Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Homo Sapiens 2.0? (Jamie Metzl, TechCrunch)

Jamie Metzl writes in TechCrunch.
Homo Sapiens 2.0? We need a species-wide conversation about the future of human genetic enhancement:

After 4 billion years of evolution by one set of rules, our species is about to begin evolving by another.

Overlapping and mutually reinforcing revolutions in genetics, information technology, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and other fields are providing the tools that will make it possible to genetically alter our future offspring should we choose to do so. For some very good reasons, we will.

Nearly everybody wants to have cancers cured and terrible diseases eliminated. Most of us want to live longer, healthier and more robust lives. Genetic technologies will make that possible. But the very tools we will use to achieve these goals will also open the door to the selection for and ultimately manipulation of non-disease-related genetic traits — and with them a new set of evolutionary possibilities.

As the genetic revolution plays out, it will raise fundamental questions about what it means to be human, unleash deep divisions within and between groups, and could even lead to destabilizing international conflict.

And the revolution has already begun. ...
See also this panel discussion with Metzl, Steve Pinker, Dalton Conley, and me.

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