The coronavirus will accelerate the third great innovation revolution of modern times. Beginning about 100 years ago, three fundamental components were discovered: the atom, the bit, and the gene. Understanding the atom led to atomic bombs and nuclear power, semiconductors and transistors, spaceships and GPS, lasers and radar.
Bits led to the development of the microchip, the computer, and the internet – and these combined innovations led to the digital revolution.
Now, a life-science revolution driven by biotech and the discovery of the gene and the molecules (DNA and RNA) that contain and implement its information will be used to fight viruses at the molecular level, treat cancer through fundamental and personalized mechanisms, and edit our own genes to potentially make us immune to viruses and cancer, correct disability-causing mutations, and genetically enhance our bodies and minds.
Soon, we will need to figure out how to use this astonishing technology wisely.