Pre-thinking:

Note that he starts with a short history of the cosmos and he makes the point that all, or almost all, life on earth has been wiped out at least five times. Pay attention to his discussion of past changes as they relate to genetic mutation and ongoing future changes that could come about through genetic engineering. See if you can identify legal or ethical concerns.

Why you should listen:

A broad thinker who studies the intersection of science, business and society, Juan Enriquez has a talent for bridging disciplines to build a coherent look ahead. Enriquez was the founding director of the Harvard Business School Life Sciences Project, and has published widely on topics from the technical (global nucleotide data flow) to the sociological (gene research and national competitiveness), and was a member of Celera Genomics founder Craig Venter‘s marine-based team to collect genetic data from the world’s oceans.

Who is he:

Formerly CEO of Mexico City’s Urban Development Corporation and chief of staff for Mexico’s secretary of state, Enriquez played a role in reforming Mexico’s domestic policy and helped negotiate a cease-fire with Zapatista rebels. He is a Managing Director at Excel Medical Ventures, a life sciences venture capital firm, and the chair and CEO of Biotechonomy, a research and investment firm helping to fund new genomics firms. The Untied States of America looks at the forces threatening America’s future as a unified country.

Questions:

  1. According to Jaun Enriquez, what is the purpose of the universe?
  1. What is a “human upgrade”? Is something like this desirable? Why or why not?
  1. What were the effects of Galton’s ideas about heredity?
  1. What, if any, are the ethical concerns raised by ongoing work with gene manipulation?
  1. Would it be possible to create immortality using the research described? Who would it be offered to? From whom would it be withheld?
  1. Do some research on autism. Do your findings support the four conclusions that he draws? Share your findings with someone and ask them for their input.

Will our kids be a different species with Juan Enriquez

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