Chicken Little stopped by today to bring to mariner’s attention a news item from National Public Radio (NPR). An excerpt follows:
“For the first time, scientists have used the gene-editing technique CRISPR to try to edit a gene while the DNA is still inside a person’s body.
The groundbreaking procedure involved injecting the microscopic gene-editing tool into the eye of a patient blinded by a rare genetic disorder, in hopes of enabling the volunteer to see. They hope to know within weeks whether the approach is working and, if so, to know within two or three months how much vision will be restored.”
“Don’t be fooled,” Chicken said. “There may be good intentions today but gene splicing in living humans opens the door to permanent slavery, super human football players, over-sexed men who will never need Cialis and a class of super smart people who will control everything.”
“Do you remember Matrix?” he said. “CRISPR is how they will prepare humans to live in caskets for organ donation and battery power. Or maybe CRISPR is how everyone was made identical in the book 1984.”
Mariner wishes his father knew about CRISPR; maybe it won’t take zillions of years to evolve a three-fingered hand.
Actually, the emergence of CRISPR gives one pause. It wouldn’t take much to breed humans who could live for two hundred years (Lord, who would want to?). Conversely, sperm and egg production could be stopped as a way to limit an over populated world. These are extreme ideas, though. How will CRISPR be used in the general population? Have a propensity for a disabling disease? Have it removed with CRISPR. Any deformity can be repaired or removed with a few gene modifications; bad allergies? Use CRISPR. Lose a limb? Grow a new one with CRISPR.
What concerns mariner is not the science but how it will be managed by governments. So far government isn’t controlling the use of data distribution and its effect on privacy. Government has no idea how to manage the age of artificial intelligence. Mariner is more anxious about today’s moral discipline than he is about the potential of CRISPR.
So, add CRISPR as a path to a new world – along with global warming, plutocracy, and tropical, disease carrying mosquitos moving up the coast from Florida because the weather is warmer. Mariner told Chicken Little not to worry about CRISPR, worry about normal people.