Biological robots exist now. They’re called Xenobots and while they can’t do much of anything yet, the potential implications of their existence are enormous.
Xenobots are made from frog skin and heart cells. They can be programmed through a digital simulation of natural selection.
When asked about why this research is important, the researchers behind the breakthrough explained;
“Once we figure out how cells can be motivated to build specific structures, this will not only have a massive impact on regenerative medicine (building body parts and inducing regeneration), but the same principles will lead to better robotics, communication systems, and maybe new (non-neurocentric) AI platforms.”
Whether or not programable life is something we should be messing with in the first place is perhaps another question.
“The long-term goal here is to figure out how living agents (cells) can be motivated to build specific things, and how to exploit their plasticity and competency to do things that are too hard to micromanage directly (like build an eye, hand, etc.).”
The development of this technology could be the future of health science and medicine.