Falkowski argues that we can conceive of our world as a great, unitary electrical device, driven by the myriad tiny electric motors and the other electrochemical nanomachinery of cells. Viewing the world this way reveals hitherto unappreciated dangers in some modern science.
Some molecular biologists are doing research on ways of inserting genes into microorganisms in order to create new kinds of life that have never previously existed. Others are busy working out whether the cellular nanomachinery itself might be improved. Falkowski recommends that rather than tinker with organisms that we can’t reverse engineer, a much better use of our intellectual abilities and technological capabilities would be to better understand how the core nanomachines evolved and how these machines spread across the planet to become the engines of life.