Yes, that’s right, singular. This was the early 90s; it was wheeled between classrooms on a trolley and played a selection of blocky educational games about as engaging as a marketing pamphlet about sensible shoes. Later, there were computer rooms, but we certainly didn’t have mobile phones to consult on any given enquiry. FBI agents on TV had mobile phones; kids at school did not. Teenagers didn’t have an important reason to warrant getting one. That last part hasn’t really changed.
Anyway. The point I’m underlining is how widely available information is. With the powerful array of devices often only a tap from the internet, we’re more plugged-in than ever. Access to incredible resources like Wikipedia have revolutionised autodidactism and even regular taught education. Thanks to the concept of crowd-content, you can find videos about any kind of esoteric thing you are trying to do; from upgrading Nerf guns to learning when to omit the phrase “watashi wa” in Japanese.
Despite being generally in favour of all things progressive and scientific, even I have been uncomfortable at times with the idea of genetically engineering humankind. But not only is this apprehension unfounded; it’s also putting off the unavoidable.
The argument against genetic engineering of humans seems obvious at first. Our genetics hugely affects who we are; being able to pick traits as we please could completely and irrevocably change human civilisation. Would ‘designer babies’ not lead to a money-driven society, where the social standing and wealth of one’s parents determines the starting chances and quality of life (to an even greater degree than is already the case)? Nevertheless, this wouldn’t be the first time a massive technological leap changed the face of humanity. Cars revolutionised how we move around; computers how we work and play. Change is life. But that alone isn’t enough to warrant such a dangerous concept. There is a much more important reason: natural selection. Continue reading →