2000 : WHAT IS TODAY'S MOST IMPORTANT UNREPORTED STORY?

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Neuroscientist; Associate Professor of Philosophy, Caltech; Coauthor, Liars, Lovers, and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals About How We Become Who We Are
The Coming Transformation in Human Life and Society in the Post-Genomic World

Although there hasn't been any shortage of stories on genes in the press, public dialogue hasn't even begun to seriously consider how radically genetic technologies will alter human life and society — and probably all much sooner than we think. Forget cloning — the pace of the Human Genome Project combined with the emerging dominance of market forces in dictating how spinoff technologies from gene therapy to engineering novel genes will be utilized suggests that we'll soon be able to retool human life (altering human traits from life history — aging, reproduction — to intelligence and personality). We haven't really begun to consider the enormous implications these will have for the design of human society and social policy, from the family unit to education and work. My bet is that feasible technologies to retool human life will put us face to face with the basic dilemma of deciding what it means to be human within two decades.