Schmidt, Commissioner, National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology; Co-founder with his wife Wendy, Schmidt Sciences; Former CEO & Chairman, Google

Imagine a world where everything from plastics to concrete is produced from biomass. Personalized cell and gene therapies prevent pandemics and treat previously incurable genetic diseases. Meat is lab-grown; enhanced nutrient grains are climate-resistant. This is what the future could look like in the years ahead.

The next big game-changing revolution is in biology. It will allow us to more effectively fight disease, feed the planet, generate energy, and capture carbon. Already we’re on the cusp of these opportunities. Last year saw some important milestones: the U.S. approved the production and sale of lab-grown meat for the first time; Google DeepMind’s AI predicted structures of over 2 million new materials, which can potentially be used for chips and batteries; Casgevy became the first approved commercial gene-editing treatment using CRISPR. If I were a young person today, biology would truly be one of the most fascinating things to study.

Like the digital revolution, the biotech revolution stands to transform America’s economy as we know it—and it’s coming faster than we expect, turbocharged by AI. Recent advances in biotech are unlocking our ability to program biology just as we program computers. Just like OpenAI’s ChatGPT trains on human language input to come up with new text, AI models trained on biological sequences could design novel proteins, predict cancer growth, and create other useful consumables. In the future, AI will be able to help us run through millions of theoretical and actual biological experiments, more accurately predicting outcomes without arduous trial-and-error—vastly accelerating the rate of new discoveries.

We’re now on the verge of a “ChatGPT moment” in biology, with significant technological innovation and widespread adoption on the horizon. But how ready is America to do what it takes to bring it to fruition? I’m incredibly excited about this forthcoming breakthrough moment, but it’s paramount to ensure that it will happen on our shores. That is why I’m serving on the National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology. As the Commission recently wrote in its recent interim report, “Continued U.S. leadership in biotechnology development is not guaranteed.”

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