Fighting Nature

Data Consciousness by Jake Kobrin
Data Consciousness by Jake Kobrin

The Film GATACCA brings a variety of topics to the consideration of its’ viewers including that of eugenics and genetic modification and how these things affect society. In GATACCA, an “invalid” named Vincent poses as Jerome Morrow, a supreme genetically modified human with perfect DNA. Vincent proves in the film that even without “perfect” genes, one can still succeed and go farther than those with them. This questions whether or not gene modification is necessary and the implications of doing so. There is the risk of losing brilliant minds and potentially brilliant ideas by rejecting and going against nature and rejecting human reproduction occurring naturally. All of the great ideas and inventions thus far created in our world have come from people not genetically modified like Jerome for example.

The idea of gene modification sounds nice. Being able to remove genes that predispose a person to serious diseases like cancer, heart disease etc. is a true feat of science. But what happens when it is taken too far? When it is not your test scores or resume that matters but your blood and DNA? As quoted in the movie, this will be “discrimination down to a science” where discrimination is no longer based on skin color. This brings the question of whether or not we should create technologies that are capable of doing this, and if we do create them, should the public be allowed to use them? This would be a perfect example of the need to bridge the sciences with the humanities and art to start ethical conversations about the impact of such things and be skeptical of technologies that maybe give too much power to human beings.

On another note, something that I think is a prominent issue in society is the lack of human interaction between people. It seems as though between every interaction there is some kind of technology that is preventing direct face to face contact, or technology is what’s bringing people together which is strange when thinking that not too long ago, people communicated by letters, and walked or took a carriage to someones house to visit them. Maybe there is a reason as to why disconnecting from technology every once in a while and going back to nature is such a relieving experience? In the readings for this week, I found one of the biometric methods used to verify or “recognize the identity of a living person based on physiological or behavioral characteristic” (Wilson, 65) quite interesting. In one project, “Many software packages have been developed that attempt to analyze a person’s mental state through their voice or writing. For example, MindViewer’s personality assessment uncovers hidden motives, desires, and expressed needs and gives you detailed information on how to make friends with your subject, affect their behavior, elicit trust and gain control in your relationship with them” (Wilson, 66). Its funny to me that we are relying on technology to get to know someone, instead of getting to know someone by talking and opening ourselves up to another person and sharing our thoughts and feelings. Yes, it may be uncomfortable and annoying at times, but these interactions are what make us human and if we lose the ability to communicate with one another, we will lose ourselves in the process.

– Alice Musher
(I will be presenting during week 4 on week 3 material)


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