You Want Cyborgs? This is How We Get Cyborgs! Human Embryoid Research, Explained.


By Paul Meekin

At this very moment scientists across the country are playing God; using a combination of synthetic material, stem cells, and other complicated biology-y…things to create Embryoids;  “primitive organs and other living structures that mimic parts of the human body.”

The idea is that if scientists can create human organs in a lab, we’ll be able to solve for any number of medical problems that traditionally require an organ transplant. On top of that, the more we know about this sort of the thing, the better we can apply it to treating medical conditions.

The tricky part is that there is very serious ethical questions to be raised here. If you create the beginnings of life in a lab, be it a collection of cells that resemble the early stages of a human brain, or human heart, or human nerve endings, is that life? Thus, limits and rules are being advocated, or at least a serious discussion on the topic. A paper by John Aach, Jeantine Lunshof, Eswar Lyer, and George M. Church advocates for such a meeting. Why?

Because it turns out these cells and embryoids can grow and clump and mature on their own. What was first thought to be a static science has turned into a situation where scientists are creating a mutated version of the very building blocks of life.

The current rules currently state these “Embryoids” can’t propagate past 14 days for these very reasons – and after that length of time these cells will start to resemble the early stages of what you could consider human life – think of it as a fertilized egg 14 days after conception.

But here’s the rub: via the power of modern science, you can actually create synthetic embryoids from scratch that have already matured past the 14 day limit – sort of like starting a foot race a mile ahead of everyone else. So if you create one that’s already 14 days old, you end up with one that’s 28 days old, technically speaking, by the time you need to destroy it.

It’s enough to give you the shivers and excite you at the same time. It’s also worth noting all of this is incredibly complicated and any reading of this by anyone other than a molecular biologist is subject to getting it very wrong, being misinformed, or simply misunderstanding the implications.

We should take the specifics of this with a grain of salt, but believe the big picture – we are creating the beginnings of human organisms in science labs, and that science is getting more advanced by the minute.

The implications of this sort of experimentation are astounding. You could grow a heart, brain, arm, or a full nervous system in a lab. If you could do that, could you grow a human?

Could you grow something that’s not quite human?

Should we?

More or less, scientists everywhere are always going to advocate to be allowed to continue their research without checks and balances – to see just how far they can go and what they can truly achieve, and limits on that will simply stymy progress. But at the same time, this is very dangerous. You’re dealing with the fundamental questions of life and conception. If you believe life begins at conception, do you believe life can begin at synthetic fertilization?

It’s been advocated in the past that scientific freedom is a tenant of liberty, and regulations and restrictions only serve to halt what’s coming. If humanity’s destiny is to self destruct in a terrible synthetic humanoid uprising, you might as well let it happen.

If you’re looking for a wild example of where this could lead, take a gander at the 1990s sci-fi animated series, Exo-Squad. It’s about what happens when humanity creates a race of synthetic beings to do their labor and other jobs they deem ‘below them’. Those beings, Neo-Sapiens, eventually rise up and rebel, and being stronger and genetically superior, they start to win immediately.

On the bright side, if that happens? Sick sideburns and cool mech suits.


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