Rewriting Ourselves: Genomics Will Change Everything In 20-30 Years

February 07 2009 / by Covus
Category: Social Issues   Year: 2009   Rating: 7 Hot

Enjoy this amazing TED Talk by Barry Schuler on Genomics and its future:

Comment Thread (5 Responses)

  1. My university has just installed a gene sequencer the size of a photocopier which can do in a few days what would have previously taken ten years. To state the obvious, this is the meaning of acceleration. We should remember this when well-meaning scientists speak of ‘long-term goals’. Long-term means something quite different from what it used to (10-20 years). Another important factor is that unexpected technology breakthroughs often change our perspective, changing the original research question, or rendering it naive or irrelevant.

    This is why we can only reasonably attempt short-term (less than five years) predictions. Unfortunately, because we tend to overstimate the short-term and underestimate the long-term, the naysayers have a great time, because they feed parasitically off what we don’t know, or short term practical difficulties (much as creationists do). In the long term, those who bash technology change look rather silly, as can be illustrated by googling ‘failed predictions’. Most express the fact that something can’t be done, which later was. The only exceptions are those predicting robotic servants, flying cars, talking toasters and nuclear powered toilets, but that was just exceedingly bad prediction (although I’m keeping an eye on the robotic servants thing because that one may materialise, just a little later than billed).

    Great video, it’s good to remind ourselves of the big picture occasionally. Good scientists are skilled at analysing trees, but can’t see the woods. Great scientists take a step back, and see the woods with all its myriad interconnections and complex relationships, making it easier to see how the forest will develop in the future.

    Posted by: CptSunbeam   February 07, 2009
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  2. @CptSunbeam – You don’t need to tell me that—I am an aspiring futurist myself.

    Thanks for the comment, I appreciate it.

    Posted by: Covus   February 07, 2009
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  3. If you are looking for an entertaining perspective on genetics, have a play with Routes, the UK’s Channel 4 new online program about genetics. Watch, play and learn all about it at

    Posted by: alistair   February 09, 2009
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  4. @alistair – Thanks for the link. I like to see that kind of initiative to start a dialogue about these topics in a fun setting. Sometimes lectures can turn people off. I enjoy them though.

    Posted by: Covus   February 11, 2009
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