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China Is Engineering Genius Babies


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#1
wjfox

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China Is Engineering Genius Babies

By Aleks Eror

 It’s not exactly news that China is setting itself up as a new global superpower, is it? While Western civilization chokes on its own gluttony like a latter-day Marlon Brando, China continues to buy up American debt and lock away the world’s natural resources. But now, not content to simply laugh and make jerk-off signs as they pass us on the geopolitical highway, they’ve also developed a state-endorsed genetic-engineering project.

At BGI Shenzhen, scientists have collected DNA samples from 2,000 of the world’s smartest people and are sequencing their entire genomes in an attempt to identify the alleles which determine human intelligence. Apparently they’re not far from finding them, and when they do, embryo screening will allow parents to pick their brightest zygote and potentially bump up every generation's intelligence by five to 15 IQ points. Within a couple of generations, competing with the Chinese on an intellectual level will be like challenging Lena Dunham to a getting-naked-on-TV contest.

Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist and lecturer at NYU, is one of the 2,000 braniacs who contributed their DNA. I spoke to him about what this creepy-ass program might mean for the future of Chinese kids.

http://www.vice.com/...neering-program



#2
Italian Ufo

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It is time to wake up for us in the West. We are following right behind. We have to reformulate policies to invest more on research. The future of one country is held in its investiments on research. if we keep going in the way we are going, soon Indians and Chinese may become a superior race.


Edited by Italian Ufo, 17 March 2013 - 08:34 AM.


#3
Sciencerocks

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The higher the intelligence of humanity is=the better. More capable to advancing our speceies and less likely towards violence.

 

I don't see a down side.



#4
Zeitgeist123

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the downside is they are geniuses that can be used for chinese ends, which if you happen to know does not put life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in mind unlike its western forebears. to the chinese (im talking about the "rulers") it is but a western concept which they dont want to imitate. 


“Philosophy is a pretty toy if one indulges in it with moderation at the right time of life. But if one pursues it further than one should, it is absolute ruin." - Callicles to Socrates


#5
Ru1138

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the downside is they are geniuses that can be used for chinese ends, which if you happen to know does not put life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in mind unlike its western forebears. to the chinese (im talking about the "rulers") it is but a western concept which they dont want to imitate. 

 

Indeed. IIRC the word "freedom" is tantamount to the word "treason" in the eastern cultures.


What difference does it make?


#6
kjaggard

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Yes cuz all those sci-fis that show us having created computers that are smarter than us, show them as following the orders of the political class without any objections. Face it, if you made a generation of super genius' they aren't going to be spending their energy doing stupid things ordered them by simpltons who can't even see the flaws of their own agendas.

 

but more than that I'm forseeing a sudden boom in autism in china any day now.

 

and finally there is the simple truth that there are plenty of people with an IQ over 130 who amount to nothings because they can't figure out how to apply it, and or don't want to put in the effort.


Live content within small means. Seek elegance rather than luxury, Grace over fashion and wealth over riches.
Listen to clouds and mountains, children and sages. Act bravely, think boldly.
Await occasions, never make haste. Find wonder and awe, by experiencing the everyday.

#7
IzzyIngleby

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Hyper intelligence is not a good idea for keeping people under strict control, the more intelligent/educated you are, the more likely you are to be unsatisfied with the status quo. The Chinese government is playing with a double edged sword.



#8
Alric

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Some people get way to sucked into the us vs them mentality. If you are worried about china becoming super smart and ruling the world, there really isn't any reason to worry. Have you not looked at all the cool things on the timeline for this site? A couple of generations and we will have superhuman computers and stuff. As cool as this is, it is still to slow. 

 

They got maybe one generation before we start augmenting humans directly. By the time the second generation starts to come out we will be using implants to improve the intelligence of people already living and who are adults.



#9
Guyverman1990

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Maybe next the'll engineer physically superior babies by injecting the genomes of the world's strongest.



#10
Zeitgeist123

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Yes cuz all those sci-fis that show us having created computers that are smarter than us, show them as following the orders of the political class without any objections. Face it, if you made a generation of super genius' they aren't going to be spending their energy doing stupid things ordered them by simpltons who can't even see the flaws of their own agendas.

 

 

history has shown us that it could. think nazi germany and those genius scientists who later go into hiding in argentina or worked for the US and Russia post-WWII..eugenics and atomic bombs (the germans tried making it first) are just one of the examples they can do to achieve nazi germany's ends. just because they are geniuses doesn't automatically mean that they are incapable to be bound in dogmas. all you need to do is raise them to become a willing tool in helping and achieving the goals of the state.


Edited by Zeitgeist123, 18 March 2013 - 03:25 AM.

“Philosophy is a pretty toy if one indulges in it with moderation at the right time of life. But if one pursues it further than one should, it is absolute ruin." - Callicles to Socrates


#11
kjaggard

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this is how the eugenics wars get started isn't it. http://en.memory-alp...i/Eugenics_Wars


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Listen to clouds and mountains, children and sages. Act bravely, think boldly.
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#12
CamGoldenGun

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Khaaaaaaannnnnn!



#13
Raklian

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Western countries are not far behind in doing this kind of thing... only difference is letting capitalism have a handle on this.


What are you without the sum of your parts?

#14
WithoutCoincidence

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This could open up a whole can of worms. On one hand, it'll be good to have that sort of tech. On the other hand, if just any ONE nation has it, well... it's got real dystopic potential. Hope China knows what they're doing.


The universe has gone from unimaginable, featureless heat to complexity and it will return in time to unimaginable, featureless cold.

-Chris Impey, How It Ends


#15
kjaggard

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my concern is that the people who come up with this crap don't seem to realize there is more than one way to be intelligent. and by picking the one that most meets the expectation of intelligence in the modern world we could well breed out the others.

 

Hmm theres got to be a better way to explain this... something along the lines of: breeding for memorization or calculation ability but missing associative or creative intelligence.

 

there will be over specialization in an individual direction, or at the very least a creation of a new caste system where the path for the child is chosen by picking genes and epigenetic factors to favor one and neglect the others.


Live content within small means. Seek elegance rather than luxury, Grace over fashion and wealth over riches.
Listen to clouds and mountains, children and sages. Act bravely, think boldly.
Await occasions, never make haste. Find wonder and awe, by experiencing the everyday.

#16
Raklian

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my concern is that the people who come up with this crap don't seem to realize there is more than one way to be intelligent. and by picking the one that most meets the expectation of intelligence in the modern world we could well breed out the others.

 

Hmm theres got to be a better way to explain this... something along the lines of: breeding for memorization or calculation ability but missing associative or creative intelligence.

 

there will be over specialization in an individual direction, or at the very least a creation of a new caste system where the path for the child is chosen by picking genes and epigenetic factors to favor one and neglect the others.

 

Well, China is a perfect proving ground for this... it is already a state-controlled society anyway. There is still the matter of few Chinese citizens who are opposed to this development. Wonder if this has political ramifications down the road - like accelerating a revolution to a more democratic China? We may see on the news a few people protesting against this and the government rushes to suppress them... and then, thanks to mobile media and social networking, more people join in to protest against this treatment but not necessarily against what the first group protested in the first place. Afterwards, the protest movement may expand it becomes a force to be reckoned with.


What are you without the sum of your parts?

#17
Craven

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China is becoming superpower... Well it already is a superpower. In this case I think it's much better if it's going to be a superpower full of intelligent people.


"I walk alone and do no evil, having only a few wishes, just like an elephant in the forest."

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#18
sweetwilliam

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China is becoming superpower... Well it already is a superpower. In this case I think it's much better if it's going to be a superpower full of intelligent people.

 

The Chinese are already pretty intelligent, and they have a school system that puts them to the test and trains them as hard as almost any nation.

 

I lived in a dorm with a Chinese exchange student, she told me her 4 years of high-school were her worst years ever, kinda ironic concidering the western world's take on high-school :D

 

Anyways, what they have in logical intelligence, memorization and mathematics, they lack in creativity and free thinking (as far as I know). For instance much of their technology is jury-rigged from American, European or Russian tech. And already we can see the problem with favoring one kind of intelligence and skill over another.

This is also one of the reasons why I think many western countries will still have a place in politics and discoveries of the future, our focus on "having the right idea" and "creative brainstorming" where a room full of people talk about crazy ideas and suddenly someone gets the golden nugget.

That doesn't happen the same way in China

They are still locked in a kind of thinking that you are your grades, and that studying for memorization is the best way of thinking. Japan and other countries face the same problems.. This, in my opinion, leads to stagnation.

 

Now, back to the topic at hand: YES I do believe we should argument the intelligence of the people as a whole. There is so much potential in the human brain that is still unlocked, which will be needed to bring us all into a better and greater future as a (hopefully) spacefaring race. And giving our thinking power to the computers instead of utilizing our own, is absolutely nuts. Yes, advanced computer models and statistics are all very fine, but the great ideas that come from experimentation, imagination and creativity are not only based in the realm of logic.

 

The drawbacks could be that some kinds of intelligence, physical, musical, social, might get a lesser place, since IQ mostly measures logic. And these fields are vital if the human race is to grow and expand without losing something I think is very important: our own humanity

 

Trading our humanity for machine-like intelligence.. Nah, getting smarter while reaching new heights.. YES


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- Richard Rahl and Zeddicus Zorander, protagonists in the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind


#19
Russell's teapot

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This is awesome. I've always been fascinated by the concept of using the power of genetics to create intellectually superior humans. It's a great idea. Unfortunately, like many other things, technology like this can be misused, or used for the wrong purposes.

 

I definitely think that the benefits that projects like this might have, outweight the risk that there may be negative consequences. The higher the intelligence level of a given population, the better. As long as society doesn't evolve into something like the dystopic society presented in Russell's "The Scientific Outlook" (which, when it comes to China, I admit is a very real possibility), I'm all for it. Also, the education system should be changed so as to enable each student to develop his/her mental abilities to the utmost. I don't know much about the present Chinese education system, but I'm sure it's far better than the Norwegian one - which sucks and dulls the mind while fostering stupidity, ignorance and all the other qualities which contributes greatly to human suffering and misery. If science creates brilliant children, and a well designed education system makes sure that their immature minds gets molded in optimal ways, this can only be positive. Making exceptional people more common may help humanity rise to greater heights.


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#20
fibonacci

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They can try, but their efforts will most likely prove to be futile. Contrary to popular belief, DNA does NOT entirely code all of life. Life is much more complex than DNA. The central dogma of biology is DNA-->RNA--->protein. However, once proteins are made they are post translationally modified, and many PTMs are NOT template driven and simply can not be controlled. There's simply no code for PTMs like there is for DNA. Many proteins require proper glycosylation to function properly, so even IF one could manipulate DNA to make a certain protein, there's still no guarantee at all the protein will function properly since controlling for glycosylation is virtually impossible. Consider this: 6 nucleotides can code for roughly a few thousand different types of amino acid combinations. However, if you consider the fact that there are at least a dozen or more commonly used carbohydrates AND that carbohydrates can arrange themselves differently in 3D space which also affects function, 6 carbohydrates can be arranged in well over 1,000,000 different possible combinations (now consider the fact that glycosylation introduces glycan structures that are 20 or 30 carbohydrates long on MULTIPLE sites on proteins, the combinations are mind boggling and virtually impossible to replicate in a predictable manner). Look up the "sugar code", life is certainly sweet and much, much more complex than just DNA. Also throw in the fact that random mutations also change the way the brain develops (see the mosaic model of brain development), there's simply little chance this is going to work. Twins have the same DNA, but behave differently because their brains are in fact different due to random mutation. Even if you cloned Einstein's brain into another human, there's no guarantee that you'll get the same product. There's simply too much randomization and post translational modifications that can't be controlled.

 

Humans aren't as smart as we think we are.  Glycosylation represents just one of over 20 other post translational modified events (all of which can not be controlled).  Life > DNA.  


Edited by fibonacci, 24 March 2013 - 11:29 PM.





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