How are atoms/molecules able to create a living organism?


How are atoms/molecules able to create a living organism?

In: Chemistry

Way back in time, various atoms came together, possibly randomly, into a form that could make copies of itself. That copying process occasionally had minor errors that made molecules that were better at producing copies of themselves. After many aeons of time that copying process, and the errors that occasionally happened, made life as we know it.

My opinion but probably “we don’t really know” is close to the truth. We don’t have any issues talking about dead or alive when dealing with animals, insects, plants, bacteria etc. But as you get smaller and smaller and simpler and simpler, this transition from “non living” to “living” isn’t as simple. Are viruses alive? Are prions alive?

We know the constituent molecules that make up living organisms. We are also capable of synthesizing them in labs. We can also demonstrate that some of these molecules can be formed naturally in the environment. We even understand how these molecules function in living beings. But ultimately, we are not yet at a point where we can make a “living” organism from scratch.

On another side of things, there is AI (and associated robotics). I believe there are some estimates that our best AI today is not equivalent to that of a cockroach (maybe we’re close) At some point, we may have to answer the question of whether we can produce AI that is sentient. We might be closer to AI sentience compared to our ability to build a living organism out of atoms/molecules.