What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Experimental Philosopher to Clone Obama, Lady Gaga, and Other Celebrities

September 7, 2012, 12:00 AM

What if you could replicate President Obama's famous cool, Lady Gaga's style and Michael Phelps's athleticism? An experimental philosopher is attempting to do just that. Sort of. 

Jonathan Keats, a "poet of ideas" whose exploits include opening a photosynthetic restaurant for plants and a celestial observatory for cyanobacteria, is now introducing "the first trouble-free human cloning technique." 

Keats and other researchers will employ epigenetics to "make replication of famous people as routine as downloading movies." Celebrities such as President Obama, Lady Gaga, Michael Phelps, Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Lopez will all be cloned, but none of them will be present at The Epigenetic Cloning Laboratory between September 13th and October 27th at the AC Institute, a nonprofit arts organization located at 547 W. 27th St., 2nd Floor, in New York City. (For more information, visit www.artcurrents.org). 

Keats explains:

"We're doing it entirely with personal data harvested from the Web. That and some chemicals bought over-the-counter at Walgreens."

Obama and Gaga yeast

Here's how it works:

"We're epigenetically cloning Obama and Gaga in Saccharomyces cerevisiae," says Mr. Keats. "It's an organism more commonly known as brewer's yeast." Saccharomyces cerevisiae has a rapid lifecycle, and that means that over the course of six weeks the populations of yeast cells will take on the epigenetic traits of the five target celebrities.

If you are thinking right now that the yeast cells in the picture above hardly resemble Obama or Gaga, then you are missing the point. According to Keats, "epigenetics tells us that the yeast should become the same as them at a functional level."

Keats's experiments won't end there. A San Francisco subsidiary is reportedly selling kits to clone George Washington and Jesus Christ. 

In the video below, Keats explains his approach to "experimental philosophy":

Watch the video here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan


Experimental Philosopher to...

Newsletter: Share: