Jamie Metzl (@JamieMetzl) is a technology futurist and geopolitical expert, entrepreneur, media commentator, Senior Fellow of the Atlantic Council, and author of Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity.

What We Discuss with Jamie Metzl:

  • Why the speed at which genetic engineering is progressing is akin to Neil Armstrong stepping foot on the moon just six years after the first flight of the Wright brothers.
  • Why the genetic traits that seem universally beneficial to us today may turn out to be as ephemeral (and useful to humanity) as powdered wigs and skinny jeans.
  • The danger our species faces when we’re able to selectively edit out genes that cause disorders without fully understanding their potential benefits or evolutionary purpose (e.g., recessive sickle cell disease carriers’ resistance to malaria).
  • Why China — run by a government that values the good of the country over the rights and privacy of its citizens — is better poised than the US and other Western countries to excel in the application of genetic science.
  • Why addressing the values of equity and diversity today is important for avoiding genetic stagnation and greater friction between the haves and have-nots of tomorrow.
  • And much more…

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Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity by Jamie MetzlIf we had a time machine to bring a baby from 1,000 years ago into the 21st century, its genetic makeup would be largely the same as a baby born today. But if we brought a baby from 1,000 years — or even 100 years — in the future back to now, its outlier traits and genetic disease resistance would be beyond our imagining. This is because gene editing technology is about to change our lives, and the world, in the next few decades. The upside of being able to upgrade physical and mental traits is just too good to pass up.

But who gets to make these important decisions that will affect the entire human gene pool? Governments? Corporations? Religious leaders? Criminals? All of the above? We have to brace ourselves now for what happens when technology with the best potential and intentions falls into the worst hands later.

On this episode we’re joined by Jamie Metzl, author of Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity. He’ll help us wrap our brains around what we can expect from a future in which manipulating the human genome will be as simple as changing lines on a blueprint, how AI and big data will contribute to the process, what an arms race that uses stem cells instead of nuclear weapons might look like, and much more. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

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