As I can distil from the discussions, the urgent challenges are:
* the resource limitations, since all organisms need nutrients to multiply. Local resources, local production and close loops of feedstocks can provide solutions, in which time and cost to transform used feedstocks need to be taken into account.
* the homogenisation of the nutrients (glucose, etc) if we standardise the processes on a global scale. Sugar will become a precious resource, and we want to avoid situations like palm oil plantages.
* the consumerism behaviour about producing more biodegradable stuff:
All those aspects also question the production scale: how do we scale the manufacturing process that happens at the micro-scale in the organism to large scale production without harming the environment? Or maybe how do we decrease the actual large-scale production to micro-scale production?
Readily available biotechnology will disrupt existing economic models, as abundance reduces costs. Even an automated manufacturing technology will not create an unlimited abundance, since raw materials and energy will always be needed. There is a quite well documented wikipedia page on post-scarcity economy.
And this seems to me a good summary:
Natural law resource based economy
The five attributes proposed by Peter Joseph in his book The New Human Rights Movement: Reinventing the Economy to End Oppression (2017) form the foundation of the natural law resource based economy (NLRBE) concept for a post-scarcity worldview:
Automation: Transition from labor-for-income emphasis to machine automation emphasis. Goals: Maximize productive capacity; reduce human exposure; increase efficiency.
Open-access: Transition from property/ownership emphasis to strategic access emphasis. Goals: Maximize good use-time efficiency; reduce production pressure; increase overall good availability for use.
Open-source: Transition from proprietary research, data hoarding, and internal development to collaborative commons contributions. Goal: Maximize innovation.
Localization: Transition from globalization to localization, emphasizing networked design. Goals: Maximize productive/distribution efficiency; reduce waste.
Networked digital feedback: Transition from fragmented economic data relay to fully integrated, sensor-based digital systems. Goals: Maximize feedback and information efficacy/utilization; increase total economic efficiency.
The biotechnological innovations have environmental and social consequences that are driven by the current context in which it is developed. If the current mechanisms of our system are actually at stake I don't see how to induce a systemic change? Future directions are coloured by the contours of the actual system.
How do we want genetic modified biomaterials to be regulated? Indeed the engineered strain will for sure mutate if it comes into nature. Nobody will be able to control this. We can impose strict protocols of production, with clear tests of the materials made inert before it leaves the production factory.
What is the role of the designer, specially in a context of cross disciplinary collaborations? Design and biology are now perceived as two different fields, but the distinction in not relevant anymore. Bio-engineers are becoming designers and designers are becoming bio-engineers.
All living matter might evolved to engineered matter, predictable and functional. Humans have difficulties dealing with complexity and diversity. We have already edited out so many crops and animals in agriculture, and this evolution will continue in all fields. Designers will program DNA code like they now program software. We should question our relationship with nature cause soon it might not exits anymore.
Or maybe it will be the other way: all engineered matter will be living matter. The qualities of nature, like self-healing, self-organisation, adaptation, entropy, decay will overrule our controlled processes. In this case, what are the design methods that should be adapted?