So I just gave a talk tonight on Abiogenesis and Protocells, and I ended with discussing how we can use protocells in a biotechnology sort of way.
There is a TON of really cool things going on right now, for example,
Running shoes that can repair themselves overnight
New potential cancer therapy
and, self-repairing architecture
I'm personally very excited by all this technology and building the bridge between life and non-life. The idea that you can program a very simple cell to do whatever you want it to is a novel idea that could have very positive, and also perhaps negative consequences if people use protocells to create more powerful and deadly bio weapons. It's something very important to consider, but something that also shouldn't hinder us from potentially world-changing technology.
Protocells have more use than just biotechnology though- creating life from abiogenesis --> protocells can help us better understand the origin of life on earth, which is something humans are constantly questioning.
Craig Venter has claimed to create life in a lab, and he did, but I personally don't really think it counts because he didn't start from scratch- he created life from parts of living things instead of life from non life. Hopefully in the near future someone (probably a brilliant ccs student) will able to create life from scratch in a way that mimics the early earth.