The future genetics revolution is coming. It’s closer than you think.
(cover image taken from https://artignition.com/cyberpunk-character-concept-art)
Future humans are going to have many new ethical and moral challenges.
One challenge in particular will test Homo Sapiens like never before:
Big Data + BioTech = No more diseases
Here are some excerpts from 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by historian Yuval Noah Harari:
“The revolutions in biotech and infotech will give us control of the world inside us, and will enable us to engineer and manufacture life. We will learn how to design brains, extend lives, and kill thoughts at our discretion”
“If biotechnology enables parents to upgrade their children, would this be considered a basic human need, or would we see humankind splitting into different biological castes, with rich superhumans enjoying abilities that far surpass those of poor Homo sapiens Whichever way you choose to define ‘basic human needs’, once you provide them to everyone free of charge, they will be taken for granted, and then fierce social competitions and political struggles will focus on non-basic luxuries – be they fancy self-driving cars, access to virtual-reality parks, or enhanced bioengineered bodies.”
Altered Carbon, anyone?
Jamie Metzl, a technology futurist and geopolitical expert, agrees with Yuval – from Hacking Darwin:
“Readable, writable, hackable—the scientific advances over the past half-century have turned biology into another form of information technology and humans from indecipherable beings into wetware carriers of our source-code software.”
“A second, overlapping phase of the human genetic revolution will go a step farther, bumping up the number of eggs available for IVF by inducing large numbers of adult cells like blood or skin cells into stem cells, turning those stem cells into egg cells, and then growing those egg cells into actual eggs.”
Once we have our disease-free humans, you better not be caught having sex the old-fashioned, dangerous way.
“Governments and insurance companies—at least those in jurisdictions with rational health-care systems and where the abortion debate is muted—will also have significant incentives to encourage IVF and preimplantation embryo screening to avoid having to pay for lifetime care for what will come to be seen as avoidable genetic diseases.”
With unprecedented control over our bodies, we humans will decide that the most moral thing to do is to create babies that aren’t predisposed to diseases.
UPDATE: this post now has a link to a science journal article that came out today June 7th, 2019:
“Self-organization of stem cells into embryos: A window on early mammalian development”
The future genetics, biotech, and infotech revolutions will bring many more cultural and bodily changes.
What are some changes you see coming soon?