ScienceTalk

Genomics for the Smart Nation

The top concern during the 2016 Zika outbreak here was whether the mosquito-borne disease was imported from Brazil or elsewhere in the Americas.
The top concern during the 2016 Zika outbreak here was whether the mosquito-borne disease was imported from Brazil or elsewhere in the Americas. ST FILE PHOTO

Towards a future where our reality may exceed our imagination

Science and imagination have an intimate relationship. Stories and movies both draw on and also drive forward real research. In transportation, for example, we imagined flight and space travel - and both became reality. In space, we dream of faster-than-light travel and physical teleportation (instant travel!).

If we can't physically teleport ourselves, the next best thing is instant communication - and we are lucky to live in a time where voice, video and even holograms are routine technologies. Interestingly, everyone today has the ability to broadcast live video - yet we still get stuck in traffic, with many taking longer to commute to work than they did just a few years ago. What differentiates the progress of digital communication from that of physical transportation?

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 14, 2018, with the headline 'Genomics for the Smart Nation'. Print Edition | Subscribe