Scientists Just Edited Human Genes and That Is Some Scary Sh*t

We've got the technology. But what about the ethics?

August 2, 2017 9:00 am

It’s time to play our favorite game in 2017: Pick Your Dystopia! 

Were you alarmed when you heard that two AI Facebook bots started chatting to each other in their own weird, made-up language? (Viewpoints on this vary.) 

Perhaps your ears pricked up when it was reported that two members of the Trump administration made a pact that one of them would always stay stateside to keep an eye on the president? 

But we have news that might just top whatever terrifying thing you just read on Twitter,

Scientists are on the verge of some seriously scary sh*t. Specifically: “The first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon,” according to MIT Technology Review

Who knows? Maybe it’s great. Maybe between the genetically modified humans and the AI Facebook bots we can look forward to a future of happy nu-people posting pleasant things on social media networks while the AI bots flirt and smoke and drink beer through metal bodies they’ve constructed from the landfills that we, the terrible old-people, left in our wake. Perhaps, best-case scenario — and humans do nothing if not manage to make the best-case scenario look like an impossibility with stuff like this — this work will lead to the end of terrible genetic diseases and disorders. 

According to the Review, “Until now, American scientists have watched with a combination of awe, envy, and some alarm as scientists elsewhere were first to explore the controversial practice.” 

Also of note: “The U.S. intelligence community last year called CRISPR a potential ‘weapon of mass destruction.’”

If you’re thinking that you’d rather spend your life inside the honeyed landscape of an ’80s-era Terence Malick film, with a soundtrack of either Ben E. King or Bruce Springsteen on repeat for eternity, we’ll see you there. 

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