Trusting to DNA

A new method of storing data in the nucleotide bases of DNA is the highest-density storage scheme ever invented (Service, 2017). As information and heritage professionals will realise better than most, our world is creating exponentially more data every day than ever before. Data storage manufacturers can not keep up with the increasing rate of…

via Is DNA the Storage Method of the Future? — Identity & Archives

Annette de Villiers post, above, has prompted me to write about the various ways DNA has been used as a storage or other information transferral medium in science fiction.

I’m reading my way through my inherited science fiction collection, and have just finished Clifford Simak’s, The werewolf principle, in which a genetically engineered android seeks out new forms of life and copies them. If by chapter 7, you are not thinking about the dangers of a single usb drive among a networked system, you’ll need to do some research into some very simple cyber security measures.

From Simak, I’m going on to the wonderful, provocative Babel 17, by Samuel R. Delany, in which questions of language and meaning are intertwined with ideas of industrial espionage, with one of my favourite anti-heroes, the Butcher of Jebel Tarik.

Slightly more recently, cyberpunk author Neal Stephenson explored ideas of viral infections, DNA transmutation and human computing on a series of levels (some of which are quite gross, but nevertheless effective) in his book, Snow Crash. And, who cannot love a book in which the mafia control pizza delivery, has a cyborg called Rat Thing, and YT?


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