This little blog is not a prediction of the future, just a comment on what could happen. Please think about it.
Current ethics precludes many of the capabilities we have in genetics from being implemented. I believe this is just a smoke screen to what is really going to happen. Rules aren’t going to stop the rich and powerful or people in parts of the world who have a different ethic than the United States of America.
If you haven’t seen the movie “Lucy” starring Scarlet Johansson, I would recommend it. Not for the greatness of the movie, but for the story it tells, which is clearly science fiction, a single example of what can happen if the power of the human mind was to be genetically enhanced to the ultimate conclusion. Be sure to watch the bonus material. It is informative. There are a multitude of different ways genetics can go. We will compress the next 100,000 years of evolution into the next 100 years, and there is nothing to be done to stop it.
Ethics and morals evolve. Not that long ago, abortion was totally illegal and stigmatized. Now it is common. Genetic manipulation will go the same way.
The first step, and one we clearly have the technology for now is a genetic data base of traits to either be sought after or avoided. These would include, but not limited to: height, weight, BMI, athletic ability, eye color, hair color, intelligence, genetic vulnerability to disease, personality type, artistic talent, and anything else you can think of. A little of this is already done at sperm banks but could be easily expanded and include egg donors. Of course, poor college students would be a prime source of genetic materials. All of this would be without any genetic manipulation.
The next step would be genetic engineering to eliminate inherited diseases or conditions. This could first be done by taking samples from prospective parents and gene spicing to eliminate or alter bad genes. Then using invitro fertilization, create an enhanced life and replace the egg in the mother’s womb. Of course, the next step for the active and well-off mother would be to use a surrogate to skip over the inconvenience of childbirth. Then the next step would be designer adoptions whereby sperm and egg are selected from an inventory and genetically altered to eliminate bad traits and enhance good traits and placed in a surrogate.
As our knowledge of genetics progresses and some of the new, super children come of age and can provide genetic material, this process will accelerate. I believe a 200 IQ in a Michael Phelps body is just around the corner. The poor of the world are not likely to be included in this, at least at first, and will increase the formation of two classes of humans.
I don’t think we can stop this. It may not proceed just as I have outlined, but it will proceed. We should be looking for some way, on a global basis, to deal with this. To borrow from science fiction, one outcome, if population continues to grow and consume resources, is for the superior humans to oppress or eliminate the unnecessary. I’m not saying this will be the outcome, but we need to figure how to manage this in a realistic manner. Time is of the essence.