A Promising And Still Uncertain Future For Human Gene Editing – Science Friday


EDIT (2017-08-06): Back when this hit the news a few days ago, some guys over on the politics forum I frequent mentioned it.

Today, I made my response. Here’s everything, together —

H_E: Today in SECRETS MAN WAS NOT MEANT TO KNOW!!! nytimes.com (2017/08/02): science/gene-editing-human-embryos.html


GZ: Free Markets! Deregulation! Bad things will only happen if the government interferes with what positive things private markets do with this!

(what’s the color we’re supposed to use for sarcasm again?)

{{EDIT, sometime later}} “Every civilization was built off the back of a disposable workforce,…” (From the trailer to “Blade Runner 2049”)

freakonomics.com/podcast: american-growth/

One of the ‘themes’ that crops up in Freakonomics Radio programs is the notion that a steady flow of incremental change eventually accumulates into ‘tipping point’ that produces some sort of paradigm shift, that only on the surface seems to come out of nowhere and change the world. That’s the talk about First, Second, and Third Industrial Revolutions.

Will the Fourth Industrial Revolution be a combination of Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence & Genetic Engineering? It’s like we need one to help advance the other, and hope it won’t get away from us, that we can work to use these incredible, awesome tools to make Human Civilization better, not destroy ourselves in the process.

Options so far for “Apocalypse”?
1) Skynet/Matrix/Battlestar Galactica: At some point, the machines we rely on evolve to a point where they see Humans as a threat to their existence, and we’re either enslaved (because they rely on us in some way) or eliminate us.
2) Planet of the Apes/I Am Legend/The Walking Dead: At some point, genetic tinkering goes sideways. (Dr. Neville: [I]”All right, let me tell you about your God’s “plan”. Six billion people on Earth when the infection hit. KV had a 90 percent kill rate, that’s five point four billion people dead. Crashed and bled out. Dead. Less than one-percent immunity. That left 12 million healthy people, like you, me, and Ethan. The other 588 million turned into your dark seekers, and then they got hungry and they killed and fed on everybody. Everybody! Every single person that you or I has ever known is DEAD! DEAD! THERE IS NO GOD!”[/I])
3) Ghost in the Shell/Blade Runner: Blurring of the lines between biological humanity and ‘machine life’.

Any other options? Non-Pollyannish?


Short version: finally got to see “War for the Planet of the Apes” last Saturday. LOVED IT.

Long version: ….. [BRB]

EDIT (2017-08-06): Well, I wasn’t back right away. Sorry.

So, the week of July 14th, the week WPA [War for the Planet of the Apes] was to open, was telling the girlfriend I hoped she would see it with me. So, we used her On Demand service to watch the first of this series, 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (Tuesday the 11th, I believe). She’s not a sci-fi person, generally. SHE LIKED IT. I was happy.

Thursday, July 27th (if I recall correctly), we watch the second film in this particular “Apes” series, 2014’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. She Liked that one too! I was happy. Then, that weekend, due to circumstances that were totally my fault, on Saturday the 29th, I’m getting my first viewing in, solo.

Yesterday, Saturday the 6th of August, the girlfriend agreed to go, and we saw the 5:30pm 3D viewing (which almost turned out badly, until someone else in the audience found someone to complain to about the focus problem). Girlfriend’s verdict: She Liked it! Boo-Yah!

(To My Gal: Don’t worry, I like movies like “Detroit” and “Dunkirk”, too, so I’ll definitely go with you to those. Maybe you’ll like to see “Wind River”? Might be up your alley…)

Anyway: Loving this ‘reboot’ of the Apes. the old 1960’s/70’s stuff has its charms, but this series just has more gravitas, more meat-on-the-bone for me than the old stuff now. A good thing, IMO.


So, in “Rise”… News item that flashes briefly on-screen is about the launch of a NASA space mission. “Dawn” takes place 10 years after the Simian Flu ravages human civilization in “Rise”. “War” takes place 15 years after “Rise”.

Will we have astronauts returning to Earth in the next movie? How far after “War” will it be set? What will the Apes’ relationship to technology be, let alone whatever is left of Humanity? We already have Cornelius and Nova…

{Sidebar: “War”: where was the border depot? Oregon border? Or Nevada border? I mean, the Apes were originally settled somewhere in what was the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, correct?}