Thursday, March 5, 2009

Gattaca: It begins.

I don't know if the movie spawned the discussion or the discussion spawned the movie. Either way its a series and legitimate problem. If you're not familiar with Gattaca- as a movie I give it a solid B (maybe even B+)- you should check it out. Or, if you prefer, here's a link to the Gattaca argument (also known as the genetic divide).

From that link: Some critics of libertarian transhumanism have focused on its likely socioeconomic consequences in societies in which divisions between rich and poor are on the rise. Bill McKibben, for example, suggests that emerging human enhancement technologies would be disproportionately available to those with greater financial resources, thereby exacerbating the gap between rich and poor and creating a "genetic divide".[95] Lee M. Silver, a biologist and science writer who coined the term "reprogenetics" and supports its applications, has nonetheless expressed concern that these methods could create a two-tiered society of genetically-engineered "haves" and "have nots" if social democratic reforms lag behind implementation of enhancement technologies.[97]

And so it begins...

FTA: A U.S. fertility clinic has announced that within six months it will begin offering couples the option to have tailor-made babies, selecting not only their offspring's gender but also cosmetic traits such as hair and eye color. The Fertility Institutes, an organization which has offices in New York City, Los Angeles and Mexico, says it can provide this service using a procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, according to the New York Daily News.

Today its just hair and eye color. Gender and, perhaps, screening for markers of genetic disorders. Some (and the article does a good job noting) believe that even the eye color is impossible today. But it won't be for long. And when the tech breaks we face the very real possibility of people being improved upon at a rate similar to computers- the very real possibility that a child will be rendered 'obsolete' by children born just a few years after it. Imagine if each year more geniuses where born with higher IQ's than the year before...

Of course its all moot as AI will have bitchwhipped us all by then.

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