United States, Polio, Mattel discussed on Amanpour

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Planet can also make governor young people are helping us get it done. They are leading the charge governor, Michelle Luhan Grisham. Thank you so much joining us from Santa Fe tonight now while the. Democrats jostle to try and shape the future of their party, the world of science is shaking up something even bigger, and that is the future of humanity DNA is becoming a commodity one that can be written in hacked, like a piece of IT, the futures, Jamie. Mattel says genetic engineering now threatens the very things that make us human in his new book hacking, Darwin he wounded could be honest for good all descend into a new form of a kind of an arms race, and he sat down to discuss this with Hari Sreenivasan. Right now when you are pregnant there are screening tools available to figure out if there's a horrible disease a hardship that you're about to face you have. A tool in the book where you look forward and into a fertility clinic twenty five years from now. Right. And you kind of lay out the scenarios help our audience. Explain what that could look like right now, most people who are pregnant in the United States have noninvasive prenatal testing to learn more about the embryo that they are carrying, and if there are significant problems, those parents, those mothers are often faced with a very difficult choice, and the choice is to carry that that embryo to term or to abort, and whatever anybody's us are of the politics of abortion. That's an extremely painful excruciating decision for parents, but we are moving increasingly towards using technology that already exists for preimplantation genetic screening. So rather than having to make that determination. Once the mother is already pregnant, let's say you have fifteen fertilized eggs, also called zygote s-, and you can screen all of those and you. Can figure out which are the ones which are perhaps carrying deadly diseases and not implant those and then going forward into the future because we're going to have so much more information so much more understanding about our own complex genomics, the choices that we're going to make that we will make in the context of decisions made at fertility clinics is not just about disease states, but about all kinds of traits, and then beyond that, and certainly within that twenty five year timeframe, we are also going to be able to do something that we already can do but not well, which is make a relatively small number of gene edits on these pre implanted embryos, either to eliminate risks or perhaps to provide enhancements. So let's talk about that. There's eliminate risk quotient that I don't think most people have a problem with right? But then there's this enhancement idea where people do have a problem with it. Right. When you can start to say selectively say, well, I want to go ahead and. If I had if I had figured out the gene combinations for longevity, right or for height or for IQ personality. Yeah. Well, I'd like to engineer my kid to give them an edge, or at least make them baseline. If that's what everyone else is doing and a lot of people. If you ask them, how do you feel about genetic engineering? We'll say exactly what you've said they'll say well uncomfortable with therapeutic applications and I'm not comfortable with enhancement. But when you push them when you say are helped me draw the line between where therapy ends and enhancement begins. It's really really difficult because there's a gray area in many many circumstances. Let's say somebody it looks like a child is going to be three feet tall. People would say. Well, that's really sure it. It's hard to live. If you're three feet tall. There's a lot of discrimination their health health issues. Does it make sense to use some kind of genetic engineering to make sure that you have a child? That is taller than three feet on. I think people would say well that maybe that sounds right because we mean being three feet tall. That's a difficult way to live, but not not everybody would say that. And then you well four feet tall. Or what are we going to define like a specific height where that's below that height that is therapeutic application and be on that height is an enhancement, and you can go to many many traits, but different societies will have different views and some societies will vary legitimately say. We only want to address the most dangerous genetic diseases and that will be fine. But other societies will say, hey, we recognize that there are benefits to be had that we think we think as society did maybe it's better to have a higher average IQ among our population. We think that will make us more competitive. We think that will help us have new innovations that will make life better for everybody. And so there's no right or wrong answer. But these will be real choices. Once you start describing the aggregate impact of what these tiny genetic modifications can do I think that gets very scary for people to say. Well, this is what I read about in college in the Uber Mench. Yeah. Right. This is a world like was describing the movie Gatica, right? All of a sudden, we have a society of haves and have nots based on whether you had access to this technology is more likely than not not going to be equally distributed to all parts of the world at the same time. Right. So we're going to have a class or a country or county of people that would have this access and then a generation later. They're perfect. You know, six foot tall have every advantage hierarchy you, and then here's a whole country or continent that doesn't have it. Yeah. I'm really sensitive to this. You this issue? I come from Kansas City. The reason I come from Kansas City is that my father and grandparents were resettled there after the war as survivors of the holocaust victims of Nazism, and what the Nazis saw themselves as do. Doing was applying Darwin's principles. And so for me as a child in many ways of the holocaust victims of the holocaust. I'm very very mindful that what I'm talking about could be interpreted as a form of eugenics, and that's really a big deal. But on the other hand when you talk to people, and you say, would you if you could choose from fifteen of your pre implanted embryos, and you knew that two of them were going to have some kind of heritable genetic disease that was going to been sure that they die before their ten years old. Would you choose to implant those embryos and most people say, no. And that's a whatever the word is that's a form of eugenics. So we are going to have to make choices. If you're worried about genetic inequality in the future. The best thing that you can do is worry about inequality now. Because if we if this is the we've we who lives the way we do we were perfectly okay for. To be born with very little opportunity or people who are born in places like the Central African Republic who in in effect have brain damage because their mothers are malnourished. And so their chances of success at life are so much lower than than our kids. If we're okay with that now, how can we expect that we're going to be different in the future? Our government's anywhere close to creating sound policy around this given that not everybody even understands the underlying science. Yes. Oh, some governments are doing better. Some governments are doing worse and some governments are doing nothing when I look around the world, I would say the United Kingdom is probably the best jurisdiction in the world where they are addressing these issues. Very thoughtfully. They have national forums on issues like Mike Okon drill transfer. They have a very effective body called the human fertilization and embryology authority that oversees these these many of these issues that the houses of parliament have had. Full body votes in both houses on issues like like meadow country drill transfer and they have a national health service, which allows rational decisions to be made on a national level here in the United States. The FDA is certainly an excellent and world class agency. But we don't have that level of government wide by let alone population wide by. And we don't have as informed of public on these issues and that certainly creates a danger. And then there are some countries that have nothing and the danger is that certainly in countries like ours, we need to do a lot more. But as these technologies become more widespread and come to be seen as more beneficial. Even if they don't prove to be people will go to where they can get get these benefits if they perceive them as as benefits, it seems like to me, there's three groups that are likely to abuse. This one is dictators who want to create an army of super strong, whatever people. Right. Another is rogue scientists who don't really care for the ethical standards. And we're starting to see a little bit of that. Now and three his parents looking for an edge. So let me quickly dispelled the first two and focus on. So I have advised the US military on this and have talked to them as they brought a group of futurist thinkers together. And my feeling is the real competitive edge is in just super soldiers. I mean, maybe that would be would be possible. But it's kind of a waste it's competitive societies. I mean, that's the which leads to your second point of dictators that if I was thinking, I've written a scifi novel Genesis coat about this about if I were a country. Let's just call it China and my goal was to be highly competitive in the future. And I wanted to use these technologies what might do. So what I would do is. I have a national genetic engineering program focusing on. Embryo selection, made with small amount of of genetic then I would sort people into categories based on their super capabilities based on their genetic profiles. But not just military or sports. It could be business. It could be engineering. It could be math. It could be all sorts of things and then put them into the equivalent of Olympic sports schools, but in all of these different disciplines, and then see who does the best and have a pyramid of these people who are having a genetic likelihood of being great at something. And then get a number of superstars in those areas and invest huge resources in building national champions. So that rogue scientists we've seen that in China last year, John que-, who is certainly a rogue. Scientist extreme doing extremely irresponsible. A work in my view of genetically engineering what became these two two Chinese girls, but they won't have the incentive to do to make these kinds. Of changes on a population wide scale. So they're going to need some kind of mechanism behind them which leads to your third category. Which is parents and everybody would agree that the kind of state sponsored eugenics of Nazism, or what happened in the United States is wrong. But this is going to be very different parents are going to demand these services, particularly once they see if and when they see that there are benefits to be having these benefits would be reducing the roughly three percent risk that parents now have that their children will have some kind of harmful genetic abnormality. And that will be a big driver. But also conferring certain kinds of advantages. I have a friend in Korea and his eleven year old daughter has twelve tutors coming to the house every week in Korea that they had to pass a national law closing their cram schools at ten pm because people are having their seven eight year old kids going to these cram schools seven days a week past midnight to prepare for college entrance exams. They were going to take a decade in the future. And when I asked his friend. I said if you could select your pre implanted embryos to give about a fifteen percent IQ boost to your kids, would you do it. And he looked at me like, I was some kind of idiot. How about everybody would you know that you would they do it. And again, he looked at me like I was like it was like, obviously who wouldn't do that. And so I'm not saying it's right or wrong. I'm just saying some people, and parents are going to want to do this and some parents and maybe countries won't, but there will be real consequences for those decisions. One of the things you keep coming back to his pre implanted embryos, which leads me to ask. Well, we just be having sex for pleasure. Not for procreation. I'm celebrity number of articles on the end of procreative sex. And I believe that whatever the year thirty years from now twenty years from now conceiving of child through sex will seem as dangerous to people as not vaccinating your children is today. Because when you think about it, not vaccinating your children, that's very natural like nature didn't invent vaccines. We developed them and again conceiving a child through good old fashioned. And sex is very natural. It's actually been a great strategy for our species and for all sexually reproducing species. But there are dangers associated with sexual reproduction. And we are going to be able to reduce and in some cases, eliminate many of those dangers, and that will be a choice, and so right now people are carrying diseases that won't exist twenty years from now or thirtyish registers like when you see somebody with polio. If you see a child with polio. What do you think you don't think? Wow. That's terrible fate that that kid has pull you you think we'll something went wrong because kids aren't supposed to have polio. And there'll be lots of genetic diseases and disorders that in the future. If you see somebody with that thing, you say white how did where did the system breakdown because humans in large part aren't getting those diseases anymore. You know, there's going to be someone who safer Jampel lives with a family member who has down syndrome. That's going to say listen. That person is an incredible human being they've grown up with these challenges and

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