My Dad had an album of Hassidisco music -- klezmer disco. It featured a Hassid on the cover in the characteristic John Travolta “Saturday Night Feature” pose.
But that potential is a long way from being achieved and faces ethical obstacles. Pioneering CRISPR researcher Jennifer Doudna, of the University of California, Berkeley, worries what would happen to CRISPR in the hands of a Hitler.
Michael Specter reports in depth at :
> “CRISPR is the Model T of genetics,” Hank Greely told me when I visited him recently, at Stanford Law School, where he is a professor and the director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences. “The Model T wasn’t the first car, but it changed the way we drive, work, and live. CRISPR has made a difficult process cheap and reliable. It’s incredibly precise.
The tool is precise in the same way that a keyboard is very precise: whichever key you hit is exactly the letter that appears.
The problem is our knowledge of the language of the genetic code. It's like a toddler using a keyboard. That same precision is apparent - the letters appear accurately, as typed. However, what the toddler is capable of expressing is quite unpredictable, even though they will probabilistically produce actual words on a regular basis.
The precision they speak of is very one-sided like this. Given a group of knowledgeable workers who can cut & paste the precise toddler-produced words, the process can be guided to produce good results.
One snag is (for the inheritable parts of this technology) that the group of workers is only available for supervision during the making of the prototypes. Once out into the biosphere, they are self-replicating toddlers, producing genetic code language that we still have not fully mastered ourselves. Without that external guidance, there's no guarantee of beneficial results.
This is a great example of theoretical understanding lagging behind technological ability. We need to make sure we fund Open research that will take us to the next level of understanding, before we let would-be Hitlers, and other lessor evils of similar dictatorial nature, take this into the wrong directions.
- State University of New York at Stony Brook1984
- John H. Glenn High School1976 - 1979
I’m a technology journalist, editor, blogger, writer, husband, dissatisfied Democrat, American, nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan.
I live in San Diego with my wife, three cats and a dog. We did not intend to get quite so many pets. We’re a little confused how it happened precisely.
I grew up on Long Island, and I’ve lived in New Jersey, Boston, and San Francisco.
I’m West Coast Bureau Chief for Light Reading, a news and community site for the telecom industry — the companies formerly known as phone companies.
That keeps me busy.
I've finished a novel and am nearly finished with another, as well as a 41,000-word novelette.
- Light ReadingWest Coast Bureau Chief, 2014 - present
- Internet EvolutionEditor in chief, 2012 - 2014
- DeusM2010 - 2014
- United Business Media2010 - 2014
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