a lot in biotech, for example, as you mentioned, COVID vaccine, you know, it's not just about coming in, you know, discovering what the vaccine you know, the main structure of the design would be that's obviously the most important part, but for that, you also have to think about the logistics, you know, some of those vaccine needs a particular temperature to be to preserve, and then you know, the manufacture mass produced production of those vaccines or another, another discussion altogether. So all of these things, all of this knowledge is when it comes together, then it becomes quite a powerful technology as an output. And in biotech, you need different interdisciplinary knowledge, I think even more to make things happen. And that is that kind of takes us forward quite a bit. Quite a few steps, right when we come up with something.

Amit Sarkar:

Yes, definitely. And you you've given a good example when you said the columns and your farming and you can do it in your home. It's basically vertical farming, and how do you do that? There is something called as, I think, hydro hydroponics, where you actually don't need soil to grow plants. You just use water and you add all the nutrients in the water and you give artificial light. So that's how they grow a lot of food in Netherlands where they have a lot of water, they don't have a lot of land to cultivate. So they are a lot into hydroponics. They're also into greenhouses, so yeah, I mean, but when we talk about biotechnology, when we talk about say, say let's start with farming and crops or plants. So when we talk about biotech, what where are we looking at to? Where is the biotech part in farming? So one is to make the crops more pest resistance. So you will modify the seeds, genetically modify the seeds, so they are more pest resistant. The other thing is you want to increase the yield. So you want to increase the yield of say, rice or paddy or sugarcane crop, wheat, corn, etc. So you want to increase the yield of that particular crop. The third thing could be that I mean, you don't work best when you talk about yield. The third thing could be that you just remove the seeds. So there are now a lot of plants which are coming with seedless types. So you don't have to have I mean, you need seeds to produce them, but those plants will not produce seeds. So suppose you go to a Tesco, today's Tesco or Sainsbury's, which is a UK grocery stores. You can buy oranges without the seeds, you can buy some grapes without seeds. So they are genetically modified. So they are creating a new type of crop using biotech by modifying the seed to give you a product that is more easily consumable. So that's the impact of say, a part of biotech in farming of plants.

Rinat Malik:

Absolutely. I love this seedless fruit I mean that has changed the game for me altogether. I mean, ideally, it's like oranges before until I came across the seedless oranges and now I am waiting for seedless watermelons. I mean, they are more of mostly seedless, but I think there's still a few left usually. But yeah, I am waiting for it to be fully seedless for as a consumer, I would really prefer that.

Amit Sarkar:

Yes. So I mean, those are the areas in just plants. And if you look at animals, it's the same thing. So a lot of animals are used for animal produce or like, like eggs, like a meat cloth, etc. And then food and they're used for food as well. So you want animals to be more resistance to diseases. So we give them a lot of enzymes and immunotherapy drugs, etc. Then you want them to have a lot of meat. If you are killing them for meat, then you have to ensure that they produce a lot of meat. So then you try to modify the the eggs of the animals and they need genetically modify. So that's again part of biotech where we are trying to have more meat and less of maybe brains,

Rinat Malik:

healthier meat as well

Amit Sarkar:

healthier. Exactly. Exactly. So and then if you have cows then you're thinking about milk. So then you want cows to produce milk frequently. And then the cows to give more milk and the cow's milk should be more What do you say free from diseases etc. So you want all of that plus you want maybe cows to drink, eat less food, and still give more output. So you're engineering a lot of things. That's where some of the part of say in the in the animal side, you're getting the biotech part so the technology is now telling. So, so see, when do cows produce milk when they're trying to produce babies and how do you simulate that behaviour or all year round? So you have to use some kind of technology to make sure that the cows are producing milk every day or every month without stopping. So there are a lot of technology going behind that. And then it's also the technology to make sure that the meat that you get is high quality and disease resistance. So you should not catch any diseases through the process of meat farming or meat production. So you want to make sure all of that. So these are very tricky. And when we talk about these genetically modified other things, we are also looking at medicines. So medicines is basically influenced by these. So you have a feedback. So I try medicine in my lab and then I try it on animal and then I see the behaviour and then based on the feedback from that animal, I modify the medicine again, which I again give to the animals. So there is a feedback loop and that loops keeps going, going till you actually deliver good quality medicine that gives you a lot of output the animals are healthy and they are no longer sick and they produce good quality meat and milk or eggs, etc. So there is so there is a pharmaceutical industry involved as well, which is part again of the biotech were very say pharma tech pharmaceuticals. So vaccines is part of the pharmaceutical industry. And there are other medicines there

Rinat Malik:

There are quite fields about like this. The med tech as well other to do with medicines and that pharma tech. So yeah, the doctors who only deal with one kind of animal. Humans are in med tech whereas in biotech, you know you deal with all of everything.

Amit Sarkar:

Exactly. So I mean medicine is a subset of med tech is a subset of biotech because there is biology involved. And then you add technology. And when we think about technology, we are not just thinking about computers, technology, something that makes our life easier that takes the human civilization a bit forward using it. So that's technology of wheels are technology. Fire is a technology. It's not to technology should not be confused with that. Okay. Computers are technology. Smartphones are technology but wheel is not car is not etc.

Rinat Malik:

So the key is in in the name IT so anything to do with computers, information technology. So, the technology is particular to you know, giving and taking of information. IT. But there is a lot of other technology, which is some of the things we are talking about today.

Amit Sarkar:

And then in biotech, I mean the pinnacle of biotech is revolving around humans. How do you make humans more healthy? So there are a lot of things in biotech. What are the things that is coming out is smart wearables. So you know these are variables that track your heart rate, they track the number of steps they track your blood oxygen levels, etc. So it is I mean you cannot say that it is not biotech because somehow or the other it is taking certain biological markers, measuring it and then giving it as an output on your smartphone, or a smartwatch or maybe a smart weighing scale, smart blood pressure monitor, etc. So these are all smart devices where the information is being collected and then it's put it in a database and then you can see the progress over a period of time and then you can see whether you're improving your health or whether your health reducing. So this is one way in which you are having measurement of your biomarkers. Then there is another way where you have these machines that are small technology or technological pieces or artefacts that are implanted in your body to measure certain again things so say glucose, so glucose monitor, so you have implants in your say arm, and then it monitors your blood glucose level. And then it shows it in the app so you don't have to measure it again and again. I mean, of course you do have to measure it. But instead of putting a needle to take out the blood and then measuring the glucose, you can just put the phone near you and then it can send the signal and it can tell your smartphone that okay, this is the measure it's going up so you need to take some insulin. So that is another way and there are many other implants where people are putting it in their bodies so that they do so like an NFC product. So I have the NFC product in my hands. So every time I don't have to carry my smartphone I can just adapt my hand and Ebola, the payment is done. So I mean, there are various levels and these are some of the levels that I mean I just wanted to highlight for now.

Rinat Malik:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean there are so many ways, biotech is making our lives better and some of them are so sort of disrupting that we are even scared to adopt as a mass adoption like for example what you said it computer chip inside your body and you know a lot of people including myself are worried about the privacy and what it can do etcetera. And we are particularly scared when anything is to do with directly to our body and health but it is possible and you know, I think in Norway or Netherlands there are you know, there have been like quite a quite a few pilot programs that has done it already and their lives are so much better obviously. You know, I think you know, however much you want, you don't agree with the terms and conditions and uncheck the optional boxes whenever you're registering for something they are going to collect some data or one way or another. But yeah, I mean the way also has the potential to make your life so much better. It's also something to think about whether you want to do that give and take because it is amazing technology. I mean I'm scared myself so I'm not going to ask you guys to do go for it. But you know if the opportunity presents itself I would probably be cautious and do my research and probably as long as I know it as reversible. I probably would want to try it myself. So yeah, there are there are many benefits and you know, if you think of think a little bit innovative, innovatively, then you could think of many ways you could you could utilize these kinds of technology when the technology is intertwined with biology it can be there can be so many things, you know, it can easily go on science fiction level things like for example, if you had a computer you know, like attached to your brain or the internet or……

Amit Sarkar:

Neural link. Neural link is this, Elon Musk is working on Neural Link.

Rinat Malik:

doing exactly. Exactly that, you know that how imagine how powerful it can be? I mean, he would single handedly get rid of any need for any exams ever because you don't need exams. You just You just need a you know, need to train your brain to be creative, rather than trying to memorize various processes that we currently do. You know, what we what do we learn in schools and universities either method of doing something or information. If you have all of these in your brain straightaway, all you need to be concerned about is that what you can do with that information or what you can do with that method. And then you know, you can you can have productive output in the society because the information is there already available in your brain instantly. As long as you can utilize those information and those methods and steps to make something or to put some sort of output then you know, that's all you need, really. So, that's just one aspect of things. But there could be so many other things that you know, could enhance on a science-fiction level just by…

Amit Sarkar:

Yeah. If you look at neural link Elon Musk recently he gave a TED talk and he mentioned that neural link is basically in the first gen it's going to help people who are paralyzed so it's going to be a game changer for people who are paralyzed and it will help them maybe feel something maybe move their power body parts etc. So that's going to be the first step, the second step, maybe something else. And I think the final step would be communication. So you just think and then you're communicating. So you don't even have to talk. So he's just communicating with people telepathically.

Rinat Malik:

Yeah, and you know, that's obviously still in concepts stage, but then yet another science fiction level technology, which has been here for a few years now the CRISPR technology, where you can actually modify gene editing to make go you know, make unwanted things go away. But I mean, obviously, it's not it's not as far as I know, I don't I haven't researched recently, but as far as I know, you can't do it on a baby just yet. But you could kind of you know, theoretically, you could decide whether they will be talented geniuses, what will be their eye colour will be their height, as well as, you know, negative traits like allergies and stuff you want to get rid of. You can potentially do all of these things in lab right now. But you know, potentially. And that poses a lot of ethical questions as well. I'm sure the audience are thinking about it right now that whether you want to do it or you would want to have your natural baby, the way God in…

Amit Sarkar:

So science fiction is a very great view to tell people about the implications of certain technology, so is a very good film. Gattaca, Gattaca. It stars Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman and Jude Law. And it's a Hollywood film and it's based on the same thing, gene editing. So basically, you create babies and you decide that you want a baby that's exceptionally healthy and exceptionally intelligent, and exceptionally good looking. So healthy, good looking and intelligent, what more do you want? And they have the highest chances of I mean, living as long as possible, etc. So now you have a baby who's this? And then you have a baby who are naturally born there is no editing, and they have birth defects and they have learning disabilities. They're not that good looking. And now if you live in a world, where you have these superior, genetically modified human beings and you have inferior, natural human beings, how would a society look like because if everyone is intelligent, if everyone is good looking, what would a society look like? So that's the question that the film is trying to answer. And it's trying to understand the motivations behind these technologies. Very interesting field and very thought-provoking.

Rinat Malik:

Absolutely. Yeah. I would definitely want to check it out. I do know about this, but yeah, I mean, the thing is, whenever a technology in my view, and this is this is a shortcut when I think whenever it's technology, kind of questions, the privacy, security or the ethical questions. There is a technology that is going to disrupt the world in one way or another. For example, Uber when it came, it questioned the in a lot of ways they questioned privacy and security. Not necessarily I don't think there was an ethical question in the though there was an ethical question because it was getting the usual taxi drivers out of business. But I'm just saying it's just

Amit Sarkar:

Bear in mind they are gig workers. They were not A. I mean, recently the law has been passed that they are employees when Uber was launched, it was gig workers. So it was not ethical because people are using the app to get customers on their cabs, but they are not treated as employees. And Uber is taking a cut for every ride, which is not cool.

Rinat Malik:

Yeah, of course. But yeah, I mean, this is my hack whenever I'm looking at like startups and trying to understand whether this startup is going to disrupt the market and future change something. I see that whether they have the potential to make ethical question, you know, whether it can be questioned. The implications of what they're doing is the ethical question or privacy or security, these three things if there is that, you know, I think they are going to disrupt the market and there is a place where you potentially want to invest or not. But yeah, and in biotech, I feel like there's so many places where you can question that, you know, I feel like it's, it's one of the less explored areas of technology and…

Amit Sarkar:

Definitely, I mean, I mean, not less explored, because there are a lot of different areas now people are exploring, and so we just talked about a neural link. So neural link is something that's implanted in your head just under yours. I think they take a part of your skeleton out and they just implant the chip. Of course, there are tests going on. But that's the proof of concepts, and the prototypes are now being made and researched on. Then we talked about genetically modified so we talked about genetically modified plants, animals, what about human beings, so that's gene editing. It's not happening at the level of babies, but you can now edit certain parts of your some sort of certain genetic defects that you have. So suppose you are susceptible to cancer, or susceptible to some diseases that are that are hereditary, so maybe you get ready to get rid of it. Of course, it's a very it's a very early stages, but it's being experimented on. So that's gene editing. CRISPR is the technology will mention some links about that. Then we talked about medicines of pharmaceuticals. I think that plays a huge role because in the end, we are alive because thanks to the technology of medicines, because medicines have clearly

Amit Sarkar:

I mean, increased our lifespans, reduce the number of diseases and made us more healthy and stronger and intelligent, etc. And it's taking care of many other things. So medicines are very good. And of course, there is a lot of technology behind researching these medicines behind researching the molecules, the chemical formulas, etc. To make a new medicine so there is in, in pharmacy, in pharmaceutical industry, the biotech part is a he's a huge thing, but there is a chemistry involved because of the chemical formulas that are there in the medicines. So that's the pharmaceutical side. Then you have the what do you say? I mean, we talked about biomarkers, but there are diagnostic tools. Where and then there is in the operation theatre, there are many of the tools. Here we are using 3d printers to manufacture certain parts of our body to be replaced inside. Rather than putting metals so suppose you can use a chemical or an enzyme or whatever that is biologically suited to your blood type and your DNA. Then you can print it, and then you can put it in your body so that it doesn't attack because imagine you put a metal rod or something that's not biodegradable over a period of time it can cause some other issues. So imagine if suppose they can just look at your DNA in the blood type and they can install something in your body that that works for you. Then it's great and that's a problem with implants. So we know that implants are very good, because a lot of people they have organ failures. They are born with genetic defects where their hearts are not working, the lungs are not working, liver is not working etc. Kidneys or kidneys fail etc. So in those cases, they need a transplant but the problem with a transplanted it belongs to someone else. And when something else which is foreign to your body is implanted in yourself, then what happens is your body starts attacking it. So then you need to take immunosuppressant drugs to ensure that your body when it attacks, it doesn't I mean, kill the organ that's implanted. What if we could create an organ from your blood type from your DNA and then implant it then your body will not reject it because it's your DNA? It's your blood type. And that's what scientists are working on and there is this thing called stem cells. So, stem cells are basically cells that can be made into any cell they can be a hard sell, they can be a kidney cell, they can become a liver cell, they can be become a lung cell, they can become a brain cell. So stem cells are cells that can become anything and they are only found in babies. As adults. We don't have stem cells. So then babies are born. They are born with one type of cells, stem cells and those cells become different organs. And as they grow, those organs develop. And over a period of time we get rid of all the stem cells. So we want to understand from a biological point of view, why those stem cells are there in the first place and why? Why we don't have it in the future, so that maybe in the future, you can grow your own limb. So suppose you lose a limb, like your arm or your leg in some accident. And they have to update. Now, why can't we regrow? So there are animals in the wild that can actually regrow their tails, they can regrow their limbs? Why can't we do that? What's stopping our bodies to do that? So there is there is a kind of research that's already ongoing to help people, especially war victims, and war veterans that have gone through a lot of trauma that have had a lot of injuries. So if we can help them recover, save it there with stem cells that it's a breakthrough technology. So there's I mean, you might hear about stem cells quite a lot. And yeah, it's a very interesting piece of technology that's going to revolutionize once we crack it and we will crack it,

Rinat Malik:

right yeah, no, this is actually really interesting to know, I actually didn't know all of these things about stem cells and that's actually quite cool. That's…

Amit Sarkar:

that's why they're called the stem cells. And so, it is it has ethical aspects as well. So if you want to do research then you need stem cells from embryos, not even babies embryos. So, so of course there is ethical bit involved how many pregnant ladies would want their cells from their embryos to be researched and taken, so those aspects are there. So that's why there is very, the progress has been very slow. But if we are able to make progress, then it's going to be a game-changer.

Rinat Malik:

Yeah, absolutely. That's. That is actually quite, quite a science. fictiony kind of.

Amit Sarkar:

yes. Because imagine I mean, when babies are conceived, they don't have any type of cells, right? They don't have heart they don't have lungs and something in their bodies being made into that. And those are nothing but stem cells. So…

Rinat Malik:

if you make it as a while you're adults. This is like an organ that's made tailor-made for you.

Amit Sarkar:

Exactly. It's personalized, personalized healthcare. That’s also so another thing that's happening in the healthcare industry or, I mean, I would not say biotech, it's healthcare more where the care that's given to us very personalized because imagine when you go to a pharmacy, pharmacy, they give you a medicine and they prescribe a dose but those dose are different for different people. It's different for men. It's different for women, it's different for children, and then it's different for ethnicity. So a black person, a white person, an Asian person, etc. They have different genetic traits. So the medicines have to be tested. So clinical trials are now trying to have more diverse groups because it's found that the dosage that they prescribe earlier was not working for all the different types of individuals. You need a different dosage for different types of people. So the more diverse group you have during the clinical trials, the more better medicines you can make for a broader population than a very specific population.

Rinat Malik:

Right Okay, these are these are all new information to me is it's really good to know. I mean, it's good to have this knowledge and hopefully, the audience is also as intrigued as I am getting to know all of these things. Yeah, I mean, I had kind of limited knowledge on this thank you Amit for enlightening me and audience for

Amit Sarkar:

Yeah, and then you also have biomechanics. So you have seen these Olympics like Paralympics and other things where the people are handicapped and they have they have a leg or they have an arm or they have something attached to their bodies. It is to enhance the mechanics or the movements. So if they have lost the leg, what if we can attach a biome, a mechanical leg, which will help them to walk stand erect, and not be in a wheelchair all the time? And what if you had different legs for running, walking, waterproof, et cetera, et cetera? So those are the different things that plus if you're paralyzed, so now there are suits biomechanical suits, where if you're paralyzed, you might have seen it in movies. I mean, Terminator is not the right example. But I would say a mecha bot. There is a movie that was made mechanized robots who basically sit inside the robot, I think something like Avatar. So you sit inside the robot and you have a lot of weapons and you can, you can walk run fast, etc. And now imagine you scale it down, but it just suits your body. So it wraps around you. And then you can stand up. So you give a signal from your brain and the suit it stands up, it's support your weight, and then you start trying to give a signal to start walking. So that's another thing that's happening and this is just mechanics part. There are people who are looking at how to bring back eyesight. So our eyes are basically nothing but lenses and they are sending the signal to the brain to say that okay, this is what you've seen. And this is the image at this moment in time. So, this is how you should interact with the environment. This is how far the object is. This is how far the object is. This is how much velocity the object is approaching. And this is the depth so cameras don't have depth. So we need to understand how to create recreate depth, when we install a camera, and then identify the different elements. So we talked about I think we talked about the smart vehicles, electric vehicles and in that we talked about cameras machine vision, but in this case, it has to be some thing that the humans can interact with. So if they have depth, they know how far or distant the object is.

Rinat Malik:

wouldn't two different cameras, you know, artificial…

Amit Sarkar:

Yes, it can create depth.

Rinat Malik:

That's why we have depth right because we have two eyes,

Amit Sarkar:

we have two different so if you just close your eyes like this, I mean if you put your hands to your one eye, then you don't have depth. You just have one vision and then the brain merges, just the two images to give you one single image. Because you have two different images.

Rinat Malik:

It's very, very interesting. Well, I don't know if it's interesting, but fun. Experiment. If you want to put a thread into a needle with just one eye you just would not be able to and you'll see that you're quite far away with two of your fingers because there is no reference point of when you're trying to put one thread into the little hole in the needle. You need two eyes to see the depth of both of these objects to make sure they are aligned.

Amit Sarkar:

It's very difficult. And I mean, and then there are people who can't speak so like Stephen Hawking. He was paralyzed, he could not speak. So he had machines. He could just point his eyes at some text and based on that, he could generate text and that text was converted into audio. That's how he was able to talk to a lot of people using just his eyes. So that's again technology from a bio biotech point of view. So I mean, there are so many of the things where we are now making nanobots to go inside our body to repair cells whose if something is damaged, we want to go inside repair it and then maybe stay there or come out.

Rinat Malik:

so many interesting things when I think recently I've seen another article or like, video where like nanobots which actually attaches to human sperm and then pushes it to, to go to the to the ovary and make priming happen. So assisted pregnancy to a whole new level.

Amit Sarkar:

I mean, I mean, even, I mean, if you talk about IVF that's kind of like pregnancy at a whole new level. And tomorrow, you might not need even men, you just need sperm

Rinat Malik:

or stem cells.

Amit Sarkar:

themselves create a baby.

Rinat Malik:

I think I have heard that. You know, it would be apparently a really bad idea to create two types of stem cells or you know, from your own stem cells. If you…

Amit Sarkar:

create a clone, basically create a clone or something

Rinat Malik:

wouldn't be cloned if you create a sperm and the egg from your own stem cells is not going to be a clone of yourself.

Amit Sarkar:

Yeah, of course. Yeah.

Rinat Malik:

It's something dangerous.

Amit Sarkar:

You don't know. But yeah. So I think I think cloning is another area where the biotech is involved. So yeah, there is a lot of other things you want to there are, I mean, we talked about implants, right, but there are and we talked about biological implants like the organ implant. And then we talked about non biological implants like, Rod in your body, etc., maybe a stent in your heart, etc. So those are also bio engineered, and there's a lot of research going on how to make it more. I mean, more elastic, maybe, and more acceptable by the human body without creating a lot of issues. So I think that's, that's very important. So there's, yeah, there's a lot of research going on, and I know a couple of people in working in that industry.

Rinat Malik:

So this this one, one kind of concept that I want to touch upon, is that you know, all the technology that we talked about in all the episodes, you know, we do come across, you know, good ways of using those and the bad ways. These are all vehicles and whether whoever is driving that is kind of deciding whether it's going to be used in a positive way that's beneficial to humankind, or ethically right or negative way where you know, someone's trying to just gain their own personal agenda. Now. While all technologies have this aspect, you know, any technology and this is this is what a lot of the time scares me but if you if you are brainy or if you if you study a lot in one particular topic, you would be an expert on that topic very quickly. And then if you're not ethically or ethical person, you could become very, very dangerous to the world. And it's not even too difficult nowadays, all the information are available. And you just need to say if any one person is kind of devoted, in one subject, they could become very dangerous very quickly. And what, one of the reason I bring it bring this up in this episode, especially is because it's particularly dangerous in anything to do with biotech because it's directly related to us humans, and how we survive in our body. I mean, our consciousness needs our body to kind of stay alive and...

Amit Sarkar:

I mean, you touched upon a very important point saying yes, ethically, yes, and it has a lot of implications. And we have to be very careful because it involves our bodies. But the way technology is progressing and then we've talked about, I think, artificial intelligence in one of our previous talks, and Elon Musk said very, very insightful words. And he said that AI is going to surpass human intelligence one way or the other. Just a question of when right?

Rinat Malik:

Amit, I wouldn’t say to inside insightful I would, I would, I would predict that.

Amit Sarkar:

but no, that's not the insightful bit. That's the that's the first part. The second part is that if we want to be part of that civilization where AI has already surpassed human intelligence, we have to figure out a way to merge with that intelligence and neural incomes there.

Rinat Malik:

Ah, right. Okay.

Amit Sarkar:

So how do you merge with artificial intelligence? How do you merge human intelligence with artificial intelligence? So as you as you mentioned, if you have everything in a chip in our brain, then we don't have to learn we just have to apply and we have to think creatively right? So all the foundation is there. I mean imagine the power of artificial intelligence at your fingertips in your brain and you're actually talking to that Intel agency. So he saying that okay. That part we are not going to beat and it's going to surpass, but what we can do is we can merge with that technology or we can figure out a way to live with the technology either through implants either through whatever means, but how do you are you there is there is a concept called cyborgs part man part machine. The moment you have a implant, you're basically part machine. So you're effectively a cyborg. But what if you can actually interact with that artificial intelligence? I think that's a game changer. And that's what that's where the Neural Link direction is. But for now, it will be just focused on people who are paralyzed, but that's the aim. The aim is to merge human intelligence with artificial intelligence, merge all this and make it one single consciousness than having two different consciousness. Right now, we have actually several consciousness and we have another consciousness which is the internet, we have the internet and then you have human beings and human beings have their own consciousness and they are not merged together. What if after we have achieved the consciousness merges, and then we also have the artificial intelligence and that consciousness also we can interact with? That's the God level God level of godlike powers, but I think that's where the future is headed. I mean, we have seen it a lot of science fiction films. We have seen it in matrix that we are trying to interact with the machines. The machines are far more intelligent and superior human beings can interact, they can plug it in, they can become codes, etc. So how do you interact in the world and how do you live amicably and those questions have been answered some way or the other through lot of science fiction films. Speculative way Exactly. So we are not sure how the world will turn out to be, but the way the technology is heading, I think we are all headed in that direction. So it's just up to us how we I mean, make it ethical, how we regulate it, how we make sure that people are not harmed. I mean, there is something called as biohacking. Not sure if you have heard of that word but basically how do you enhance your fitness or how do you enhance yourself? So how do you hack your body to make it more efficient, to make it more productive, to make it less tired, etc. So there are a lot there is this whole thing called biohacking, where you take certain number of medicines every day so that you get all the nutrients in your body? And then you program yourself, you program your mind to just live with the few hours of sleep etc. So it's very interesting and we'll share certain links, but those are all the things that are currently doing. It's not just technology that we use on a regular basis, but our own bodies are now getting hacked.

Rinat Malik:

That's quite interesting. How do I how do I, how do I get this?

Amit Sarkar:

I'll share some things. So yeah, there are there are a lot of people who are looking at it. And I mean, when we talk about hacking imagine when you have an implant in your body and it's talking or Wi Fi or some kind of some using some electromagnetic waves is talking to some other piece of technology. What if you could intercept and what if you could block what if you could stop? Say you have a smart pacemaker in your heart. Someone sends a virus stops these pacemaker. Right? So anything that's connected to the internet is essentially smart because now it has intelligence. You can interact with it. It can give you information, you can receive information, but that means you can send some information to it to stop working and it can block something. So that's why I mean, you have to be very careful when it comes to technology. So Rinat raised a very good ethical point saying yes, technology is good, but we have to be very, very careful of what we are doing in our bodies are installing or implanting in our bodies.

Rinat Malik:

And with technology any, you know, because biotech is a combination of tech and bio. A powerful aspect of technology is it's usually very easily scalable. So if you come up with the technology that is you know, the effects something or someone it can probably potentially very easily make it so scalable so affects the whole world. So that's why it's particularly dangerous. I feel in biotech to sort of

Amit Sarkar:

And I mean, we just talked about the technology and the hacking part. Imagine what do you have bio weapons. That's also biotech. Right? And some people have this conspiracy theory that COVID is bioweapons because it has the symptom. It's it gives you flu like symptoms. It gives you a pneumonia, it gives you fever, it gives you loss of smell, loss of taste, so it has symptoms of various different diseases combined into one single thing.

Rinat Malik:

Yes, I mean, imagine how powerful it could be like you know, there are, you know, like precedents of various countries, you know, they sometimes receive like, cute adorable letters from school children to ask them for advice and stuff, you know, in shape of that if you send a fatal virus inside an envelope and the president opens it in whichever country you know…

Amit Sarkar:

yeah. Anthrax and many other things here there was a scare that anthrax and smallpox that we've eliminated it can resurface because we are preserving it. For future knowledge just to make sure that okay, in case something happens, we have the biologic, the biology of that particular disease. But yeah, there are diseases or weapons being engineered that can just pass through it. You breathe and you die and you or you touch you die. And there are weapons being developed by countries and it can be very dangerous. So that's unethical use of technology. People say it can act as a deterrent like you develop nuclear weapons so that others don't attack you. So similarly, you develop bio weapons so that in case others attack you or others attack you, you can hit back. But because you have developed something, it can be dangerous if it's leaked.

Rinat Malik:

Absolutely. And the reason why it may be even more difficult or more dangerous is because we are bio people.

Amit Sarkar:

biological organisms,

Rinat Malik:

yes, we are. And we need other organic items to eat to survive. So if you know, like when, like if for nuclear, you know, things you get like underground shelters and stuff so you, you know, avoid the, you know, the heat and explosion etc. But if it's true if it's if a bioweapon is spread across the country with malicious intention, you can't just stop eating and it could just easily spread through food or water or you know, or air as well. So, so that's why it's like extra dangerous and we want to be cautious

Amit Sarkar:

and it can be also targeted based on your DNA like it just attack certain kinds of individuals who have certain types of blood or blood types. So here can be very specific, very personalized form of attack, just to target one single individual or one single group of community or ethnicity And, I mean, we have seen it in movies. But I'm sure the movies also get ideas from somewhere and I'm pretty sure that weapons might be getting being developed as we speak. But yeah, I mean, that's the other side of technology. So it is Bioengineering something. So instead of creating a weapon that you have to deploy using lots of chemicals and fuels and explosives What if you could just deploy it using water?

Rinat Malik:

Yeah absolutely I mean yeah there are green side of technology aside Alright let's come back to the positive side of technology. I mean biotech has made our lives A lot easier and we continue to make our lives a lot you know…

Amit Sarkar:

You actually mentioned about The Food Like we need food so that is now bye engineered food so Vegan the vegan meat that you Get I mean it tastes like Meet but it has got no animal content in it.

Rinat Malik:

it doesn't have a lot of carbon footprint diver

Amit Sarkar:

Exactly so that that is There's a lot of food that we are now consuming that's by engineered I mean it's not just plants and fruit It's like they call it fake Meet and there is now something which is called lab-grown meat So instead of taking meat from an Animal you take the cell and then you grow the meat without actually growing the animal. So what if That happens would you then there is an ethical question okay you're not consuming Any animal but no animal was killed so do you Want to then consume meat so you So there is this concept of lab-grown meat I'm which is now becoming very Real and there are a lot of companies who are experimenting with this.

Rinat Malik:

My question is will it stop Growing once it's cooked or will it keep growing inside my stomach?

Amit Sarkar:

I think when you talk about Growth it means you have control right? So I'm pretty sure if You're growing it they would have control of growing meat and they're not growing an organism where in mind this is growing the meat so suppose there is a meat that's very particular and just to disclaimer for people who are offended by this because they are plant eaters We are just discussing this topic because it's related to biology and there are a lot of meat eaters out in the world and it has and it has a huge impact to our environment so if something Like this is actually in If it's made and released to the market it actually saves a lot of animals It helps free up the land that's used to feed the animals And then it reduces the carbon footprint So that's why we're discussing it so yeah so I mean it. you can create a specific Part of the animal body or animal meat and then just grow that And that's what people are looking at companies are experiment with it. And the way our population is growing I mean some people argue that okay I think Rinat you and me had this discussion Last week as well where we were talking Outside the podcast that the we may or may not have enough food but It's actually the politics that The globalization that's causing hunger So I mean and if you if you take that Then it means either we need if there is a lot of hunger, then we need a lot of food and if they . If there is no hunger and we have enough food then we need a way to figure out how to transport the food one or maybe grown our own food at our own localize environment. So it could be like We live in a very Right rain It could be extremely cold or extremely hot but it's Dry and because it's dried it means you cannot grow certain things are what if you could grow your own food? inside your house. so that's where Hydroponic and many other things come into picture where you can actually grow Your food and it's not just plants Now you can grow your own lab grown meat. So what If you could grow your own meat? So then in a very dry place where you have access to less water less nutrients What if you could now Have a sustainable life and what If you could take all this and then go to Mars. Then replicate all that and then provide enough food for yourself.

Rinat Malik:

I think part of Lab grown Meat is also the environment around it that we kind of take for granted a lot of the times. I mean there's an interest thought experts not thought experienced just reality thought that I can't One cross a few days ago that I'm When A Tree Grows into just from starting points to a massive tree It doesn't You know that that mass is not Take him from the soil because then It would be a big hole in the side

Amit Sarkar:

It's carbon is From the Earth

Rinat Malik:

Nitrogen and carbon dioxide. but a lot of it is nitrogen as well as far as I Well I mean I It might be remembering not have not known

Amit Sarkar:

So you're right here I mean plants act as a carbon capture device or a night to capture

Rinat Malik:

It's our also relying on air. A lot of the times So Mars lab grown meat I don't know for sure But it's certainly is modifiable technology which can be probably adapted to do that

Amit Sarkar:

So yeah oh yeah I think yeah You've raised a good point that yes You need air because on earth Most of the Carbon is in solid form. And on Venus most of the carbon is in gas form. So Venus is one of the hottest planets in The Solar System It has a greenhouse effect because There is so much off carbon In the air it acts as a very big greenhouse and it's just keeps getting more Hot because there is no way of the heat escaping But on Earth What happened is the plant The Animals We are especially carbon beings. Carbon based organisms we trap a lot of carbon so when we die the carbon goes back to the soil but If we try to burn A lot of these fossil fuels in here Huge amount then we add the carbon back into gas state and that traps a heat that causes Greenhouse Effect That’s what happening. So We started with biotech but we ended up with Global warming!

Rinat Malik:

Well it is related In one way or another but this This has been a really good conversation Really I have learnt a lot things. Thanks Amit for all of these insights and information Hopefully the audience also had a good You know good talk and Learned you know generally been aware of what Put up As with any technology As soon as Good to know what has been done what's up what's happening right Now and what could happen in future? so I think These knowledge is actually affects our lives in directly and sometimes you know Many ways indirectly as well but So that's I I always encourage people to gather more knowledge through potentially the starting point couldn't be our Podcast then you go When do More research on it and you know and do let us know what you found even We will be quite happy to Get the feed back anything that you've learned with you know from Getting the knowledge from here etc. So yeah Hopefully you guys have enjoyed it and you guys hopefully will keep coming back to our episodes. We are looking at Getting more guest appearances in our you know So Near Future Episodes. So stay tuned and thank you thank you everyone.

Amit Sarkar:

yeah thanks a lot everyone thanks for tuning in and thanks for listening to us. We are always excited to host The stocks and talk about technology because that's our Passion and we hope you enjoyed These as well. So yeah keep Listening, keeps subscribing and share your feedback. Thanks a lot Enjoy.