Friday, March 19, 2004

They mapped the human genome a couple of years ago, I think. When I heard the news I thought it meant that superhumans were just around the corner. Clearly I didn't understand what the news meant at all.

Couples in the USA can already choose the sex of their children. The husband wanks off into a styrofoam cup, the whack it into a machine, it separates the XX and XY sperm and Robert or Roberta is your uncle. Or Aunt.

So what's next? Presumably it will be possible in the future to choose eye colour, personality, talents, IQ, height, longevity, etc., in your children. Also, presumably, it would be prohibitively expensive for the majority of people to engineer their children, so at first there will be a genetic super-class, a group of perfectly healthy, supremely fit, extremely intelligent, staggeringly beautiful overlords who will be the finest athletes, scientists, musicians, models, academics in the history of the human race. Ordinary Joe Bloggs like you and me won't get a look in at the job interview, these jammy bastards will lap up the gravy leaving the likes of us to gnaw on the gristle, purely by accident of birth. Society rewards individuals of talent - but what if the talent is just a matter of how much $$$ your parents had? At the moment talent is doled out by accident, so if you're lucky enough to be smarter than Einstein, then good luck to you. But just because your Dad was Bill Gates? That kinda sucks.

So what's the alternative? Ban all genetic modification? The field of genetics represents the human race's greatest opportunity for rapid evolution and advancement, bar none. We can wipe out disease and congenital deficiencies, creating a hyperintelligent super race able to increase human knowledge and achievement further and faster than ever before, solving every problem there ever was. How can we ignore that?

Maybe if I'd been engineered I'd know the answer to that one.


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