Monday, May 07, 2007

i don't know what i'm talking about

Today on NPR, the topic of eugenics covered the first hour of Forum. The guest was talking about designer babies and where the line is between ethically limiting things like birth defects or Downs Syndrome versus making smarter, faster, stronger, prettier babies.

So, it had me thinking ... here's where I think the future will go.

The costs associated with designer babies will drop as technology improves and eventually even local clinics will be able to provide genetic profiling and gene selection. As such, genetic diseases will first be eliminated, then "undesirable" traits such as blindness, deafness, and dwarfism. When those are all gone, parents will want their kids to all be super strong, super intelligent, and ultra attractive. Unfortunately for the poorest of the have-nots, they'll still have babies the old fashioned way - devoid of all genetic screening. As such, since everyone will be super strong, super attractive geniuses, celebrities and sports stars will fall out of fashion as the dominant form of entertainment in the country. Instead, the unscreened will see themselves starring in a nation-wide resurgence of carnival freak shows where these Uber-Beings will go to see "The Sightless Boy" or "The Overweight Man."

Since everyone will be so smart, Ivy League schools will expand into franchises across the country while junior and community colleges go out of business. Everyone will graduate with an eye towards white collar work while smarter and smarter scientists will fully automate the manufacturing and service sectors of our economy leaving the poor genetically unscreened people to travel to other countries for work.

Eventually the genetically superior will be outsourced to other countries as a nation of managers while the poor leave the country for menial jobs. All that will be left are the droves of travelling carnivals roaming the vast empty wastelands of the mid-west and performing for each other between violent freak show raids where one carnival attempts to steal performers from another in nightly ambushes.

It's going to be a glorious future.

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